4 Practical and Productive Ways to #Innovate Your Commute

I spend so much of my time in the car. The majority of my time accrued is spent on the way back and forth to school. 45 minutes there aaaaaaand 45 minutes back.

All that driving makes me antsy. To make matters worse, I’m usually caffeinated and ready to get my day started with a bang.

[Actual footage of me driving to work]

So, I decided it was time to harness the opportunity of my unavoidable and uninterrupted periods of solitude every day. My first iteration of a solution to my antsy-pants problem was to beef up my Spotify playlists.

Buuuuuuut it didn’t change much. It both literally and metaphorically just made the noise louder.

So, I continued some relentless trial and error with a variety of media.

[Dramatization of actual occurrence]

And I’ve settled on 4 of my tried and true activities I do on the way to work. I like to think of them as innovations because they’re a new way to harness the time in a better fashion.

Here are the activities in a loose reverse order of how much I do them accompanied by some…. imagery:

4. Voice Notes

This ever happen to you? Or worse…. It’s a brilliant idea, you say you’ll write it down and you don’t? Well since it’s dangerous to type and drive and I don’t have a personal assistant, I take voice notes of the 1,000 things that are bouncing around in my head.

There are dozens of apps with which to do this. I prefer the speech to text function inherent on Android and OSX and the default note app or a Google Doc on which to take the actual notes.

Once I get to school, I turn it into a to do list and the day is ready and my mind is right!


    1. Use Task Clone to automate your workflow. I learned about this from Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher). She takes notes in Evernote and then it sends the discrete tasks to her Wunderlist. Here’s a post on integration of the two.
    2. OR….

3. Mindfulness

Even Steve knows the importance of a little peace and quiet. Intentionally decide that, while of course you’ll be driving safely, you’re going to use the time to clear your head not jumble it.

Purposefully notice your route to work. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.

Or, see how much silence you can tolerate.

Just do two things. Drive and notice.

This might actually be the MOST productive thing you can do. I always underestimate the effects of this type of intentional mind-clearing.

Obvious DISCLAIMER. Please prioritize your safety and the safety of others when engaging in mindfulness activities on the road. 


  1. Here is a beginner’s guide to harness the innate processes of driving with the power of mindfulness.
  2. Here is a discussion on Headspace about how to most safely apply mindfulness to driving.

2. Voxer

Y’all. For an extreme extrovert like me in my tiny little teaching silo, Voxer has made the biggest of differences. You can talk to people from literally anywhere, in any language about whatever you want, any time you want. I started using it with my long distance friends a couple of years ago and never thought about using it for PD. But, I kept hearing about it on Twitter so I did some googling and I’m hooked.

I started by using this document to find some chats I may be interested in. (Just one of the many technology resources for teacher-driven PD that Sarah Thomas has her hand in.)


  1. Most Twitter chat hashtags have an accompanying Voxer group. You might just have to do a little detective work to find out how to join.
  2. Introduce yourself when you join a group with your name, location, connection to education and something you hope to gain from you membership.
  3. Use the 2x or 3x voice speed feature so that you can cover more ground in less time. I’ve found since it’s an informal platform, there’s a lot of umms you can breeze right by using this feature.
  4. Change your settings from Hold-to-Talk to Push-to-Talk. You only have to mash the button when you want to start talking and stop talking instead of holding it the entire time.
  5. If you buy a Voxer Pro membership for $30 a year, you can recall messages. This means if you ramble on through a response, delete it and try it again!
  6. If you have Pro, you can also use it in walkie-talkie mode when your screen is locked.

1. Podcasts

Alright friends, colleagues and enemies: THIS IS THE JAM and THE JELLY. I love collaborating with folks but there’s just something I love about sitting and getting via podcast.


  1. Use this live doc to peruse some podcasts both about and education and not curated by some pretty fabulous people I know from Twitter and @EdCampBranford.
  2. For an in-depth description of a few of my favorites (hopefully updated soon), see My Links page where I share some of my favorite and most impactful connections.

Comment below or tweet me @LREjubilee if you want to discuss!


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