How to be Productive on the T

There’s no denying that as college students, we are incredibly busy. Even if you live on-campus, you may often find yourself on public transportation to do off-campus assignments or run errands. Instead of wasting those precious minutes of travel, here are some ways to be productive on your commutes:

Listen to podcasts

Podcasts are by far my favorite way to pass time on the T. Whether I’m keeping up with the news or listening to conversations with modern female entrepreneurs, podcasts keep my mind going and keep me in the loop. Rather than playing Lorde’s "Melodrama" album on repeat (which I am totally compelled to do), listening to podcasts is a more engaging use of those extra minutes. My favorites are Up First, Unladylike and Freakonomics.  

Check your email

I check my email at least three times an hour when I’m not in class. Despite this, I still I have 11,000 emails across my four accounts. It makes sense to take that extra time to go through your inbox, delete a few emails and respond to the important ones.

*Pro tip- Log into all of your email accounts in the iPhone Mail app on your phone, so you don’t have to check each of them individually.

Go over your schedule

Since starting school, using my phone’s calendar has been a lifesaver for me. From classes, to events and even lunch with friends, literally everything I have going on goes into my calendar app. It only takes a few minutes to review your calendar and add any events you may have forgotten. A little organization goes a long way.

Take notes

While it’s a little impractical to pull out a laptop on the subway, there’s nothing stopping you from catching up on some good old-fashioned note taking. Pull out your textbook and a notebook (I prefer Muji’s because they’re smaller!) and get to work.


Get your brain going on that mundane ride home! There’s so much you can do with just you and your thoughts. Reflect on your day and recent experiences for creative ideas for your next project. Figure out what you want to write your essay on for class. Come up with places you want to explore in your free time. The possibilities are endless!

Catch up with the fam

If your family hasn’t heard from you in a while, your commute is the perfect time to return their calls and texts. Reach out to some friends from back home that you just haven’t found time to keep up with. It takes mental effort to turn an “I’ll text you” into reality, but it’s rewarding to reconnect with old friends in your spare time.

Just relax!

Amid busy days of running around from class to class, sometimes you just need to relax! Nothing productive can happen if you don’t take care of you first. Turn on your favorite jams, put in your earbuds and chill out before your next destination. Trust me, you deserve it.