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Zoning Out During Your Commute and Other 'In-Between' Times Is Actually Making You Less Happy Use these three strategies for making the most of buffer zones like commutes.

By Aytekin Tank

Key Takeaways

  • Doing purely pleasurable things on the way to the office can actually make it harder to transition into work mode.
  • The goal should be to map out a day that includes focused and creative tasks like collaboration work as well as busy work, emphasizing when and how you’re most productive.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I used to think of my commute as an opportunity to fully disconnect — to do anything but work. I'd listen to music or podcasts or get my daily social media fix. I'd look out the window and daydream. Then, upon arriving at the office, I'd put on my productive work hat. The trouble was that there was no easy transition between the two mindscapes.

We often think of commuting and other "in-between" hours as dead zones that we can fill with leisurely activity, but, according to 2019 Harvard Business School research, doing purely pleasurable things on the way to the office actually makes it harder to transition into work mode and may ultimately leave you feeling gloomy about your job — and even more likely to quit!

In my role as CEO of Jotform, I've taken this data to heart, and come up with something of a life hack. Today, I treat those buffer zones as, at least ideally, akin to easing into a hot bath rather than plunging into a cold pool and have been witness to resulting differences in motivation and productivity.