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These apps will help you reclaim dead time on your daily commute

Aussies spend an average of 95 minutes commuting every day. For the nation as a whole, that’s a staggering 1.8 billion minutes.

That’s a lot of time spent stuck in traffic, crammed in trains and sweating it out on buses.

The stats come from research commissioned by Virgin Mobile as part of its partnership with Smiling Mind, a not-for-profit organisation focused on making meditation accessible to all Australians.

The most frightening element of the findings is not how much time we spend commuting, but how we use it:

  • 73% zone out on our phones
  • 55% stream music
  • 53% scroll social feeds
  • 53% catch up on the news

Zoning out and scrolling social feeds? An utter of time. One could argue catching up on the news or streaming music is not so bad, but the thing is, more than two thirds (68%) of Aussie commuters reckon the whole experience would be less stressful if they didn’t have their phone with them.

Even still, commuters are still getting annoyed by loud and annoying people (59%), worrying about being late (50%) and getting fed up with a lack of personal space (34%).

With these stats in mind, how can your phone be used to make your commute less stressful?


Virgin Mobile and Smiling Mind teamed up to create The Daily Commute, a program available through the Smiling Mind mobile app. The program features four distinct activities designed to make your daily commute a calming, serene way to ease into the day.

‘Taking Public transport’, ‘Taking Flight’ and ‘Walking Mindfully’ are all guided meditations within the program, while ‘Mindful Mindset’ is designed to help drivers start the day in the right headspace.

Brain training

Can’t remember what you had for breakfast or what you did last week? Brain training is a great way to keep your memory sharp. Fit Brains, Peak and Elevate are just a few examples of great brain training apps that keep you on your toes – they’re also pretty fun!

Health and fitness

No, we’re not about to suggest doing sit-ups in between seats on the train. Apps like MyFitnessPal help you log your morning workout and monitor food intake, while the F45 Challenge is a great app for drafting shopping lists, planning meals and tracking daily progress.

Learn a language

Bonjour, arigatou and adjö! Why not learn a language instead of wasting time? Busuu is great for testing your volabulary and grammar skills, while Memrise uses some pretty handy memory tricks to help you learn new words and phrases.

Keep a journal

Not enough people keep a journal. You don’t have to be a great writer, or even a remotely good one – plus, you don’t have to look at it ever again if you don’t want to.

Apps like Day One, Five Minute Journal and Journey all make it easy to keep a journal, a habit which encourages self-reflection. Journalling is also a great way to highlight your wins and learn from your mistakes.

About the author

Andrew is Techly’s Editor. Loves: weird gadgets and the Collingwood Football Club. Hates: olives and cardboard boxes.

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