28 April 2014

10 Reasons Your Commute Is A Goldmine For Self Improvement


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Career development Performance


Most of us hate our commute to work. We’re packed into trains like cattle, wondering why we do it every day and assuming it’s wasted time. If your daily commute is an hour each way, over your lifetime you’ll spend roughly 2.5 years travelling to and from the office. Here are some suggestions of making this time more productive, beneficial, healthier and just a bit more interesting.

Learn something new

If you spend more than 30 minutes each day on your commute then it’s perfect for learning something new and interesting. Using an MP3 player or your phone you can start to learn a language, about history, listen to an inspiring autobiography or research an area you’ve always been interest in but never had the time to dedicate to it. Making the most of your commute to further your knowledge is a great use of your daily commute!

Go a different route

Simply changing the way that you get to work can make the journey more interesting, and may even save you time! Getting different trains, buses or tube trains, or changing the route you usually take in the car gives you the opportunity to see different things or travel with different people. Changing the way in which you get to work will stimulate your mind thinking about the journey, instead of the same old commute that you’ve done over and over.

Get the day sorted in your head

Planning your day, and getting your schedule sorted in your head, is a great use of the commuting time. Set out your activities for the day, and their priorities, when you get to work you can get on with things straight away. Having a to-do list completed before you get to the office will save you time everyday.

Reduce your inbox

If you commute by train or bus then responding to emails and reducing the size of your inbox is a great use of time. Reduce this distraction while in the office allows you to be more proactive. Even if you only respond to a few emails on your commute, that a few less to worry about while at work.

Exercise your mind

There are many puzzle apps available which will get your grey matter working in the morning. Instead of arriving in the office after a mind numbing commute, arrive ready to go after successfully solving puzzles!

Relax your mind

At the end of the day, unwind with some relaxing music. Music with a slow tempo and predictable beat will help you to relax.

Write a blog

The time spent travelling can be used to start a personal blog. Writing an article a day while commuting is a great way to get your brain working, concentrate on something other than your day job and learn new things.
According to Buffer the ideal article length is about 7 minutes (roughly 1600 words). This may sound like a lot, but when commuting for 2 hours a day total, and writing about your passion, it’s easy to reach this size article.

Start a car share scheme

If you commute via car then you can save money, and do your bit for the environment, by starting a car share scheme. Using the company intranet through your HR software you can publicise your idea to the rest of the business, ask for volunteers and report on the benefits, which include:

  • Save money on fuel
  • Easier parking (fewer cars)
  • Environmentally friendlier
  • Friendly company on your commute
  • Vehicle wear and tear reduced


Start a book club with your commute partners

Start a book club with the people you travel to work with every day. Many of us get on the same train, and with the same people, every day to commute. If you’ve come to know these people then suggest a book club where you can discuss what you’ve read while travelling to and from work.


If it’s safe to do so try standing on your commute to work. Studies have shown that sitting for excessive periods of time is bad for your health in a number of ways. If you’re going to spend the day sat at your desk then sitting for the commute only compounds these potential problems.
Giving up your seat for someone will not only mean you have to stand, but will also make you feel good about yourself while setting an example to other commuters. In a recent study only 20 out of 100 commuters offered a pregnant woman a seat.