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How to Optimise Your Commute (and Seriously Shift Gears On-The-Go)

On average, Brits spend 54 minutes a day commuting.

That’s an awful lot of time each week dedicated to staring at adverts, avoiding eye contact, and reading the paper over people’s shoulder. It seems a waste when you add it all up, especially if you’re struggling to fit in extra projects in your spare time.

But whether you drive, walk, or are cramped on the Tube, there are easy ways to use your journey to improve your skills, further your career, or simply make your day a little better. Here are five top ways to optimise your commute and make the most out of your time travelling to and from work:

Read

Are you always saying that you don’t read enough, or you wish you could find time to read more? Whether your journey is 30 minutes or two hours, you can pack in some serious reading time if you don’t have to drive. Streamline your reading list ahead of time and pick the books, blogs, and magazines that you are really interested in. That way it will make those boring journeys seem quicker and you get a chance to catch up on curent affairs, learn something new, or just get lost in a story. If you’re a driver and reading isn’t an option, try downloading some e-books instead so you can listen along.

Exercise

Fun to some, a chore to most. Exercise is the thing everyone hates before they start but loves once they’ve finished. The list of benefits is never ending and, if you work in a stressful job, it will be especially beneficial to try to fit something active in each day. So why not turn your commute into your workout routine? As an essential journey, it will give you a reason to get on your feet each day. You could walk to and from your office instead of hopping in the car, invest in a bike and cycle, or even jog home once your day is over. As an added bonus, it can save you some money on transport and perhaps give you some time back in the evening to do your own thing.

Write

If you’ve got career plans in your head, the commute is a great time to get them down. Whether you’re a creative with lots of things to write, or just need to do your shopping list and reply to some emails, you can use this time to get those things ticked off your to-do list, meaning you have less to tackle when you arrive at the office or get home for the day.

Listen to podcasts

Podcasts are having a moment right now. There’s a huge range of really high quality episodes that you can have ready to listen to on your journey. Most of them are free and all of your interests will be catered for. Think really well-produced radio without the adverts. If you just need something fun and light, or if you want to listen to some serious discussion on your way home, you can download it all. Try Ctrl Alt Delete for a daily dose of girl power, One Part Podcast for lessons in next-level inspiration, and The PanDolly Podcast for what feels like a frank conversation with friends.

Meditate

Countless celebrities have endorsed meditation as the best thing they have done for their personal wellbeing. It’s all about emptying your mind of your troubles and focusing on being present. Admittedly, it may be a little more difficult if you’re on a busy train, but checking in with yourself in preparation for a busy day, or calming down after an afternoon of stress, could work wonders for your mood. Headspace will help you get in the right, well, head space whilst on-the-go.

With a few little tweaks, you can really use commuting to your own benefit – and maybe even get some of your spare time back in the process.

What are your favourite things to do while on your commute?

Written by:

Katie Hopkins lives amongst piles of books and pug memorabilia. As a copy-editor and freelance writer, she is always immersed in words, and is captivated by the world of careers and the pursuit of happiness, alongside a little fascination with true crime. She tweets as @katie_louh.

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