6 ways to stay productive on the go

I am not a fan of public transit.

Commuting seems like the most unproductive use of time — and if you’ve ever tried to study on the bus or the subway, you probably know how difficult it can be. Distractions are everywhere: bumpy roads make for disastrous handwriting, and there’s never enough room to work. But the dreaded commute is inevitable for many of us students, whether it’s to school, a volunteer shift, a sports practice, or otherwise. This week, I’ve gathered some tips to make better use of your time on the go.

1. Use audio.

Reading on the bus can cause dizziness, so listening to study material is helpful.

  • Download the audio of books and/or textbooks you’re studying.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare and Open Yale Courses provide free audio and video lectures on university level material in various subjects.

  • Record yourself reading your notes and explaining concepts.

  • If you’re learning a language, listen to podcasts or songs in that language.

  • Block out distractions with a study playlist (read How to Make the Perfect Study Playlist(s)) or some white noise (we recommend Coffitivity).

2. Make your workspace portable.

  • Use a clipboard to organize and carry around loose papers.

  • Only keep the essentials in your pencil case.

  • Use mobile devices, such as a phone or tablet. That way, you can review various documents or use study apps.

3. Use flashcards.

They’re easy to carry in your pocket and save time when memorizing information.

  • You can use index cards and keep them together with a binder clip or keychain ring.

  • There are also apps, like Quizlet, that easily create digital flashcards.

4. Make summary sheets.

  • Instead of hauling out notebooks and binders, summarize key notes for a unit or topic on one sheet of paper. You’ll be able to see important concepts right away and study with less clutter.

5. Plan ahead.

  • Use commute time to go over tasks you need to complete for the day, week, or month. Do you have any big assignments coming up? Chores you need to do? How will you prioritize your tasks?

6. Explain concepts to someone else.

  • If travelling with family, friends, or classmates, ask them if you can explain study concepts to them. It might be a little awkward at first, but having to re-teach information to others helps you understand it better. Plus, you’ll be exercising your social skills!

When life gives you long, stressful commutes, turn them into study sessions.


Bon voyage,


Hannah Nie2 Comments