The past two years have been incredible in terms of my career. I joined The New Republic as the VP of Marketing & Communications in early 2015, and this June I launched Tactile, an agency that helps companies of all sizes create a more inclusive workplace for female leaders.

It’s been incredible, but with two full-time jobs, I have to put many aspects of my daily routine under a microscope.

Every morning, I walk about 15 minutes to the Q train, and then squeeze myself onto the subway like a sardine. As a born and bred New Yorker, I have always accepted morning insanity as a part of my existence.

In a way, having an annoying morning commute is almost like a sense of pride or badge of honor. But recently, I have decided that I need to transform this critical hour into a time of positivity and productivity, instead of sneering at advertising with misogynistic undertones while getting pushed.

As Amy Rothbard recently discussed in the Harvard Business Review, your morning mood affects your entire work day.

Here are three ways to make the morning commute a positive start to the day.

1. Treat Yourself

Let’s face it, there are frequent hiccups to the morning commute, like trains getting delayed or re-routed. And if you are a coffee addict like most, that frustration may be exacerbated if you are still feeling like a zombie.

So, whether you make your coffee, buy your coffee, or decide to nix the coffee in favor of a juice (or donut), bring your treat with you for the morning commute. It will bring you a bit of happiness, even if you are standing on a hot subway platform for 15 minutes.

Commute3

2. Find Your Podcast Soulmate

There is so much media we can consume these days, and I know that newsletters are all the rage for AM reading, but I believe podcasts make the perfect morning companion.

It allows you to be stimulated and entertained, without being too connected to your device to notice your surroundings.

Find a podcast you love, subscribe to it, and listen to it on your way to work while you sip your coffee. For me, my morning podcast loves are Keeping it 1600, 2 Dope Queens, and forever and always This American Life.

3. Establish Your Goals

I am a big fan of squeezing as much productivity into the morning as possible. I recently changed the way I make “to do” lists. Before I create a list, I come up with my big picture goals for the day (and if it’s a Monday, I also do that for the week.)

This allows me to build my list of tactics with results in mind. The goals list is the perfect commuting task. Essentially, you just need to think big-picture about what you want to accomplish. For example two goals for me could be “Book a meeting for my agency with a potential client and close a content partnership deal for TNR.”

These steps may not erase sexist advertising from the subways, or encourage the able bodied man sitting to GET UP while a pregnant woman stands in front of him. But, these steps will hopefully make the mornings more positive so that you can have a better, more productive work day.

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commute , happiness, podcast, productivity
Author: Erika Velazquez Alpern

Erika Velazquez Alpern is the CEO & founder of TACTILE, a company created to #changetheratio. She also serves as VP of Marketing for the New Republic.