Delays and traffic are an inevitability when working in a city, there’s no point whining about them, everyone is in the same boat. It’s an inconvenience regardless of which direction you’re moving it’s just better if you don’t have someone waiting for you.
Once you get over the tardiness anxiety, the boredom of standing in a hot crowded underground station or surrounded in fumes in your Fiesta there’s not much else you can do but sit there and wait… or is there?
1. People watch
There’s always something interesting going on, even if it is the odd behaviour of someone standing a comfortable distance away from you. Spend time observing your fellow commuters (don’t stare). Get your Sherlock on and try and figure out what the backstories are and where you think they’re going.
2. Actually read a newspaper
Reading the top five or six tweets in the trending section doesn’t count as catching up on the news, and neither does watching three minutes of BBC Breakfast while choking down your cornflakes. Why not buy and read a newspaper on the commute? There’s enough content in a daily paper to last through even the most brutal delay and you might even learn something.
3. Start your morning work
Provided you can use the internet on your phone (tube carriages have wifi now!), start working through the morning grind before you get to your office. Get into the office all caught up on your emails so you don’t have to do overtime. Imagine having to stay late because of a slow train only to be hit by another hold up on your way home.
4. Try to avoid social media
It’s the first reaction whenever a still moment presents itself. You reach for the phone and start swiping through your timelines. Combat the boredom with enriching activities rather than seeing 240 pictures of your distance acquaintance’s avocado toast to celebrate their day off.
5. Give podcasts a go if you don’t already listen to them
If you’re not already on the podcasting wagon just expose yourself to a couple of episodes of familiar voices. With thousands of entertaining, informative and puzzling genres of podcast lasting between half an hour and two hours, podcasts are the simplest and least committal form of alleviating boredom.
6. Take a risk and speak to someone
When the situation gets dire: your phone is out of battery, you forgot to pick up a paper and you still don’t know what a podcast is – there’s only one more thing to try: speak to the person next to you. It’s a hell of a risk in a major city but start with the topic of travel since you know you’ll have at least one thing in common.