At a Glance: Rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media while riding the bus or train to work, try a short meditation or reviewing your class notes.
Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute, 39 seconds

The average American commuter spends nearly an hour on their daily round-trip travel. That’s more than 15 hours each month. Whether you’re driving or riding, maximize those precious commuter hours with these productive tips.

Organize your to-dos

Make a routine of checking in with your to-do list during your commute. Add new items, cross off old ones and prioritize. Also scan your calendar to make sure you’re ready for the day, the week and the month. If you’re driving, brainstorm and voice record to-do items on your phone, if you’re able to do so safely, then add to your list later.

Focus on school

The night before, pick and prepare to mentally attack one pressing (but manageable) school-related issue during your commute. This could mean reviewing class notes, outlining a paper, returning classmates’ emails or getting next semester’s schedule squared away. Every bit helps.


It can help reduce stress, create a sense of calm and perhaps even improve your overall health, prepping you to better deal with everything on your plate. Start with a few minutes. Even if you’re driving, you can focus on breathing deep, exhaling fully and repeating a positive phrase, such as “I will succeed,” or “just be.” Riders, check out apps such as buddhify or Headspace.

Listen to a book or podcast

Find out if one of your class books is available in audio format. If so, turn it on. If not, pick something either related to your course of study or a total break from it, depending on what’ll best help you meet your day’s educational and emotional goals.

Work out

If you have a hard time fitting in fitness elsewhere in your day, park your car or hop off the train early and power walk the final mile. Your mood and energy will benefit from this regular exercise, taken care of in just two short 15- to 20-minute increments.

Making the most of your commute will free up time elsewhere in your jam-packed day for other priorities, such as studies, family and friends.

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