How to get the best out of commuting

We look at some of the best uses of your time while commuting.

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While the idea of commuting for many is unappealing and a source of stress, there are many activities and ways to make sure this time is spent wisely.

A smart approach to commuting can make use of an extra five or six hours every week. There are many ways you can make use of this time.

Prepare

Your commute is the perfect time to prepare for the day ahead. You don’t need your laptop or even a notepad – mental planning is just as useful. Think about the previous day, what went well and what didn’t. Think about how you can embrace the upcoming day.

Revise

With stress levels known to rise as exams get closer, you can take some of the pressure off by using your commuting time to revise and go back over your studies.

Podcast

Commuting is perfect time to catch up with podcasts. Block out the commute with some headphones and your phone. Whether it is a relevant educational podcast, a comedy, sport or a discussion, listening to a podcast will help the time fly.

Social media

The commute is the perfect time to get up to date on your social media channels. This is also when your peers may be checking their social too, making it the perfect time to check Twitter or Instagram.

Learn a language

If it's always been on your bucket list to learn a language, then what better time to do it than on your commute? There are numerous ways to teach yourself, from good old audiobooks, to downloadable apps, or even trusty Rosetta Stone.

Down time or power nap

Sometimes you are going to want to be highly productive. On other days you may want to use your commute to do absolutely nothing. Alternatively, power naps are proven to be good for you. Taking a nap can improve performance, mental ability and alertness.

Read

The BBC found that someone who spends six hours commuting a week could read a 100,000-word book in that time.

Learn a language

Neuroscience shows that we often learn best when we study in spaced chunks, and the commute is an ideal time to put that principle into practice.

Exercise

A study of Taiwanese commuters found that people who used public transport were about 15% less likely to be overweight compared to those who travelled to work in the car.

Studies have found that commuters who walked or biked to work were less likely to be overweight and had healthier levels of blood pressure, triglycerides, and insulin, compared to those who drive or take public transport.

Work may improve too: in one British study, employees reported being more productive on days they exercised compared to days they didn’t.

While a bus or train journey doesn’t carry the same physical demands as a Zumba class, it does require a stroll to and from your station or bus stop.

The Taiwanese study suggests that short bursts of activity can add up to a meaningful difference in fitness.

Rehearse

What’s the next major move coming up in your life? The solitude of a car journey is ideal for practising an important presentation or preparing for a tough conversation like negotiating for a raise or trying out answers for upcoming tricky job interview questions.