My commute to London is almost always entertaining. I find that if I look or listen closely enough I’ll always find someone or something intriguing.
My favourite pastimes on the train (when I’m not reading the Metro or checking emails) include guessing the occupation of my fellow commuters, spotting celeb lookalikes and watching people fall asleep.
My top peeve is girls putting their make up on. I have no idea why this winds me up but it does. Why didn’t they get up 10 minutes earlier to put their face on?
Then there are the commuters that will sit right next to you despite all the other seats being free – what exactly is that about?! Don’t they know the ‘personal space’ rules?
Sometimes you’ll get the odd argument which is often provoked by someone shouting ‘CAN YOU MOVE DOWN THE TRAIN!’ I’m lucky in that I always get a seat as the train (I'm out in Kent), with the downside being that the journey takes 45 minutes. Not the total journey to work of course – this can take anything between an hour and a half to two hours.
Other habits I find annoying are people eating, talking loudly on mobile phones, people wearing too much aftershave or perfume which sets off my migraines, incessant coughing or some other horrible habit like snorting!
My top tip for dealing with some of the above include wearing headphones to drown out noises and carrying a scarf to mask pungent smells.
If you’re looking for some time-saving tips for a train journey – here’s some of my favourite.
1. Checking the BBC news app for the latest news – gives you the headlines so you know the main stories.
2. Give yourself a mini manicure (minus the nail polish). So you can slap on the cuticle oil, use the cuticle stick and get your nails looking ship shape with hand cream and a nail file.
3. Go through your notes/emails/text messages – make sure you’ve replied to the ones you need to and delete any you don’t need. This always saves me at least half an hour’s work when I get in.
4. Go through your diary for upcoming birthdays then set a reminder to buy that person a present/card – this avoids last minute present buying & crappy card buying.
5. Bring a small plastic bag for the journey and sort out your purse/bag. Get rid of any old receipts and have a general clear out. It’s more therapeutic than you think.
6. Meditate. Most of us lead busy lives and spend most of our time actually doing something. Apart from sleeping, when was the last time you actually did nothing? So sometimes I try to grab the opportunity to close your eyes, listen to some soothing sounds and daydream away.
7. Catch up on your favourite programmes. If you’ve got a tablet then download apps like BBC iPlayer and 4 on Demand so you can download programmes at home ready to watch on the train.
8. Listen to podcasts from Ted Talks. There’s something to suit all tastes and some of the talks are really fascinating. The bonus being you might learn something new.
9. Start your own blog. You don’t need to be an expert in anything to write a blog (I talk from experience!) – it’s just like writing a diary and there’s bound to be someone out who will want to follow you. And the way I see it – if you’re lacking in the follower front you haven’t wasted any time as you can look back in years to come and remember your earlier experiences and memories.
10. Plan your meals. If you’re anything like me you’ll only start thinking about what to cook when you’re hungry. Save time by doing it on the train and picking up your shopping from your list in your way home.
11. Learn a new language. VIP would be proud that I offered this one to the mix. But why not? When you travel to other countries or meet people they’ll always be impressed that you manage to say ‘hello’, ‘welcome’, ‘how are you?’ or ‘it’s great to meet you’ in their language. It helps build rapport and will help make new friends.
12. Speaking about learning something new, why not set yourself a new challenge. It could be to learn something new, to read 3 books in one week, to learn all the capital cities of the world in 3 months – the choice is only limited by your imagination.
13. If you’re single use the train time to check out the online dating sites. Sifting through potential dates takes time of course – you don’t want to settle for second best – so use it wisely.
14. If you’re in a relationship why not surprise your partner by writing them a poem or a well thought out note? It’s important to let people know you love them so let them feel special. If this isn’t your bag, why not research a special meal that you can cook for them or send them an article they’d be interested in – it’s the little thoughts that count.
15. Update your CV. It doesn’t matter if you’re not looking for another job…when or if the time comes to move on, you’ll be prepared. Add new responsibilities to your CV as you are assigned them so you create an up-to-date version.
16. Read a magazine or book – sometimes it’s nice to read a light-hearted magazine just to switch off. Either that or get lost in a novel. I enjoy Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books as they’re true short stories that are uplifting and full of positivity.
17. Check out what new apps are available. New apps are being developed on a daily Plan an exercise programme – but make sure it’s one you can stick to – otherwise you’ll feel guilty for skipping sessions if it’s too ambitious.
19. Get a household chart organised. This could be a cleaning regime, household chores, weekly clubs etc.. Anything that will help make you feel that bit more organised.
20. Playing Candy Crush, Solitaire, Crossy Road…or some other game that helps you switch off from the real world for a while. It’s escapism and once in a while it’s nice to escape.
What tips do you have for killing time on a train?
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