Commuter Hacks: Productively Passing the Time


Since the beginning of September, I have started life as a commuter.  I drive into the Twin Cities everyday for my daughter’s autism treatment.  As commuting isn’t something I have done before, I have spent the last couple weeks navigating the ins and outs of how to best spend commute (at least for me).  This week here at Eat, Drink & DIY, I will be focused on commuting and providing tips and hacks for the daily drive.  Be on the look out this week for for essential products to keep in your car along with food and snacks for the commuter. On Friday, I will be sharing with your my Emergency Winter Car Kit and how you can make your own.

A little note about me, I am not one that likes to waste time.  I like to feel productive and when I have about 10 hours/week in the car, I don’t want to feel like I’ve completely wasted that time.  Now, don’t think I’m advocating for you to try write a novel while driving or paint your toenails, but there are a couple ways in which you can safely multitask.

Here are my favorite ways to spend time in the car:

  1. Audiobooks and podcasts.  I will admit, I am a newbie to the podcast world, but I am starting to get my feet wet in a couple different podcasts.  Listening to something that is of interest to you, helps you learn something for your career/education, or entertains is definitely worthwhile to listen to while driving..  Likewise, listening to audiobooks while driving helps pass the time.  It makes me feel productive listening to a book that I wanted to read.  I don’t have much free time, so sitting down to just read doesn’t happen very often.  Audiobooks for the win.If you are in the same boat as me and don’t want to purchase audiobooks to listen to them once, check your local library.  I haven’t actually set foot in my library to get my audiobooks, as they have ones online that I can download through the Overdrive app.  Check with your local library.  Libraries will also have books on CD to check out as well.  Using the Overdrive app on my iPhone, I find it extremely easy to search for what I want, put a hold on anything not available and download content to listen to.  My library allows you to have items “checked out” for 21 days.  The best part of the Overdrive app?  You can never have late fees.  Downloading ebooks and audiobooks through the app insures they are returned on time, every time which is a big plus for this busy momma.
  2. Get a massage. I have this Vibrating Seat Cushion Massager.  I used an Amazon gift-card my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday to purchase this.  It’s another thing that I consider “multitasking” while driving.  Have you had a stressful long day and now you have to sit in traffic?  Use one of these to get a massage on the way home.  Now, I’m not going to say this thing is the bees knees amazing, it’s not.  It doesn’t come close to a real massage from a massage therapist, but for what you’re doing… getting a massage while driving, it’s great!
  3. Learn a language. Get either a CD or an app and listen away while you drive.  Pat yourself on the back for being a smartie pants and taking the initiative to improve yourself.  Getting really good at your new language?  Slap that skill on your resume the next time your on the hunt for a new job.  Win.
  4. Call a friend and chat.  Doing this handsfree is the best and chances are that your friend or family member is probably driving home at the same time you are.  Make a weekly or monthly commitment to check in with friends that you don’t keep in contact with as much as you’d like.
  5. Listen to a TED Talk.  Download an episode on a podcast app or find one online to listen to.  These can range from inspiring to educational to entertaining.  Please take a couple minutes to find one before you get behind the wheel.In what other ways do you utilize the time you have in the car?  Do you mind the amount of time you spend driving?  How else have you found to be “productive” safely?
  6. Eat. Grab an apple for breakfast and eat it on the way in.  Pack some fresh fruit and veggies or a sandwich and eat dinner on your way home.  Check out my article discussing Food for your Drive.

Up tomorrow: essential products to keep in the car for the daily commute.

Like this article? Check out more commuter hacks here:
Day 2: Commuter Hacks: Essential Products to keep in your Car
Day 3: Commuter Hacks: Food for your Drive
Day 4: Commuter Hacks: Winter Emergency Car Kit

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