Five Things You Can Do To Ease Commuting Hell

Five Things You Can Do To Ease Commuting Hell
Image: Getty Images

Sure, it’s a public holiday for much of the country but tomorrow. you’ll go back to work and probably have to spend a good chunk of your working day just getting to and from work. Commuting times are up as public transport systems get more congested, traffic on the roads its worse and people live further from central business districts in order to find affordable real estate. So, what can you do to fill in the time?

A report in the weekend papers discussed the rise of the mega-commuter – someone that spends several hours of each day, simply getting and from the office. There are plenty of cases of people choosing to live further away from the office in order to afford a home, but they pay for it by spending upwards of three hours travelling each way. And, even for those who live relatively close to a major city, traffic means short commute of less than 20km can take upwards of an hour.

So what can you do?

#1 Read

There are so many great books out there that it’s easy to fill the time in with something that can entertain or educate. When I was commuting, I found a good book made the time pass really quickly. If you’re driving, audio books are just as good as the written word.

#2 Listen to podcasts

Podcasts can entertain or educate, letting you escape and relax. And you don’t, usually, have to put up with inane radio personalities and lots of ads.

#3 Work

OK – so you’re on your way to work but by clearing your inbox and doing any reading you need for meetings or other activities, you can attack your office time well prepared which should make you more efficient and, therefore, mean you can potentially get out at the other end of your day faster.

A few friends of mine negotiated shorter in-office hours in exchange for ensuring they used their commute time wisely.

#4 Professional development

There are hundreds of online course and many universities offer correspondence courses. Rather than nodding off on the train, you can add to your skills and, perhaps, find a job closer to home or embrace a life of self-employment.

#5 Catch up on your TV viewing

As well as being able to purchase almost any TV show you like, Netflix and other streaming services let you download episodes of shows for offline viewing. Even if your data connection is limited, you can pull down the latest series of your favourite show and watch an episode or two while sitting on the train.

What do you do to kill time on your commute?


  • What do you do to kill time on your commute?*Glare at other commuters listening to music so loud they may as well not bother wearing headphones at all.
    *Glare at other commuters with massive bags and backpacks that manage to simultaneously take up the room of another person and yet somehow be blissfully non-existent to its owner.
    *Glare at other passengers that stand smack in the middle of the aisle at the end closest to the door, blocking off standing room for an extra 10 people per carriage, and forcing more strangers to stand closer together than would be legal anywhere else.
    *Glare at other passengers who smoke on the platform just before the train arrives and then breathe all over everyone. This sometimes applies to people with smelly food too.
    *Glare at other passengers.

  • I normally podcast, but recently I’ve been mobile gaming on the way to work. Several times it feels like minutes have gone by, then I suddenly realise I’m at my stop.

  • I observe the habits of my fellow sardine tin commuters. From clipping their nails on the train and leaving the clippings on the floor, to scratching their dandruff out of their head, to the old favourite of mining for gold up the nostrils, to loudly talking in the quiet carriage and telling others to mind their own business when they’re chipped on it, to customers of size wedging one against the wall in a seat, I’ll never board PT without hand sanitizer again.

  • Podcasts and Youtube / streaming services are my saving grace. i commute about 3 hours+ a day so i dont know what i would do without them.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!