According to a recent Gallup survey, there’s been a steep decline over the past decade in the number of daily commuters driving themselves to work. With more people turning to alternatives like ride shares and ever-increasing mass transit options, your smartphone has gone from merely dependable to totally indispensable. Here’s how your devices can help make the most of your commute, from learning a new language to simply taking in the world around you
1. Stay updated on current events
News happens every day, at every moment – and your commute is the perfect time to get informed. Want to scroll your way down the rail line? Get news highlights on social media or furiously attack a feed. Rather rest your eyes? Pop on a newsy podcast or dial up your favorite radio station app.
2. Catch up with a friend
Haven’t been great about keeping up with certain pals? Use your commute to place a catch-up call, chat with them through text, or even send them a quick email to just let them know you’re thinking about them – research shows it will make you both happier.
3. Binge a book
So many of us complain that we can never find time to read, neglecting the fact that we have a veritable library in the palm of our hands – and even a literal one: Many local libraries these days offer e-books for lending, and of course there are a million and one ways to purchase a book for download, including tons of titles available as audiobooks. (Need somewhere to start? Check these next-level executive “Summer Binge” lists.)
4. Create a to-do list
Organize your day (and night) as you commute. What are your priorities? What can wait? This will help you evaluate your daily goals, putting you in the right mindset to tackle your tasks with more efficiency. Use your smartphone’s voice memo or notes apps, or one of the many specific to-list apps available for download.
5. Learn a new language
The benefits to learning a new language are many: an improved memory, stronger networking skills, enhanced multi-tasking abilities and more. Download a language app and teach yourself French, Spanish, Japanese, or whatever language sparks joy during your commute. Besides improving your cognitive skills, you’ll be ordering foods flawlessly in a new foreign tongue on your next vacation.
6. Do simple exercises
Sorry, lazybones, but not having the time is no longer a valid excuse for not working out. Whether it be tightening your abs or doing seated twists, take advantage of your commute time and incorporate easy exercises into your daily routine — YouTube has lots of inspo. You’ll get the blood flowing, relieve muscle tension and feel more energized.
7. Take a breather
Simply take more time for yourself. Destress, let your mind wander and self-reflect. Take advantage of the Zen-inducing resources available on your smartphone … or take time to do nothing but gaze out the window. The world is a beautiful place, and you’re right in the middle of it. If inspiration strikes you, maybe even snap a FOMO-inducing photo!
Want to see how other professionals make the most of their devices? Check out Mobile Diaries: My Phone Is All I Need To Do My Job