7 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Commute

older woman on tablet commuting to work

Adobe Stock / pikselstock

Jacqueline Hernandez Lewis
Jacqueline Hernandez Lewis
June 23, 2024 at 10:29AM UTC
Every day, millions of people commute to and from work. In Manhattan alone, commuters from the other boroughs and outside the city nearly double the population from 1.6 million to 3.1 million during the day. To many, time spent traveling to and from work might seem like a waste — but there are ways to make your commute productive

Of course, it's a bit easier to get more things done when you ride public transportation, as opposed to driving yourself. Still, included are tips for drivers — because your commute can be just as productive as that of non-drivers.
Here are seven ways to make your commute productive:

1. Read a book or listen to an audiobook.

Making productive use of your commute time does not mean having to work. In fact, you might not want to do work during some of your only down time of the day. So, pick a[n] [audio]book and get some leisure reading or listening in. 

2. Listen to a podcast or music. 

As stated above, this is your time to use as you please. Listen to that podcast or album you have been wanting to but have not had the time to. If you want to relax, consider listening to a meditation podcast. Music can also be relaxing and/or entertaining. Turn on your favorite radio station or album and relax or rock out. It can make your commute a whole lot less stressful and a whole lot more fun. 

3. Write or brainstorm writing topics.

Public transportation commuters: this is a great time to look around for inspiration and jot down some thoughts or complete writing assignments. Drivers: though you cannot write while you steer, you can still brainstorm ideas. 

4. Catch up with friends or family.

Though technology and social media are convenient and can be good tools for communication, catch up with loved ones the old-fashioned way. Call a loved one while driving (using a headset, of course!), waiting for the bus or train or walking to your office. Chances are you have not spoken on the phone with many of your loved ones in a quite some time. Plus, a surprise call can brighten someone's day.  

5. Review for an upcoming exam, interview or presentation.

Listen to lessons or study from note cards. If you have something coming up that you need to review for, why put it off?

6. Get some physical activity in.

I get it — there are times you might be running late and will not have time for this but give it a try, at least sometimes. Park your car a bit farther away. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at the subway station. Walk to the next bus stop. Walk to and/or from work, if possible. 

7. Embrace your solitude.

Even if you are surrounded by others on public transportation, during your commute you are free to use your time as you please. That is certainly not the case when you have parenting, housework or business to attend to when you arrive at home. Since commuting is inevitable (unless you work from home), try to think more positively about it and enjoy your alone time. 

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Jackie is the owner of her blog Moments of Musing, where she writes about her life as a wife, mom, and more living in New York City. She works with survivors of intimate partner violence.

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