5 Easy Ways to have a Super Productive Commute to School

Charlotte Bailey, Founder of Typically Topical, Study Skills Expert, Top 2% Student.

June 2019

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Commuting time is often a heavily overlooked resource for busy students.  I get it, you’re most likely tired, and don’t even want to think about doing anything productive – but the truth is, this is some of your most precious time to actually get stuff done. 

This post shows you how to turn your mundane commute to school into an intelligent learning resource.

5 Easy Ways to have a Productive Commute to School as a Busy Student

Common Myths about Studying ‘on-the-go’ Exposed

1) You have to study at all times and can’t just play games on your commute

Nope. Not true at all. I’m a huge fan of studying smart, not hard. If I can cut down on time spent glossing over books and notes – I will.

I recommend only studying on one commute (the one where you have the most energy – I’ll explain later in the post).

Feel free to play games or just relax during the other one. P.s. playing games actually have a huge benefit on the little grey cells in the brain.

2) It’s not possible to study whilst I walk to school or catch the bus

*Cue red buzzer sound*. If you’re prepared, studying during a commute is surprisingly easy (and no, you don’t have to carry masses of paper or folders with you). Following some of my hacks below will turn you into a super productive commuter in no time. 

I recommend only studying on one commute (the one where you have the most energy – I’ll explain later in the post).

Picking the best commute time to get things done

As I said above, you don’t need to study during both commutes. Pick the commute where you have the most energy readily available based on your natural circadian rhythm. 

Bear with me as this gets a little more science and technical focused…a Circadian Rhythm is basically just a biological process your body goes through (mentally, physically and behaviourally) every 24 hours in response to light and dark. 

This is most likely why you might be an ‘early bird’ or a ‘night owl’.

Your circadian rhythm determines your highs and lows of your ability to focus and concentrate at any given time. If you are an early bird, you’re probably going to be most productive during your morning commute.

Find when you focus best, and use the best commute time (either morning or evening) to get stuff done.

As you become more used to working during your commute, you will be able to cut down how much time you spend working after classes too.

1) Turn your notes into a study podcast

A great way to study on the go without carrying a TON of books is to create your own personal study podcast. 

Simply record your notes onto your phone or ipod and listen whilst walking to school or catching the bus. 

This is a great way to study especially if you’re an auditory learner.

2) Plan your day

Planning your day is one of the best ways to save time in the long run, as long as you plan your tasks the ‘intelligent’ way. 

If you have a to-do list full of assignments, essays, homework, exam prep, try adding an estimated time stamp next to each task. 

For example, Plan Essay Outline 30 minutes

Download a timer on your phone, and try to keep to these times as close as possible. This will stop you from spending hours on each task.

3) Practice Spaced Repetition and test yourself on subject material

Spaced repetition is an awesome study technique, which actually doesn’t feel like a study technique. It’s that good.

Have loads of vocabulary, definitions and case studies to revise? Need an alternative way to practice test questions? Download ‘AnkiApp Flashcards’ (App store) or Anki (website), and create a deck of cards for each subject.

You can use these to test yourself, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. If you get the question right, you will see the question less frequently.

If you get the question wrong, you will see the question more often. 

4)  Plan essays, complete reading assignments, practice questions etc that you really hate doing

Simple, but effective. If you’re within a confined space during your commute, you’re far less likely to get distracted, especially if you don’t have access to wi-fi. Use this time to complete any reading assignments, essays, 

5) Clear out your emails

Have loads of emails? Haven’t got round to replying to them? Use your commute to school to bulk reply and clear out your inbox. Most emails won’t need much thought to reply. Quick and easy.

If you found this guide useful, please feel free to share it!

Over to you

And…there you have it, 5 easy ways to have a productive commute to school as a busy student.

Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next.

Go get those grades, Charlotte x