According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute time for Americans is 25.4 minutes.[i] That’s almost five hours of time in the car each week.
One of the best ways to use your car time is to listen to podcasts. Wherever you live, you can always find some podcasts, even local podcasts that can connect you with your community. For example, here is a podcast from the Missouri State Historical Society.
Are you a St. Louis Cardinals fan? Here are a few podcast options brought to you right from Major League Baseball.
Are podcasts not your thing?
Try audiobooks. There are even free audiobook options you can use from the library here in St. Louis using a new service called Hoopla. Hoopla offers eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, television shows, and music albums to stream or download onto your device. There are materials available for all ages, even kids. All items are available for immediate check out, so there are no hold lists. This means no waiting around for your favorite materials. With your library card you receive ten Hoopla borrows per month.
I can't tell you how handy it is to access such great content with just a few taps of my phone. I have no doubth that audiobooks will help you become a better artist, leader, spouse, or parent. You can get the equivalent of a part-time college or grad school education without leaving your car.
I know it's really easy for most people get into their cars, crank up the radio and shut off their brains. But you can take advantage of this time to grow in your skills.
Even if you're not commuting in the traditional sense and you're working from home, there's no reason you can't listen to podcasts or audiobooks at home. You can listen while you wash the dishes, dust or even mow the yard. That's the great thing about audio content. You can always do something else whenever you're doing a repetitive task.
Now I have to be completely honest with you: I don’t listen to audio training every moment I’m in the car. I will often listen to a podcast on the way to work, and then listen to music on the way home. I don’t really have a set routine. But on a typical week I listen to several hours’ worth of personal growth material. I also often use my exercise time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. Both make the time just fly by and I get to learn and grow as I get in a workout.
I know how it is easy to feel overwhelmed by your commitments as far as your life goes. But it’s up to you to take control of your schedule. When you find some spare moments to use your commute or even the times you have margin in your life, you can learn more. You can do more. Learning isn't about grades: it's a lifestyle. It's a mindset of learning something new every single day. And believe me, it adds up over time.
You can start and stop audiobooks and podcasts as often as you'd like. In the mood for something else? Find something new to listen to! There are no rules, other than to just keep learning something new.
Questions For You
Do you have a daily commute, and if so, how long is it? What are some things you could do during your commute to help you stay productive?
If you're working from home, what do you do to keep learning?
[i] “Average Commute Times,” WNYC, accessed March 24, 2015, http://project.wnyc.org/commute-times-us/embed.html#5.00/