Hack your commute: Reward yourself

While the commute is a great time to improve your productivity, effectiveness or outlook on working life, you should also take time to treat yourself.

If you’re a regular reader of Hack Your Commute, you’ll know that most of our hacks involve enhancing your productivity, effectiveness or outlook on working life. Most of them, in other words, involve a bit of effort – squeezing extra achievements out of time you might otherwise waste.

However, we should also acknowledge that balancing work and home life doesn’t just leave you limited time for self-improvement, but also for doing things that are simply enjoyable or relaxing. And sometimes, rewards like these are a necessary incentive for getting through the tough tasks that progress you towards your personal and professional goals.

So if you’re regularly spending time during your commute on enriching and productive pursuits, it may help your chances of sticking to them if you allow yourself to do something you like once you’ve reached certain targets. And rather than waiting to reach a big milestone before giving yourself a substantial pay-off, research shows more immediate rewards can be more motivating.

Research published earlier this year by Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach of Cornell University found that offering an immediate reward for a task created greater engagement and intrinsic motivation to complete it, compared with a delayed reward or none at all, because it created a “perceptual fusion” between the two.

Therefore, it’s best to build in a reward as soon as you’ve reached the target you set yourself. If you spend four days of commutes learning a language, for example, don’t try to keep it up for a fifth day in a row but instead reward your diligence by reading a book, watching a downloaded TV episode or playing a mobile game that spares you any mental effort.

Alternatively, if you have a 40-minute commute, you could spend the first 30 on your chosen task and the last 10 on something fun.

Recommended

Train

Hack your commute: Look out the window

Michael Barnett

People who took a stroll through an arboretum performed 20% better in a memory test than those sent for a walk down a city street, according to research by the University of Michigan, suggesting we could all do with looking out the window every now and again if we want to perform at our best.

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Discover even more as a subscriber

    This article is available for subscribers only.

    Sign up now for your access-all-areas pass.

    If you're an existing paid print subscriber find out how to get access here.

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now

    Got a question?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

    If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now