8 things you can do to make your commute more productive

Your commute doesn't have to be 30 minutes of mindless daydreaming. Here are some simple but effective ways of making the time more productive.
Kim Connor Streich
Kim Connor Streich

Now, this isn’t going to be one of those preachy articles where I tell you to start eating kale, take up pilates and get out of bed at 6am every day. Yes it’s January, but we’re all human and we’d all rather eat cake in bed than become a superhuman paragon of productivity.

However, there are some small changes you can make in life that will help you get a little bit more done with your day, and your commute is a good place to start.  It takes me around 40 minutes to get to work on the bus. It doesn’t seem like much at the time, but adds up to around 6.5 hours a week! That’s a whole 6 hours I could be dedicating to something at least half useful.

However, as much as I’d love to whip my laptop out and start cracking on with some kick ass content creation, my bus times are never my best times. In the morning I’m normally still half asleep having just rolled out of bed, and in the evening I’m tired after a full day of work.

But that doesn’t mean I have to sit on the bus staring aimlessly out the window every day. There are loads of little things you can do to make your commute more useful, while still allowing yourself some downtime.

Read a book

read on commute

As a former English Literature student, but also just as a human, I miss having time to read for pleasure. In my fast-paced schedule I rarely have time to sit and read. Taking a book with me on the bus allows me to slip away to far off world and forget I’m in drizzly old London for a short while.

Get yourself on Goodreads and set a 2018 reading challenge. Remember to be realistic so you don’t disappoint yourself, but aim to read a certain amount of books before the year is out.

Listen to a podcast

If you find reading too much of a chore for first thing in the morning, try a podcast instead. Whether you go for an educational series, or something just plain funny, you’ll be learning something new regardless.

We have loads of helpful lists here on Debut to help you find the podcasts which are going to be of most use to you. Try these motivational ones to help you get pumped for the day ahead, or these educational ones to help you sound super smart.

Make your to-do list

This might not take up your full commute, but to help you feel focused and ready to seize the day, try making a list of everything you want to achieve on your phone. Putting down what you want to do that day in words will help you visualise exactly what you need to achieve. Then your brain will find it easier to work out how you’re going to do it.

Tackle those 3738 unread emails

delete emails on commute

It’s not just a myth, Inbox Zero actually does exist. Reading and responding to emails might feel a bit too much like work for a commute, but cleaning out your inbox can be very therapeutic. It’ll ensure you don’t miss any opportunities and don’t leave anyone unanswered. Plus, it’ll get rid of that annoying red circle on your home screen.

Read articles

I am terrible for stumbling across really interesting articles that I intend to read at a later date and then never get round to. Your commute is the perfect time to go back and give these a read. Try an app like Pocket to save articles and videos in one place for quick and easy re-reading. Perfect bite-size content for your journey.

Plan your meals

Another thing I always say I’m going to do but never get round to is meal planning. You can save yourself so much money if you take the time to plan out all the meals you’re going to need for the week and buy ingredients accordingly.

Take a look at some recipes to get your tastebuds going first. Then set out the week’s meals, and even order your shop online to be delivered when you get home from work. Much better than battling other shoppers in Asda on a Sunday.

Get your social media fix

social media on commute

If you find yourself getting easily distracted by social media throughout the day, use your commute to get your fix out the way. Give yourself 10 minutes on each of your main feeds so you’re all caught up. Then force yourself to put your phone away and ignore it for the rest of the day. This will help you to know exactly how much time you’re spending on social media and ensure it’s not damaging your productivity.


This might seem like a strange one for a solitary bus journey, but if you’re one of those people who’s always forgetting to reply to messages, then there’s no excuse when you’re sat around doing nothing for half an hour everyday. Keep those connections going and check in on those friends you haven’t spoken to in a while. You’ll feel the much better for it when you arrive at the office.

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