Do You Dread Your Commute? Maximize it by Doing Something Smart (and Productive!)

Do You Dread Your Commute? Maximize it by Doing Something Smart (and Productive!)

Miranda Raimon
Nov 13, 2016
(Image credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

For those of us who live far away from work, the daily commute can seem like wasted time. We usually fall into the trap of hopping on the bus and zoning out with Instagram or jumping in the car and listening to whatever talk radio has the least commercials. Instead of seeing your commute as a hindrance, learn to embrace the down time and dedicate those to-and-from trips to learning. We've compiled a few of our favorite ways to optimize the commute for increased productivity and creativity.

Listen to an audio book.

For some of us, the only "me time" we get is on our way to or from work, and reading is a luxury we may only reserve for vacation. Yet, nearly every book on your reading list probably comes in an audio version. Download an exciting or educational title and devour the text via audio for a hands-free way to pass the commuting time. We recommend Audible for the widest array of audio book titles.

Learn a new language.

Always wanted to learn a new language but haven't found the time? Perhaps you need to brush up on your French skills before your trip to Paris this winter. Either way, the time you spend sitting on a bus, train or in your car might as well be spent learning! There are tons of language learning apps available via your smartphone's app store (like HiNative and Busuu), and language lessons to stream on Spotify, not to mention plenty of podcasts to help you get familiar with a different country's cultures, such as the Coffee Break series by Radio Lingua. If you're commuting on public transportation don't forget your headphones, unless you want to start a conversation in a foreign language.

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Meditation is amazing for reducing anxiety, calming nerves and boosting your brainpower. Whether you prefer to meditate on your own, or listen to a guided audio meditation, your commute is the perfect time to clear your mind and find some focus. While guided relaxation works for any commuter, we recommend that if you're trying to fully commit to meditation, you're able to close your eyes— so that means you may want to skip this option if you're the driver. As meditation continues to rise in popularity, there are tons of app options to learn or deepen your meditation practice. We suggest downloading Omvana for its endless options of meditation tracks, or 1 Giant Mind for meditation newbies.

Discover a new podcast.

Having recently discovered the world of podcasts, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the sheer variety on offer. Whether you're a history buff (try Stuff You Missed in History Class), a foodie (download Gastropod), or just a lover of storytelling (listen to This American Life), there's a podcast to suit any taste or interest.

Do you have a long commute? How do you pass the time?

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