Friday, September 16, 2011

Setting Up in Business - Ways to Make the Most of Your Commute

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Setting Up in Business - Ways to Make the Most of Your Commute
By Celina Lucas

Whether you're setting up a new venture or have recently launched a new business, you might still be working your day job whilst you gain clients and gradually start to make money (hopefully). When you're moonlighting or 'five to nine-ing' as it's becoming increasingly known, it can be difficult to find the time to deal with tasks such as training, catching up on industry news, writing your marketing material or even finding five minutes to down tools and switch off. However, if you're still working, chances are you'll be commuting to your day job. This can be time that you can put to good use - try these quick tips to make the most of your journey:

Download podcasts onto your iPod or mp3 player, or burn onto CDs for playing on the car stereo. There are lots of webinars and podcasts on a variety of industry specific subjects. If you sign up for relevant newsletters, these are often good sources of information for finding suitable media.

Brain-dump your latest article. For the length of your commute, just write whatever comes into your head. Don't stop to edit or change anything; just write away as if your life depended on it. On your return journey, see what you've got. Okay, sometimes it's going to be a load of rubbish but you also might be pleasantly surprised at what you end up with. If you can't carry a netbook or laptop, go old-school and use a notebook and pen. If you're driving, you can try recording yourself dictating material on your smartphone (be careful that you don't get too distracted though).

Alternatively, if on a train, edit and polish a written article - try printing it out and reading it on paper. This also means it's much easier to spot spelling mistakes.

Read the latest business book or industry magazine. If you have a Kindle you can download heaps of business-orientated e-books.

If you have a smartphone, you can respond to your emails and get a head start on the day.

Use it for thinking or try and relax! On a commute, you say? Obviously it's easier if you've got a seat or you're not stuck in awful traffic. But try and get yourself into a mental state where you can just switch off (headphones can be good even without music to listen to as they do filter out some extraneous noise). Read a good book, a trashy magazine or listen to music.

Hellish, draining and expensive as it can be, the commute to work does mean a portion of your day spent in enforced idleness. In a small business owner's increasingly busy life, it makes sense to make the most of what little 'free' time you have.

Celina Lucas owns Office Alchemy, a virtual assistance business providing administrative, secretarial and creative support to a variety of small businesses, sole traders and entrepreneurs. Celina has over 15 years experience as an executive assistant, office manager and secretary and is also a published author. She regularly contributes articles to online sites on a variety of topics of interest to small business owners. Contact Office Alchemy at for a free, no-obligation consultation or visit the website at

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