Whether you drive for twenty minutes, take public transportation for an hour or walk a few blocks to your workplace, you spend a significant time of your day getting to and from work. Why not maximize what you do with that time, so that by the time you get to work your day is already supercharged with productivity? Chances are the way your morning goes will alter the rest of your day, and the way you feel on your afternoon commute will affect the way you are at home in the evening. It's important that you don't let your commute go to waste - doing things that maximize the day's potential will positively impact everything you do that day. Not sure what you can do while making your way to work? I've put together a few ideas to get you started.

Do some breathing exercises

I'm not suggesting you do a full blown yoga class on the bus, but a simple breathing exercise can really energize you and clear your mind. The more stress we have in our life, the less we focus on our breathing, yet, paradoxically, breathing has many benefits that can counteract the effects of stress. All you need to do is focus on your breathing and try to make your exhales longer than your inhales (example, inhale for a count of 2 and exhale for a count of 4). Depending on where you are, you can also close your eyes, if you'd feel more relaxed that way.


This one seems obvious, but it's worth mentioning. Maybe there's a novel you've been wanting to read for a while, or you simply want to catch up on the latest in the business world. The thing about reading on your commute is that you have many media to choose from: a book, a magazine, your tablet, your cellphone, etc. My advice is pick something different every week. Sticking with it for a week will produce results, but switching it up weekly will offer some novelty to your commute. If, like me, you commute for more than an hour daily, you will soon be able to say that you read a book every a week.

Listen to audio books

For those that drive, there is no reason to look over the written word. You can find many free audio books that you can easily download and listen to in your car. From literature to non-fiction, you can find pretty much anything you're looking for has been adapted to an audio book.

Catch up with family and friends

Make the time you spend commuting time well-spent by catching up with family and friends. Having good relationships with those around you will translate in a number of benefits for you, including the potential for increased productivity at work. Whether you call, email or text staying in touch while commuting is probably one of the most valuable things you can do with your time. Just make sure to wear a headset if you're driving!

Read the news

Many skeptics say that reading the news is a waste of time, that you don't really need to know what's going on somewhere else in the world, and that if it impacts you in any way, you will eventually find out. Yes, you might find out, but it might be too late for you to do anything about it. You want to know what's going on in your community and the world at large, because that can not only affect your personal life, but also your business. Stay informed while commuting by reading the newspapers, news magazines or listening to the radio. What's more, you can get all of that straight onto your phone or tablet.


Planning the tasks you want to complete for the day is a very good use of your commute time. Especially, think about the bigger picture and what small steps you can take to get there. When you come into the office knowing exactly what you want to get done for the day it can really improve your performance. Stepping into your office with a feeling of purpose is essential for productivity. Otherwise, you may just get lost in menial tasks.

Get a jump start on the day's work

Is there any work that you can do on your commute? Can you draft respond to emails or edit and proofread a report? Whatever you can do on your commute, get it done and out of the way.

Listen to podcasts

Listening to a podcast can be a great way to improve your knowledge base. Maybe you want to brush off your French or Spanish. Whether it's art, history or science that you're trying to learn more about, there's really no limit to what kind of podcasts you can find. Podcasts can really help you acquire knowledge in a bite-sized package.

Play a game

Sometimes it's also good to just have fun on your commute. Playing a game on your phone, tablet or the gaming device of your choice can really boost confidence and positivity. There's something to be said about achieving small tasks, even when they're not work related.

Avoid rush hour

Most commutes are not that bad, but they're made a lot worse by rush hour. You can probably cut down a significant chunk of your commute time by getting to work a little bit earlier or later, when traffic is not that congested. Traffic gets really heavy after 8 am, so leaving just 15 or 30 minutes before that can really improve your commute. If you have a more flexible schedule, then leaving your house a bit later is also an option.

What do you do to not let commuting time go to waste? Do you have any tips that you can share with us? Leave us a comment below.