What highly successful people do on their morning commutes

From embracing tech to letting loose, these are the tricks and techniques to make the most of your mornings

How did you spend your commute this morning? Did you sip silently at your coffee, balancing a sudoku on your knee? Take a green-eyed scroll through a bunch of travel Instagram profiles? Try to catch the eye of a new and particularly attractive fellow commuter? Sleep?

It can be strange, being cooped up on a bus or train for up to an hour every morning, but the smart men among us utilise this time to get things done. As long as you’re not driving or cycling during your commute — although there are still ways to be productive if you are — here are five of the best commuter routines we’ve heard from successful people.

Joel Burgess, Founder and CEO of Nutrifix

joel burgess

Favoured mode of transport? “Tube from West Brompton to Victoria. I’m very fortunate that my commute is relatively stress-free.”

How do you spend your time? “I think it’s key to embrace boredom – it’s all too easy to turn to social media to satisfy your endorphins. Instead I like to use this time to think. I put on some good music, think through a plan for the day ahead and then let my mind wander. This ensures I’m not in reactive mode and I’m starting the day on the front foot. It’s also often the time when I come up with my best ideas.”

Recommended read/podcast/pursuit?“My two favourite podcasts are Lewis Howes’ ‘The School of Greatness’ — in particular his episode ‘How to win (and why we fail)?’ which I have listened to numerous times. And when I’m in the mood to escape my thoughts, it’s hard to beat ‘Desert Island Discs’. For anyone who loves sport and business I would recommend reading ‘Legacy’ by James Keer.”

Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne Watches

Wilhelm Schmid

Favoured mode of transport?“I drive in, in my BMW station wagon.”

How do you spend your time? “It’s a half hour trip for me to get to the office, and it’s indeed a scenic route with winding roads and very little traffic. There are those — not too common — sunny days when I instead take one of my vintage cars and just enjoy the sun, the headwind and the power of the engine.”

Recommended read/podcast/pursuit? “I usually use the time to do the first phone calls of the day, normally with Asia due to the time zones. These conditions create a feeling of freedom and relaxation, and help me to free up my mind ahead of the challenges of the day.”

Henry Hales, founder of Sir Plus clothing

Henry Hales

Favoured mode of transport? “Cycling or catching the tube.”

How do you spend your time? “If I catch the tube, I normally reply to emails and plan my day on Notes. If I get a moment, I read Business of Fashion. I wish I was a bit more zen and meditated, but I’m normally hectically trying to clear my inbox ready for meetings!”

Recommended read/podcast/pursuit? “When cycling I listen to podcasts. I like “How I Built This”, Monocle’s or the Gentleman’s Journal podcast — of course! They’re all very inspiring and more often that not show that people are human and not otherworldly Elon Musk-esque entrepreneurs — which is reassuring!”

Clive Jackson, CEO & Founder of Alyssum Group (owner of Victor)

Clive Jackson

Favoured mode of transport? “My self-driving Tesla Model X.”

How do you spend your time? “Early mornings find me at my most creative and productive. I use the commute into London to think about the challenges which lay ahead and plan accordingly. How can I tackle them? How can I inspire the team to tackle their own challenges? This is all without the distraction of calls and emails.”

Recommended read/podcast/pursuit? “I love my Apple Watch for accessing instant notifications from Bloomberg and other media, and for effective communication with my Executive Assistant or Chairman. I also use the Siri function and my car’s own voice activation system – I’ve become quite good at doing everything via voice during the commute in.”

Luca Faloni, Founder of Luca Faloni Clothing

Luca Faloni

Favoured mode of transport? “I’m a 15 minute walk away from my office, as I find it very difficult to be highly productive or relax while commuting, therefore I decided to rent an office close to my home. If I need to travel to meetings I always use Uber so I can work or relax on the way and save time.”

How do you spend your time? “In general I like to be very efficient with my time. On the way to work I usually call my manufacturers in Italy for the most urgent matters. On the way back I have another call, this time with my family or friends.”

Recommended read/podcast/pursuit? “If I am too tired to have a call, I like to listen to some of the playlists on Spotify, as I like to be surprised and find new songs. Hawaiian music is also very relaxing as I don’t understand the content and it is very melodic; I highly recommend it while reading or working.”

Looking for some top business advice? This is how to retire at 30, according to the entrepreneurs who made it happen…

Become a Gentleman’s Journal Member?

Become a Gentleman’s Journal Member?

Like the Gentleman’s Journal? Why not join the Clubhouse, a special kind of private club where members receive offers and experiences from hand-picked, premium brands. You will also receive invites to exclusive events, the quarterly print magazine delivered directly to your door and your own membership card.

Click here to find out more

Further reading