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How I make my commutes more productive

Because I’ve chosen to buy an apartment outside of the city, I spend at least one hour commuting per day, even more if I decide to sleep a little more and have to make my trip to my workplace during the rush hour. In those cases the time I spend commuting multiplies. When you think about how much time you spend to get to your workplace and back home, you’ll find out that you may “waste” even 7-8 hours per week. I say that time is wasted, because I’m sitting in my car doing nothing. If I were going on foot or by bike, I’d say it’s useful, because I am also doing some exercise, but this way, I’m just wasting precious time every day.

You are very limited in what you can do while creeping ahead in the traffic, you must constantly keep your eyes on the road, so reading or surfing the net on your phone is out of the picture. During the first year I was listening to the radio, mostly music and the news, in which I wasn’t really interested. But later on I started listening to TED Talks. In a few months I’ve also installed a podcast player on my Android phone and didn’t have a wasted moment ever since.

I’d rather listen to podcasts about self improvement, tips on health/workout or personal finance than the daily news. It’s not that I’m not interested in the news, but it’s easier to open a site with the local news and read only the articles that I’m really interested in, thank listening to all the bullsh!t that’s going on in the World. This usually takes less than 10-15 minutes anyway and I can do it right after arriving to my workplace.

In the morning I enjoy mostly podcasts that boost my willpower, the ones that tell me that I must take action today. I feel like I’m doing a whole lot more doing those days, not even work related tasks, but also taking care about my personal issues that I’ve been postponing for months, like getting the roof fixed or getting the car to the service. It usually takes just a phone call and I have to leave the office during lunch time for half an hour, but I can be so miserably lazy sometimes that I’d just postpone simple tasks forever… In the afternoons though, I prefer health and workout related tips, since that is the period of the day that I work out or when I’m simply too lazy to go to the gym and instead I stay at home and waste some more time. It used to motivate me to get dressed and head to the gym. But sometimes when I wake up too grumpy, I prefer to listen to random podcasts, because it’s quite nice to hear about new ideas or things.

When it comes to podcast players for Android, I have two favorites, Player.fm (free) and Pocket Casts. I like Pocket Casts a little bit more because of the way I can manage the podcasts, like grouping them with the use of filters and such, but Player.fm supports continuous playback and has an online interface as well, which makes it very easy to find new podcasts and subscribe to them. Sometimes when I arrive to my destination faster that the podcast finishes, I’d rather continue listening to it on my computer than on my phone to save some battery juice. Player.fm would be perfect for this if the synchronization between the Android app and webapp wouldn’t be so miserable. Both applications allow you to add any new podcast channel that you could not find enlisted in the app.

I won’t list the podcasts I am listening to, you’ll very easily find the ones you are interested in. Moreover, based on which podcasts you listen sometimes you get suggestions for new ones in Player.fm. Both applications have huge list of categorized podcasts, so it’s quite easy to get started with making you commutes a whole lot more productive than staring at the back of the car in front of you.

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