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It’s easy to think of commuting as a total waste of time. You spend hours in traffic, bumper to bumper, and not doing anything at all. Or perhaps standing at the bus stop or waiting at a red robot. Every minute that ticks by can seem like a minute lost from an already jam-packed day at university.

Commuting is never fun and when you add public transport to the mix, it can become even worse. Commuting between university and home can be a frustrating and inefficient experience. But it doesn’t have to be. Your daily commute, whether you get behind the wheel and drive or hop on a bus or train and wait, doesn’t have to be wasted time.

Of all the worry and anxiety you already have as a student, adding the stress of commuting to the list will just make it worse. There are many productive ways to make the most of your time while commuting. There’s good news for those of you who wish you could spend that time more productively. Here are a few ways to turn your worst part of the day into the best.

Improve your reading skills

As a university student, you should always have reading material. Reading is a classic commute activity. Whether you read a book or university coursework, it’s important to improve your reading skills. And if you’re always complaining about how little time you spend on reading, this is your chance to catch up. Make a habit of reading on a daily basis, whether it's actual books, newspapers or print magazines. As a commuter using public transport, you have no excuse not to read. Nowadays you can even read a book or magazine from your mobile phone. And if you’re driving, there are many audiobooks you can download. If the book is interesting, chances are you won’t even be bothered by traffic jams.

Listen to podcasts

If you’d rather not spend your time staring at a screen or book during your commute, then listening to a podcast can be a pleasant way to pass time. And as an added bonus, you can learn a lot of new information. Download podcasts dealing with the subjects that interest you. This is an easy way to always be up-to-date. Whether you have headphones on during your public transport ride or are driving in your car, that downtime is perfect for a podcast. Unlike the radio, with podcasts you don’t have to wait to hear something that interests you. You choose what you want to listen to. You’ll get wrapped up in what you’re listening to and arrive at your destination before you know it.

Start a lift club

Do you own a car? Find friends or classmates who live in your area and ask whether they need a lift to university and would like to start a lift club. Whenever you’re stuck in traffic, you’ll at least have someone to talk to. If you don’t own a car of your own yet, there are a lot of pre-owned cars available at affordable prices. You can have lots of fun and even make lifetime friends when starting a lift club. Pick a playlist that’s enjoyed by everyone in the car and sing along while stuck in traffic. You’ll also have another set of eyes on the road and someone to share the highlights of your day with.

Create your to-do list

Setting up a weekly to-do-list can save you from a headache and it might be just what you need to start each day off on the right foot. If you’re one of those people who like to be organised, spend time listing the things you need to accomplish for the day. Sitting on a bus or waiting for a delayed train is the perfect time to think about each task and how it can help you prioritise and set realistic expectations. It’s also the best time to review your to-do list. Make sure the important stuff is on the top and that you’re working on the right priorities. For the drivers, there are apps you can download to get your to-do list done on your phone. You can speak while the phone is recording and the text will appear on the screen.

Commuting to varsity on a daily basis doesn’t have to be stressful and tiring. Make it fun. In order for you to do that, you can start with these four ideas. Once you do these, you’ll be at varsity within minutes. Another advantage of commuting is it gives you time to relax. Take advantage of this and recharge your human battery.

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