Three things to do on your commute other than scroll social media

Moving Well | Lucy Cleeve | Posted on 29 July 2019

How to make the time you spend travelling to work more productive.

Unless you’re working from home – in your pyjamas, you lucky thing – you are most likely travelling more than an hour each day for work or study if you live in Melbourne. Just one hour of commute time every weekday adds up to a staggering 250 hours a year. Many of us spend that precious time mindlessly scrolling through other people’s Facebook holiday snaps. But whether your daily commute involves a train, tram, bike, bus, car or old-fashioned legs, we have some ideas on how you can use your time more wisely.

A young woman in a denim shirt is standing near a train wearing headphones

Plug in on your commute to test your brain, learn a new language, listen to a bestseller or get happy.


Learn more

Become an expert – or at least sound like one – with Blinkist, an app that summarises thousands of non-fiction books covering areas like leadership and psychology. You get useful 15-minute takeaways that you can read or listen to.

Learn a new language on the go with app Duolingo, which offers bite-sized lessons any time, anywhere. With training in 24 languages from Vietnamese to Swahili, the app regularly tests your new knowledge and may even spark the idea for your next big holiday.

Get high-IQ society Mensa to give your brain a workout with its innovative Brain Training app. Covering memory, concentration, agility, perception and reasoning, you are scored as you play and given your global percentile for each area.

Each weekday, hear from leading world experts and get inspired with TED Talks Daily. Covering a huge range of topics from health to wealth, class to creativity, these short 15-minute-ish chunks are well worth your listening time.

Feel better

Learn the basics of meditation with the award-winning “designed for sceptics” app 10 Percent Happier. The app contains videos, guided meditations and practical advice on being mindful, and was created by Dan Harris, author of the bestselling book of the same name.

Aussie podcast Crappy to Happy is hosted by clinical psychologist Cass Dunn. She chats with inspiring guests and offers practical advice to help boost mood, motivation, energy and confidence.

Pop on your headphones and drift away to your own perfect world, enjoying the soothing catalogue of sounds on relaxation app Calm. Hear the crash of ocean waves, a purring cat or a crackling campfire – or relax with the app’s guided breathing exercises.

Escape from reality

Listen anywhere, any time to the latest book bestsellers with Audible, often narrated by the famed authors themselves, including Stephen Fry and Michelle Obama. The more than 300,000 downloadable titles should get you through a lifetime of commutes.

There’s no shortage of entertaining podcasts vying for our attention. But so far in 2019, the most downloaded Australian podcast has been ABC Radio Conversations hosted by Richard Fidler and Sarah Kanowski. Each episode delves deep into the lives of incredible Australians with even more incredible stories. Real-crime podcasts by Aussie newspapers also dominate the hot lists for 2019. Be totally engrossed in The Australian’s tale of a serial conman, Who the Hell is Hamish? And Melburnians shouldn’t miss The Age’s Phoebe’s Fall, a baffling case of young woman’s death at a luxury St Kilda Rd apartment.