5 Ways To Make Use Of Your Commute

An average week at uni for me consists of full working days from Monday-Thursday, and a self directed study day on Friday (which I usually spend at home..*guilty face*). I commute to and from uni by train which takes 30 minutes each way, meaning I spend 1 hour per day on trains at least 4 days a week. That’s not even including all that time I clock up waiting on the platform! I’ll let you do the maths on that one but ultimately the result is a lot of time wasted on flappy bird. 

In fact, the average UK employee now spends roughly 4 hours 40 minutes a week on their journey to and from work. I’ll be honest, for a long time I was guilty of wasting that time on sitting, thinking about not very much, and generally trying not to make eye contact with anyone. But then I'd get home, get started on all my work and regret all that wasted time. I'm an art student, so in general the train isn't the most practical place to get uni work done, however, there are other things that I just don't get the chance to do as I always seem to be busy in the evenings. Time to make use of that 4 hours of dead time!

1. Read
Here it comes, straight in at number 1, use your commute as a chance to read. It seems like something pretty obvious, but for me its one I really need to start doing! One of my new years resolutions was to read more, and in a way I have succeeded in that I started off the year full on intent and got a few books read very quickly, more than I had read the entire previous year. However, that sort of tailed of as I reached the final stages of my a-levels and I haven't picked it back up again since. I don't think we can or should underestimate what regular reading does for the brain, and train time is the perfect opportunity to read, something many of us claim not to have time to do. 

2. Make A To Do List
I'm a big list person. A real 'lists about lists' kind of girl. In fact, you can tell if I'm really excited about something if I start making multiples lists about it. But you don't have to be a list-aholic to write a simple to do list, and your daily commute is the perfect time to do it. Look forward to the day/week ahead and go through everything that needs to be done, prioritise if it's a super busy one! Once I have a list written down in ink on paper, I find I can stop concentrating on all the messy thoughts in my head about everything that needs doing and when, and start concentrating on actually getting on and doing it!

3. Learn
How many of us say we wish we had time to learn something new, for example, a language? There are now hundreds of thousands of podcasts available to download for free, covering subjects from language to history to the arts to health to science. Even if you drive to work, this is something which you can do during your commute. Have a scout around on the Podcasts app and find something that interests you personally. You never know, you might be speaking french by Christmas...

4. Tie Up Loose Ends
I've already mentioned that as an art student, it can be difficult to compete any work I have during my commute, and this can be the case for many people in many different professions. But I am of the belief that there is always something you can be doing. Try to get all those little 1 or 2 minute tasks done that seem to build up over the course of a few days. Reply to that e-mail, return that call or do a quick google search on something you've been meaning to look up. Tying up all those odds and ends will clear the bulk of your day for bigger tasks.  

5. Play Games To Sharpen Your Mind 
And finally, if you really can't tear yourself away from games on your phone, try to swap them for something more stimulating for your brain, like Sudoku. Some researchers believe that playing mentally stimulating games such as this may help reduce the risk of age related memory loss. Not bad for a quick commute time killer! 

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