London tube
Kitty Harris
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
6 min read

Top London commuting hacks

If you have secured your first graduate job in London, then congratulations! You are probably excited about getting to know your new office culture, meeting the people working around you and getting stuck into making a difference. You might be expecting life in London to be hectic and a bit of a whirlwind at first, but have you considered your commute?


The commute in London can easily end up taking an hour or more, depending on where you live. It is a large chunk of your day to the office and back, so it is worth thinking about how this time will be spent and the ways in which you can make it a positive experience.


We won’t lie to you – often commuting in London can be a real headache. There’s a reason nobody talks on the tube – most people are just taking a breather and trying to find their calm zone after pushing through crowds to get on a carriage. Any stress caused by your commute will usually be related to delays or crowds. If you somehow manage to bag a house a walk-away from your job, then you will be laughing, but for most Londoners there is a bit more hassle involved. Even so, we’ve got a few tried and tested ways to beat the stress that comes with the commute:


1. Go for a layered look

London is a city engineered for winter, because most of the time it’s pretty cold here. Unfortunately, this can result in quite a few sweaty tube rides during an August heatwave. The way to combat this is by wearing layers that can be peeled off when you’ve been enveloped by hot, sticky suits. Top tip: Stay away from the back seats on the older-style buses in the summer, unless you want to be sitting on a sweltering engine.


2. Read (or listen to) a book

If you have a paperback lying around that you’ve been meaning to get through for ages, then the commute is your chance! The silence of a tube carriage or the length of a bus ride are the ideal spots for catching up on your fiction. If you are forced to get a particularly squashed train or tube ride to work and think that a book might be pushing it for space, then download an audiobook and enjoy being read to.


3. Work out where the doors stop

This one’s a good one. Most trains and tubes in London stop at the same place on the platform every time. So, if you get the same train to work every morning and find yourself unable to cram on because you are last in the queue this could be your salvation. Make a note of where the doors stop on the platform and get there a few minutes early every morning. When the train slows to a stop you can smugly step on – first in line!


4. Walk a few stops

Sometimes it’s just easier to walk. Often, the stops on the tube are within easy walking distance. If it all get a bit much inside the tunnels, then don’t be afraid to get off and walk above ground for a while. You might not save much time, but you will preserve some sanity breathing in the fresh air.


Walking woman


5. Be mindful

If you look around whilst on any kind of public transport in London, most people you see will be plugged into their phone via headphones. Lots of these people will be listening to the latest Drake album, but you could be unique! Mindfulness and meditation is often cited as doing wonders for your mental health, which is important in your first graduate job. Take a few minutes out of your commute to close your eyes and listen along to an app like Headspace and turn up to work feeling mentally refreshed and ready to concentrate.


6. Be productive

Productivity can be tricky on your commute, but if you are bored then it can definitely make the time go faster. Draft a few important emails, note down a to-do list for the day and methodically work through some of the more mundane tasks you have hanging around.


7. Pick a podcast

Have you listened to Serial yet? Trust us, if you listen to that then you will wish your commute would never end. There are thousands of podcasts available these days, from clever narrative storytelling to learning Japanese, so it’s very likely that you will find something that you like. Listening to music is the first choice for many, but if you get bored of the same tunes twice a day, then try podcasts for something a bit different.


8. Cycle (or run)

London is expensive and two of the more costly bills that you can expect come from travel and the price of a gym membership. An easy way to slash both of these (and gain some extra endorphins in the process) is by cycling to work. The number of people cycling in London raises every day and as that number goes up, so does the amount of dedicated cycling lanes to make your commute safer. If you do feel a bit nervous pedalling to work, then grab a close-fitting backpack and your running trainers and jog to work instead. Why not sign-up for a half-marathon in a few months and spend your commute training for it? When you sit at a desk most of the day this can be a great way to combat some of the health implications from sitting too much.


The bottom-line is that commuting doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be rewarding, interesting and helpful, depending on how you spend it. So, make your choice!

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