More than 3 million of us are spending two or more hours on the daily commute – that’s almost three-quarters (72%) as many as this time ten years ago, according to research from the Trade Unions Congress (TUC).
And the number of commuters travelling a mind-numbing three or more hours a day has risen by three-quarters (75%) from 500,000 to 800,000 over the same period.
That’s a lot of time to kill before the working day even starts – so unless you plan on always using the commute to catch up on some much-needed sleep, here’s how to make the most of your commute…
Do some reading
Either take that tattered old paperback on the train with you or have an entire library at your fingertips with smartphone apps like iBooks or Amazon Kindle.
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to get stuck into a good book, download Feedly to make sure you don’t miss any posts from your favourite sites or blogs, or use Instapaper to email daily reading lists to your Kindle.
If you take the car or bike to work, use Listigo to turn any text into a natural sounding audiobook.
Whichever you choose, make sure you download your content for offline reading in case there’s no connection on your commute.
Do a new language
If you’ve got a spare half hour to fill, why not put it to really good use and learn another language – there are loads of audiobooks, CDs and apps to choose from, such as Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.
It could be time really well spent if it opens up more career opportunities.
Do some brain training
Take your Nintendo Wii with you to play some brain-training games, and sharpen yourself for the day ahead, or listen to the thousands of podcasts or online tutorials available to keep on top of the latest news and advances in your industry.
Do some work
If you get to work on public transport, get a head start on your day by checking emails, clearing you inbox or do more complex tasks from your desktop using remote access software like GoToMyPC, LogMeIn or Microsoft Remote Desktop.
You could even get an early morning meeting done before you get to the office by scheduling a conference call.
Do nothing at all
If your working day is long and taxing enough, you may want to use your commute to clear your head at the start and end of the day – and doing nothing is absolutely fine if that works for you.
And this time to collect your thoughts could be exactly when your inspired with some of your best ideas – so turn the phone off, take the headphones out and see where your mind takes you.
Just don’t forget to get off the bus or train at your stop.