How to Make Your Commute More Productive
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Long commutes are a drag, end of story. They take up sooo much useful time that could be spent doing something – anything – else.
Whether you’re on a road trip or just have a long commute for work, the drive can get annoyingly monotonous. Your favorite songs aren’t your favorite anymore because you’ve listened to them 10,000 times. The traffic is finally getting on your last nerve. And you’ve hit that pothole one too many times (if you live in Michigan, you know what I’m talking about).
Well, to look on the bright side of having a long commute, there are actually some productive things you can do to pass the time – all while driving. And all thanks to technology!
Making Your Long Commute Seem Shorter
Technology has opened up a world full of possibilities when it comes to entertainment. It has brought to light so many ways to keep you occupied and tuned in while driving. And the best part is that they keep your mind engaged and make good use of your time!
So, “what are these magical things that can make me enjoy my commute” you ask?
1. Find Good Audiobooks
Remember that episode of HIMYM where they listened to Ted’s audiobook? That’s all I think of when I talk about audiobooks (lol).
Anyway, if you like reading books but can’t find the time, try listening to audiobooks in the car. There are so many out there, and there are actually good ones, too. I absolutely love reading but finding the time to sit down and pick up a book is difficult. That’s why audiobooks are amazing; all you have to do is hit play and enjoy the story, even when driving!
There are several places you can get audiobooks. Below are my recommended options:
1. Audible by Amazon: You can get 2 free audio books just for signing up. This is a great way to browse Audible’s selection of audiobooks to help determine if it’s worth paying $14.95 a month for. I should note that if you download a book you aren’t happy with, you can easily return it for a different book, at no extra charge to you. Members also receive 30% off additional books. You can also listen to the books anywhere at anytime with the free Audible app, which is very convenient. All of the audiobooks are ad-free and can be listened to offline, so you don’t have to worry about using any data on your long drives. If you’re looking for a great selection of audiobooks, give Audible by Amazon a try and get 2 free books when using my link.
2. Audiobooks.com: Very similar to Audible, Audiobooks.com is another great contender. It also costs $14.95 a month. Once you signup for the FREE 30-day trial using my link, you get access to over 100,000 audiobooks to choose from. With the free app, you can listen to your audiobooks on any device at anytime, either through streaming or through a download. Using my link, you can get a free 30-day trial for Audiobooks.com.
2. Download some Podcasts
I never even opened up my Podcasts app until we were on our way from Oregon to Michigan, which is a very long commute. Spoiler alert: I wish I would have started using them sooner.
There are only so many times I can listen to the same songs without starting to hate them, even if they are my favorite songs (checkout my Spotify playlist). Because of this dilemma, and 2,300 miles ahead of us, we decided to listen to some Podcasts. And thankfully we did, because they’re amazing!
Podcasts are such a great way to pass time that you’ll actually be surprised you arrived at your destination so quickly.
So for those of you who don’t know what a Podcast is, it’s literally just a digital audio file. There is pretty much no limit to what a Podcast can be on.
Our favorite Podcast is Car Talk, since Ian’s a big car guy. I also happen to enjoy Car Talk because it’s genuinely entertaining and pretty informative about vehicles. Give it a listen even if you don’t care much for cars. It’s more about finding solutions to problems the caller’s cars are experiencing. So if your car is running poorly, maybe the Car Talk Podcasts can give you a sense of what’s going on (but don’t use it as “professional” advice).
There are obviously more than just that one Podcast, so I’ve listed out some other popular ones below.
Some other good Podcasts are:
• Stuff You Should Know: This podcast series is brought to us by the makers of HowStuffWorks.com. It basically explains how stuff works! This will give you more insight into the how and why things work the way they do.
• Brain Training: As the name suggests, this is all about exercising the mind. Each episode consists of two games, each containing 3 rounds. As the games progress, they get more challenging. If these are too hard to focus on while driving, save them for later when you’re bored and not operating heavy machinery!
• Revisionist History: In this series, Malcolm Gladwell revisits history. Each podcast examines something from the past and discusses whether “we got it right the first time.”
• A Piece of Work: This series of podcasts discusses everything you could want to know about modern and contemporary art. There are only 10 episodes, but they are jam-packed with lots of information to satisfy your (he)art’s desire (see what I did there?).
• Hidden Brain: As the description states: “The Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves.” To make it interesting, they incorporate science and storytelling to explain what shapes our choices in life.
• Live from the Poundstone Institute: Somewhat similar to Stuff You Should Know, this podcast explains the reasoning behind certain things. The episodes feature scientists, researchers, and experts to fully explain everything, making you smarter with each one you listen to. You know what they say, knowledge is power.
• Planet Money: Here you’ll find everything you need to know about the economy. The hosts even throw in some cool stories and surprises to make it more entertaining.
• Amazon Secrets with Matt Behdjou: This is a very informative series of Podcasts. If you’re wondering how 2 people generated over $650,000 in one year selling on Amazon, then this is for you. One of the things they discuss is their marketing strategy, so even if you’re not looking to sell on Amazon, it could still be useful!
3. Use Rosetta Stone
Since you’ve got all this free time, you might as well put it to good use by expanding your linguality (reminds me of linguine).
Rosetta Stone is a great way to learn a new language. They even offer audio companion, which enables its users to use the audio files offline. Knowing more than one language can improve your verbal skills, make learning easier, and help you get the job you applied for over the next guy.
Also, you’ll just be cooler than everyone else because you can speak two (or more) languages.
4. Listen to TED Talks
You can find a bunch of TED Talks as Podcasts known as the TED Radio Hour. An alternative to the Podcasts is just downloading the TED app and browsing all of the Talks.
What I love about TED Talks is how inspiring and diverse they are. My favorite has to be To This Day … for the bullied and beautiful by Shane Koyczan. I found this back in high school and it has always stuck with me. It really pulls at the heart strings, so make sure you’re prepared for it.
Aside from that Talk, there are so many other ones, including ones to get you prepared for interviews, presentations, or anything else life throws at ya.
I highly suggest checking them out. You won’t be disappointed! Your views will be expanded and your long commute won’t feel so long. What’s better than that?
5. Tune in to NPR
When I’m not listening to my playlists or podcasts, I listen to NPR. It’s a great way to pass the time and let you know what’s going on in the world.
They have some very interesting journalism stories as well, so it’s not always news news news. If you’re looking for an engaging news and journalism station, this is it.
6. Listen to Lecture Recordings
If you feel like you don’t have enough time to study, see if you can record your lectures.
When you’re driving home on the weekends or to work / class, you can listen to them to help reiterate what you learned in class. If your professors won’t allow this, try finding online lectures that pertain to your subject(s) and listen to those.
7. Make a Killer Playlist
Listening to music isn’t necessarily productive, but it’s definitely a great way to enjoy a commute. My favorite time to listen to music is while I’m cleaning or in the car (whether it’s a long commute or not). It makes the activities more enjoyable.
When it comes to music we have the option to buy the music, “rent” the music, or listen to music and ads. I absolutely HATE ads, like for real. For a long time, I lived with the ads, as I didn’t think spending money on a monthly subscription was worth it.
Let me tell you, nothing is more annoying than listening to one song at 6:30am on your drive to work and immediately an ad right after. I finally got fed up with this and had to figure something else out. That’s when I found all of these great options, most of them coming with free trials!
The Top Music Streaming Services:
1. Prime Music by Amazon: If you have an Amazon Prime Membership (you can signup for a free 30-day trial here), you get Prime Music for free. There are over 2,000,000 songs to choose from, all ad-free. You can also download them to your device(s) so you don’t use your data. In addition to browsing music and creating playlists, you can listen to Prime Playlists and create stations based on your favorite artists or bands. We personally use Prime Music and it’s honestly great since it’s at no extra cost to us. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can try a free 30-day trial of Prime Music here and start listening away.
2. Apple Music: This is yet another great place to listen to music. Just like Prime Music, you can create playlists, listen to Apple Playlists, and download music. It’s very easy to use and there are so many songs to listen to. As of 11/20/2017, you can try Apple Music FREE for 3 months!
3. Spotify: My last music streaming recommendation is Spotify, which is great for playlists. I have been using this recently to find new songs or old songs I used to listen to all the time. It’s great. Just like the above, you can download songs or playlists to listen to offline. If you have Spotify Premium, your possibilities are endless and you don’t have to worry about ads. As of 11/20/2017, Spotify is offering 3 months of Premium for $0.99, so jump on that deal while you can!
Nothing is worse than dreading something you have to do every day. Now you can (hopefully) start enjoying your commute much more. Don’t forget to share this post!