4 best ways to productively use your commuting time

This article describes the various ways in which you can use your commuting time to increase your overall efficiency and reduce the wastage of time. The article includes personal experience including what worked for the author and what didn't. Hope you enjoy reading the article.

Long journeys from home to work or from home to school/college are quite common nowadays. It is not uncommon to find people who travel for over an hour each day to reach their place of or the institution where they are supposed to study. This commute can be a frustrating one especially for the millennials who want to make the most of every second they live.

This was a problem that was quite a major one for me, at least until a couple of months ago. Looking back at my day, I found that the time that I spent on my commute was the most unproductive time of the day. My house was quite a distance away from my college and this meant being on the road for 2 hours each college day. This was a wastage of time that I simply couldn't bear. Just think about it. 2 hours each day means 10 hours each week (we have college 5 days a week) and 40 hours each month! That is the time in which I could have written about 14 articles for India Study Channel. All of that time was simply slipping away from my hands and I knew I had to counter it. Then I applied a few really simple techniques to help me maximize my efficiency. These techniques, which are simple enough to be laughed away helped me reclaim my lost time. These techniques are outlined below.

By the way, before moving on to my article, I must add a disclaimer. I used to travel to college on a Guwahati city bus, which means that generally, I get a reasonably comfortable place to sit. Therefore some of my suggestions will not be helpful for those travelling by say, a local train in Bombay, where every cubic inch is filled up by human bodies (or so I have heard). But do read on anyway. I am sure you will learn something new anyway.

1. Keep in touch with the news

The first thing that I tried on my commute was reading the news. These days it is possible to read the news using e-papers without the hassle to carry the massive physical newspaper, making it easy to read the news even while sitting on a public bus. Initially, it was a bit tiring to get the focus after a long day at college, but once I adjusted to it, it was an amazing experience. Nowadays when anyone says that they do not have the time to read the news because they are busy, I do not believe them. You can snatch away all those few minutes and then create a miracle out of them.

2. Watch the highlights show

I could not watch most of the recent Ashes series between Australia and England, but I did manage to sneak in and watch the highlights, doing nearly all of it while on the bus. It feels amazing how an entire day's play can be compressed into a 5-minute highlight video. In the end, I saved enough time to watch the highlights and then read some insightful analysis on ESPN Cricinfo. This is not for someone who likes to enjoy the flavour of a test match, watching each delivery.

3. Read

This is another thing that you can do while on your commute. My commute was almost 2 hours a day as I have already mentioned and so, that gave me plenty of time to read plenty of things. I managed to read the novel 'Sacred Games' by Vikram Chandra, although I couldn't complete it due to its sheer length.

I also tried to read some books related to my syllabus (I am a first-year undergraduate student of history), especially the ones that were available as e-books. I managed to get through a couple of chapters of Satish Chandra's Medieval India, but it somehow didn't work. Probably reading and commuting do not go well together as the amount of concentration that is needed for simply reading a serious piece is not very easily available on a journey on a public bus.

4. Write

Writing articles is something that I have been doing for a long time, but after I entered ISC, it became more systematic and regular. My article on anger management is a proof that you can write articles while sitting on a crowded bus. I was frankly quite surprised by the quality of my work, done as it was in an environment which not many people would call suitable for writing.

This ends my article on the various ways in which you can productively use your commuting time. As I have already mentioned, some of these may not be possible for everybody in every environment. Nevertheless, it is important to use every second of your day efficiently so that your overall productivity is boosted.


Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao24 Sep 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

A very good article from the author. These days not only students but many employees also travel long distances to their offices. I travel for 90 minutes daily for going to the office and coming back. I have a car and a driver. So this is the time I have no work except sitting and hearing the music. Then I thought as to how I can utilise this time productively. I started carrying official papers which I have to go through before approving. I used to carry cash vouchers which are to be approved by me before payment. I complete the verification and signing before my journey completes. On some days when I don't have any papers with me, I read the review of R & D works carried out in the week and pass on back to the originator with my comments. If that is also not there I purchase two English newspapers, not for reading news but for completing the Sudoku Puzzle. Of course, if you are travelling in a means of public transport you may not be able to do certain tasks. But students, when they travel by their college buses, can go through the lessons covered and note down any doubts they have. Otherwise, we can use our earphones and go on hearing good music.

Author: Umesh26 Sep 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 9

Time is the most precious commodity in our life and time gone from our lap is irreversible and cannot be utilised by us. The author has given a good sketch of how to use the time effectively while commuting. It is true that today, because of increasing cost of living in urban centres, many people are staying in outskirts and commuting to their workplace daily and incurring a lot of time in that due to the distances involved and traffic bottlenecks. So people who are regularly commuting have to find ways to utilise this commuting time in creative ways. It could be anything which can engage us in positive ways. I have seen in Mumbai people travelling in local train have formed kirtan groups where they recite kirtan and aarti of God and sing it together and then use this practice during the festival times in the puja pandals near their houses. This is one great way to improve one's singing faculties and also enjoy this group activity. We must understand the value of time and technically speaking we all have a fixed time interval scheduled for our life and so should not waste it in lethargic manners.

During my active work-life there was a time when I had to commute long distances almost 3 times a week due to an additional assignment. Initially, I was a bit baffled as to how to kill or utilise that time but soon I got the idea of reviving my old hobby of reading and I got some good books of my choice and soon I had read many books during that time span. It was for a year or so that I continued in that mode. Later I came back to my local assignment and did not need that. Anyway, it was a great experience that I could read many books during that phase and was immensely benefited in pursuing my hobby.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta28 Sep 2019 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

A nice article presented by the author. I agree that reading books while commuting helps a lot. I commute in my own car to the office and so I have the option of listening to the radio. I have saved a few meditational/relaxing music which I listen while returning back from the office when I am tired and stressed from the daily work. While going to the office I usually listen to devotional music. Both of these relax the mind and keep it peaceful.

If someone doesn't drive on his own, I would suggest planning things about the whole day at work. It's always a better thing to plan your work and make a strategy to accomplish the goals and while going to the office is the best time for a person to do.

Author: Chitra05 Oct 2019 Member Level: Gold   Points : 7

I am a person who commutes using public transport. Hence, I get to see a lot of different people every day. I have noticed that most of them use the commuting time to listen to music, play games or to watch a show. Some do read religious books or stories as well.

I would like to add one more point to productively use the commuting time. We will be quite busy at work and at home, hence we normally find it difficult to reach out to our relatives. Also, with the advent of social networking sites, communication has been limited to chattings and voice messages. This will not keep the relationships as strong as how you talk to each other. So now don't worry about finding the time, use your commuting time wisely to keep the relations alive and happy. Have your headsets on and start calling. You will not know how fast time flies and you will not get bored of waiting in public transport. But be careful not to speak loudly and irritate others.

I agree with Sanjeev on planning things. I do that. On the way back from office, I will be planning and thinking about what to cook, what groceries to buy, etc. That is always there in a normal house wife's head.

Author: K Mohan01 Jul 2021 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

After reading this article, my thoughts went to 1980-85 when I completed B Com and M Com through the correspondence course and I was having ample time while commuting to and fro between the office and home. Solidly I was utilizing three hours of bus journey daily to study my course material and every Saturday and Sunday I used to visit the class to know the lessons of the week. That way I completed my graduation and post-graduation without wasting time.

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