How to make use of mobile minutes

Calum Robson says public transport needn’t be a drag. Whether your brain’s in gear or not, you can find ways to make those routine journeys pay off

How much time do you spend travelling to and from work or college? What about when visiting clients, or attending off-site meetings?

We spend an enormous amount of time on public transport. But what do we do? Stare out the window? Daydream? Flick absent-mindedly through a magazine? Of course, there’s nothing criminal in frittering time away. But highly successful people make the most of every minute – and you don’t have to be superhuman to exploit those times when you’re between places, helping you accomplish more and feel better about yourself.

Be productive

With careful planning, public transport can provide a reasonable temporary environment for studying. If you’re in a station or waiting room, find somewhere quiet. Once aboard the train or bus, if you can’t find a seat on your own, be highly selective regarding travel companions – that unassuming teenager could whip out his iPod as soon as you set off and treat you to his music for the remainder of your journey.

Which means: you too should arm yourself with a personal stereo or MP3 player. If you can’t bear the thought of listening to taped lectures or your own recorded voice chanting the mantras of financial reporting (you want to stay awake, after all), why not listen to some motivational tapes or CDs? There are many fantastic speakers out there, ready to inspire you to be smarter in the office, study more effectively, or simply work towards achieving a healthier work/life balance.

Download techniques on speed reading from the Internet – these can make for a fun way to study that doesn’t require you to take loads of notes, something that’s not really practical on public transport. You could also buy or borrow one of the many new gadgets and gizmos designed to stretch and develop your mental reflexes and short-term memory with various number, sound, and light games.

And… relax

Too exhausted to study or read? That’s fine. Don’t feel guilty about using your trip to simply unwind – but unwind properly.

Practise deep breathing exercises or simply close your eyes and conjure up peaceful or happy images. Above all, don’t let your mind wander to the stresses of work or upcoming exams. Finally, why not give classical music a chance? Inexpensive to download and with a vast array of soothing, inspiring, or uplifting pieces to choose from, you don’t have to be a culture vulture to enjoy it. Enjoy your next trip!


"Why not listen to some motivational tapes or CDs? There are many fantastic speakers out there, ready to inspire you"