SURVEY SAYS: How You Spend Your Commute

Commuting from work can range from a few minutes to a few hours, and can include driving, riding, biking or walking. Whatever your commute is like, you are likely doing something else during that time.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “How do you spend your time on your commute to work?”

But first, I asked how much time respondents had to spend on their commute to work. Three percent said they telecommute, 1% said the time varies, and 10% spend less than 15 minutes commuting. Thirty percent commute between 15 and 30 minutes, 39% indicated their commute is 30 minutes to an hour, and for 15%, it is between an hour and two hours. One percent commute for two hours or more.                

As for what responding readers do during their commute (they could choose more than one activity), the greatest percentage (48%) indicated they listen to music. More than one-third each listen to news or talk shows (36.7%) or just think (33.7%). Only 16.3% said they just drive, ride or walk.

Sixteen percent listen to a book, 14.3% read, and 8.2% work while commuting. Six percent each talk to children, spouse, and fellow commuters; sleep; or catch up on social media, personal emails. Four percent each do a crossword, word search, Sudoku or other game; eat; or catch up on personal calls and making appointments. One percent put on makeup.

Aside from talking to or cursing other drivers for not paying attention, “other” responses included:

Mentally brainstorm on tackling outstanding items on my desk on my way to work. Brainstorm on home tasks and to do lists on my way home.

Make calls for the volunteer work I do (fostering dogs for adoption, so call potential adopters, references, etc.)


Listen to the sound of silence. 🙂

embroider, knit

Work on another language using Rosetta Stone on a netbook

pick up the house, empty the dishwasher, etc.

Watch out for White-tailed deer! It is a beautiful drive anywhere in and around Duluth MN, on the shores of Lake Superior, but no one likes to hit a suicidal deer:)

two days a week i drop my dog at day care

Little else to do when driving 11 miles in almost an hour.

Busy working moms like me get little time to ourselves... I'm thankful every day for the peace and quiet on my bus ride.

I have a 20 minute walk in a major city, and stopped using my headphones as a safety measure. My walk is when I try to solve work problems, and dream of retirement!

Since I telecommute, I spend that extra time walking the dogs in the morning and planning the rest of my day. It allows me to start the day with a relaxed attitude and good game plan

I take a ferry to work. On the way I practice on a language skills app, duolingo.

My commute is 19 seconds (I work from home). I grab my cup of tea in the kitchen and head upstairs to my office. My commute could be shorter if I didn't have to worry about spilling my tea.

Practice my spanish listening to CNN en espanñol

Listen to Audible - I'm taking Great Courses on various world wars this month.

Semi Meditate, pay attention to breath

In verbatim comments, respondents mostly expanded on what they like to do on their commutes. There is no Editor’s Choice this week.

A big thanks to all who participated in our survey!


Listen to National Public Radio broadcast on my local Minnesota Public Radio station.

Listening to NPR, and swearing under my breath at all the other drivers.

On the days I drive it, it's listening to music or -- rarely -- calling people. In a former assignment, I used the time on the train to go through all five levels of Rosetta Stone's German languages. Und jetzt, ich spreche ein bißchen Deutsch!

Usually talking on the phone or just listening to music to settle my nerves.

Shaking my head and judging other drivers.

When I walk to work, I look around and enjoy nature, the sounds, the smells and the view. When I arrive at the office I feel peaceful and the warm/fuzzy part of me comes out, at least for a few minutes. When I drive to work, I have time for only 1 or 2 songs so I crank my music up and listen to songs like Pretty Woman, California Dreaming, Anything by the Eagles and TSO. When I get to work I have a skip in my stride and music playing in my head. I feel like I can accomplish anything to include being warm and fuzzy.

Driving. Takes about 5 minutes from home.

I use the time to call my dad (hands free Bluetooth) or my sister (and others). They know I'm on my way to work or home, so there is a "timed" end to the conversation, and keeps the rest of my evening free!

I solve all kinds of problems, home and office, during my commute! 🙂

I listen to a Boston sports radio podcast.

Verbatim (cont.) 

Preparing for any morning meeting or any planned event in the evening

I have a hands free headset to make my calls more safely.

My long commute is my only quiet, alone time, so it's not a complete waste. But, when the weather is bad, or there's a traffic issue, it's very stressful.

The best part of my commute is listening to my book on CD!

Having a 60 mile commute in metro NY/NJ each way gives me lots of opportunities to work on my defensive driving skills and perfect my profanities! When not dodging crazy drivers, I try to catch up with friends and family that I don't have time to see because of my commute 🙂

Love taking the bus. It gives me time to transition (no stress from driving) so I'm ready for my personal life to begin fresh when I get home.

I focus only on driving and watching out for all the distracted drivers doing the things on this list. Just yesterday I watched a woman drive right through a red traffic light at a busy intersection, crossing 4 lanes of oncoming traffic as she was in a conversation with her passenger. Life is too short to cause an accident or kill someone because you choose not to pay attention.

I survive an hour driving to work and back each day by listening to books on CD. Sometimes I have to roll the windows up---you know when the rated R parts are playing!!!

I bike to work, and except for the occasional glance at the beautiful downtown skyline or interesting passerby, my attention is 100% focused on the road. For my safety, I hope that's the case for everyone else!


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.