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Can commuting actually improve your blog?

Commute productivity

How much time do you spend commuting every week? An hour? A couple? 5-6? At the moment, I spend nine hours a week as a passenger on a train, tube, car or bus – and I only have to work in London three days a week (the rest of the time is spent working from home). That’s a full work day, wasted. Or is it? Your commute is a brilliant time to get stuff done. Away from the distractions of other people chatting to you, you can crack on with your own thing.

Want proof? Author Andy Leeks has written a whole series of books, As They Slept during his commute, based on the concept that we could achieve a lot more than just an extra 40 winks in that travel time. And 90% of this blog post was created on the 6:32 to London.

What could you as a blogger be doing in your commuting time?

  • Catching up on Twitter and Facebook

  • Scheduling some social updates

  • Checking your blog stats

  • Commenting on other blogs

  • Reading the latest on Flipboard

  • Planning a newsletter

  • Writing a chapter of an ebook

  • Writing a blog post

In all honesty, I used to shy away from blogging on the train. I assumed it would be a bit clunky doing it on my iPad (hello Bluetooth keyboard), that the formatting would drive me a bit potty and that I wouldn’t get anything done. In fact, when concentrating on purely creating the content, using my iPad is a dream – a distraction free one. As much as I’d love to whip out my laptop, there just isn’t the elbow room.

So, how can you put together a blog post in a short commute?

Step 1: Get yourself a seat. Better still, if you’re on a train, get one with a pull down tray.

Step 2: Got an iPad/tablet? Invest in a Bluetooth keyboard. I’ve got a Logitech one, which is lightweight, has good, sturdy keys and clips on like a cover when you’re not using it. It even has a little slot to prop my iPad up with. There are plenty of alternatives about though. Typing on a keyboard is far, far easier (for me at least) than using iPads inbuilt keyboard.

Step 3: Utilise Notes. There are a ton of apps about for creating blog posts on the go. But I continue to return to Apple’s native notepad app (and Android’s own version should do the job too). Simple to use, and I can deal with formatting when I’m at my laptop.

Step 4: Couldn’t get a seat? Use your iPhone. I jotted down the notes to this post while standing up for the first half of my journey, then filled it in while sitting down.

Step 5: Don’t worry about formatting at this point. Creating the content is the hardest thing to do – tidying it all up afterwards shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes at your desk before work, or in your lunch hour.

Step 6: Search for images. You might not be able to put them in at this point, but at least you’ll have sourced them (which is half the battle)

Step 7: Arrive at work, tidy it up, hit schedule/publish

Extra tip: I usually find blogging is best done in the commute to work rather than back. I try to get in early to work anyway, which means I have time to edit, plus the trains in tend to be quieter (seat win). I then spend my commute home doing easier things, like checking my stats, tweeting and saving blog notes to my Pocket app to read and comment in the morning.

What are your top tips for getting the most out of your commute? Is there such a thing as commute productivity to you?

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3 Responses

  1. Sunny London

    These are all fabulous tips! I’ve tried many, but I find that it crushes my iPhone battery by the time I get somewhere! What I’ve started doing is thinking of creative tweets to promote upcoming posts. Then, I just get out a notepad to write them down.

  2. Hayley

    These are awesome tips!

    One thing I do on my trips back and forth to London is download books on my kindle about the topics I need to understand to make my blog better, once a week, then I’ve got them ready to read on the train/tube/coach and write notes.. Especially when it’s a topic I know I need to understand but I’m not really interested in, it’s good to read these on a moving vehicle. If it’s a particularly boring topic, I tend to give myself a little treat when I reach my destination if I have completed the reading I set for myself to do.


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