You might have more spare time than you think. Work life can be hectic, and family life has a way of eating up much of our evenings and weekends. But there’s one aspect of our daily lives that many of us don’t always put to the most effective use: our commutes. It’s tempting to spend this time on social media, or buried in a gripping page-turner, but even relatively short commutes can leave you with a lot of time to get things done.
This is one of the key findings of recent research by ethical car recycling company Scrap Car Network – whose analysts have also identified plenty of constructive ways for commuters to pass this time.
According to research, the average worker spends 58 minutes every day travelling. Now, there are 261 working days in any given year. Once we apply a 28-day reduction for statutory holidays, that leaves 233 days. Armed with this information, Scrap Car Network analysts have done the maths: that works out to about 225 extra hours every year, or nine uninterrupted days for the average commuter to spend as they please.
Now obviously that’s likely to be less for self employed people, because they’re more likely to work from home. But there’s still travel time when you work for yourself and it’s amazing what you can get done in that time.
And there’s a whole lot of time to work with, and it means that even the biggest and most long-term goals can be broken down into easily manageable chunks, giving you the freedom and flexibility to achieve some truly incredible things.
There’s an almost endless list of possible achievements to set yourself, but Scrap Car Network’s research identifies a few in particular, which have been proven to be already popular amongst Britain’s commuters. For example, you can learn to code with a Python training course available on LinkedIn, which only takes about 4 hours to complete. Or you can become a qualified first aider, with a Red Cross course that only takes 2 hours and ten minutes. Of course, if you’d like you can do both!
That’s far from everything though. You can get even more ambitious by reading the entire undergraduate reading list for a Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree at Oxford University – but if the idea of reading books doesn’t appeal, you could always write your own. If you commit to writing just 350 words every working day – for most rail commuters, that’s an hour each way to write 175 words – then in the course of just one year, you’ll have written over 80,000 words. That’s a full length novel manuscript!
Learning a language is also an excellent use of commuting time, and in fact Scrap Car Network’s researchers found it to be one of the most popular pursuits for British commuters. The reasons why are fairly self-evident; regular practice is the key to learning any skill, and what better time to practice than in the otherwise ‘dead’ time just before or after work? The study notes that all four seasons of the Duolingo Spanish educational podcasts last 638 minutes; equal to ten hours and thirty minutes, or just 11 days of commuting time. In other words, before two weeks are out, you can make some serious progress on learning a language.
You may have already noticed that most of the individual tasks we’ve outlined above hardly make a dent in the available commuting time, which means that you can even choose to get several done at once. Before another year is out, you could be a Spanish-speaking, exceptionally tech-literate, qualified first aider, or have your first manuscript ready to send to a publisher – or all of the above. Set your sights high, and who knows what you could achieve?