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If you’re starting a business while working full-time, making your commute more productive is key.

A recent study showed that average commute times continue to rise: New York’s commute times are highest at 6 hours and 18 minutes a week, Chicago at 5 hours and 15 minutes, and Seattle at 4 hours and 6 minutes. Additionally, the Atlantic reports that the average American worker commutes 49 hours a year. Yikes!

What could you do with 4 extra hours of learning a day? Our guess is that you could learn quite a bit of skill and tools to benefit your happiness and your business. From listening to entrepreneur podcasts, listening to audiobooks (or reading books if you take a bus or train!), there are simple ways to learn skills and tools during downtime. Whether you bike, walk, bus it, or drive, here are our 5 ideas to make your commute more productive.

1) Listen to entrepreneurial podcasts

Listening to podcasts is probably one of the best ways to use up your time during your commute. Whether you drive, take the train or the bus, listening to podcasts is a great way to learn something new. What I love most about podcasts is that it doesn’t require much other than listening, which is great for those who need to actually pay attention to driving.

Here are a few of our favorite entrepreneurial podcasts:

Smart Passive Income Podcast: Pat is well known in the online entrepreneur community as probably the nicest guy ever. Pat currently earns 100% of his income through online entrepreneurship, niche sites, and other passive income strategies that he shares on the podcast. If you want to know anything about online marketing, blogging, passive income, and social media, Pat is one of our faves and will surely teach you a lot.

The Independent by Regina: Regina covers everything for getting started in online entrepreneurship and marketing. With a fun, fresh vibe, Regina helps everyone from coaches, freelancers, and bloggers do awesome things online.

Being Boss is a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. Hosted by Kathleen Shannon of Braid Creative and Emily Thompson of Indie Shopography.

Michael Hyatt’s This Is Your Life Podcast: Michael Hyatt is well-known and loved for his smart leadership advice. With a heart for helping people who are committed to winning at work and succeeding in life, there’s no doubt you can learn both strategies and tips for both.

Social Triggers with Derek Halpern: If you want to know more about the psychology behind getting more customers, pricing your product profitably (and entice people to buy them), Derek is a good resource for that.

The Introvert Entrepreneur: Everything you could ever want to know about being an introvert while also running your own business, or you mostly work with introverts.

The Suitcase Entrepreneur: Natalie Sisson focuses on creating freedom in business and adventure in life. With advice on online entrepreneurship, blogging, and location independence, you’re bound to learn something new here.

The Tim Ferriss Podcast: Tim is known for trying just about anything so you don’t have to. As the #1 business podcast, Tim chats with world-class performers and deconstructs what they do in simple tools you can use.

For more, check out our list of 18 best entrepreneur blogs and podcasts.

2) Enroll in online learning courses

We wrote about our love for Skillshare on the blog a few months ago. Now, Skillshare has a mobile app that helps you take any classes you’re enrolled in on the go with you. Other online learning hubs, like Udemy, allow for you to learn on any device at any time.

3) Listen to audiobooks and read books

Similar to listening to podcasts, listening to audiobooks is an effective way to consume books without much effort and in less time. Use Audible.com to access a massive library of audiobooks for $14.95 a month. Browse their Business category for ideas on your next book.

If you commute by train, bus, boat, or plane, read books instead. You’d be surprised how quick a commute goes by when you’re learning something new. Read our latest reviews on Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. You can also read up on our top 10 must-read entrepreneur books.

4) Learn a new language for free

Consider learning a new language during your commute. Consider brushing up on your Spanish or French skills if you plan to travel (or move!) to new places. If you want to expand your business to new regions, sometimes it benefits you to learn the language, too. Plus, learning a new language can simply be fun!

Bulk up your iTunes library with these free language podcasts. Duolingo is another free favorite and can be downloaded directly to your phone.

5) Record your new ideas

Do you get some of your best ideas while you’re driving to work? Instead of listening to music in the car, switch on your audio recorder on your phone. Like writing a stream of consciousness, you’d be surprised at how many good ideas stumble out when you’re alone.

With an average commute being around 4-6 hours per week, think about all the new things you can learn. With most podcasts being an hour, you could easily listen to 4-6 podcasts, all with different themes, per week. Audiobooks are a bit longer, but you could still probably listen to one book a week. How are you going to make your commute more productive?

Are there any podcasts or favorite books you’d add to the list? What’s your favorite way to fill up your commute? Leave us a comment below.

About the author

Kristen Runvik

Kristen Runvik

Content strategist and holistic herbalist with experience in collaborative content creation and strategy implementation, multidimensional and highly creative content development, ecommerce growth, and medicinal plant, flower, and herb expertise.

Kristen is also the Founder of Lagom Body Co., a multidimensional skincare and lifestyle brand.