A Few Cures For The Common Commute

What would you do with an extra 51 minutes per day? Sleep? Spend more time with family or friends? Cook more often?

Americans spend, on average, 51 minutes per day commuting to work and commute time increases the closer that employees are to major urban centers. It’s not uncommon for young professionals to spend 90 minutes or more, five days a week getting to and heading back from their careers. Even at the most conservative estimates, working professionals spend an extra work day every two weeks in transit.

Idea 1 – Listen to podcasts

You can learn almost anything during your commute, from carpentry to history to tech skills to politics. Podcasts have been produced in abundance for the better part of 15 years and there’s a wealth of information out there. There’s a podcast to match nearly any interest and whether you drive to work or take public transit, an auxiliary cable or a pair of headphones can connect you to a world of knowledge. Listener beware, try to find a podcast that matches the length of your commute or, preferably, is a few minutes shorter; if a podcast is too long, you’ll either need to stop listening at the important parts or end up waiting to go into work until it has finished.

Editor’s recommendations: The History of Rome Podcast, More Perfect Podcast, Tempest Podcast, Radiolab Podcast and Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast. All available on itunes, Google Music or a number of other platforms.  

Idea 2 – Learn a new language

Audio books that teach language have lost a bit of popularity since the dawn of the current century, however, they are still readily available from sites like Amazon. In recent years, these audio-based language lessons have allowed for options that focus on certain professional needs like Spanish language lessons for medical professionals or Vietnamese language lessons for education professionals.

Driving and learning a language is not impossible, but somewhat more difficult than learning a language when you don’t have to split your attention between the road and the lesson. If you’re commuting via public transit, there are several smartphone apps that can help you learn a language in a fun and engaging way.

Editor’s recommendation: Duolingo, available on IOS and Android.

Idea 3 – Get acquainted with the classics

Audiobooks are incredibly popular. People have been putting books on tape since, well… since tape. Most popular books are available in an audio format, but many of the classics are available for free all over the web. From Shakespeare to Homer to Aldous Huxley, it’s easy to enjoy the stories that have delighted generations no matter where you are.

Editor’s recommendations: Richard III by William Shakespeare, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Republic by Plato, Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Armed with these ideas, you can turn your commute into a class in any of your favorite subjects. Try listening to a podcast, learning a new language or listening to one of the classics on your next ride to or from work.

Comment below to let us know what you learned!