5 Productive things geeks (or anyone) can do while commuting

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A lot of people see a long commute as something negative, I think it is an opportunity to learn, to read, to write and why not, to write some code as well. It might not be ideal to have a long commute, but it doesn’t have to be bad either.

Most of the times I am the one driving during my commute to work. However, I find this time enjoyable because this is the time I use to think about solutions to a business or software problem I might be having or to listen to one of my favorite podcasts.

If I am lucky enough and my commute consists of riding the train, bus or someone else’s car, then I use this time to do some coding, read email, read a blog post or two, write comments, start a new blog post, read a book, etc… the list is very long. There are many things to do!

The key for a good and productive commute is preparation. It is essential that you prepare yourself with the best material for your commute. For example, you might want to download new episodes of your favorite podcast or music to your iPod or your smartphone, download that new book you have been wanting to read to your kindle or iPad, etc.

Smartphones have made tasks such as reading email so much easier, you can even write a short email or even a blog post from your phone now! However, if you have been under a rock all this time and are one of the few people without a smartphone, you can still read your email using your laptop, even if you use Gmail, you can use the “offline email” feature and all of your Gmail messages will be downloaded to your laptop. Prepare yourself, if you don’t, then your commute is not going to be as enjoyable or productive.

The above also applies for long train trips and airplanes. It means that you will have to carry a few of your gadgets, but you’ll be thankful you did when you are sitting there with nothing to do.

Here is the list of productive things that you can do while commuting or while in an airplane:

  1. Write

    It looks like more people are finding writing enjoyable again. It might not be with a pen and a paper but it still counts. There are many things you can write about, your favorite programming language, about your dog, a novel, anything, use your imagination! There are many free tools available like this or this that make it easier to start a new blog or maybe you just need a notepad to write about ideas and things to remember.

  2. Listen

    This is one of my favorites things to do, it can be combined with writing and learning. For example, I like to listening to this podcast and to this one. while I write code, it works! give it a try.

  3. Read

    There are so many books to read, so many magazines and blogs that have incredible content and it is all there, available, free in most cases. Don’t only read blogs like TechCrunch, Reddit or HackerNews, there are so many interesting books out there, interesting blogs and there is also StackOverflow which is great if you use your commute to find solutions to your programming, or other technical issues that you might have at any given moment.

  4. Think and learn

    Yes, this is a great time to just think and explore new ideas. Design a new software application, discover your untapped potential by thinking about doing and creating awesome things such as new software or hardware that will change the world. However, do not spend too much time thinking or you might end up just dreaming about things to do and not actually get anything done, be careful 😉
    You can also learn a new language, not a programming language but any language. You can get audiobooks and reading material that teach you almost anything.

  5. Start a business

    Online businesses are started every day. Even if you only have a few hours of free time every day, you can get a lot done by prioritizing your time.
    It’s easier said than done, I know, but it is possible, and there are people doing it. The only thing standing in your way is you.
    As Gary Vaynerchuck likes to say “Get Off The Bitch Train!”

Commuting can be fun and productive if you use this time to do things you like, many people do not take advantage of this and instead stress out and get bored with their commutes. The list above is basic and I also know that this type of advice is nothing new, I just hope this can help you or motivate you to start doing some of these things that will help you be more productive and have a commute more enjoyable.

What do you do during your commute? please share with us and join the conversation.