What would you do with an extra nine days a year?

15th Jul, 2019

If you had an extra nine days every year, what would you do with the time? You could hike across Europe using the GR5 trekking route. You could even get from New York to San Francisco in a self-driving car.

Or, if you spread the time out evenly across the year, you could be a Spanish-speaking, first aid qualified, Google accredited coder ready to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University*.

How? Well, if you’re one of the many UK commuters who spends 58 minutes a day or more on the road (or rails), you might be surprised to learn that you may already have a spare nine days.

In fact, the average UK commuter already has more than enough time in a single year to get two professional accreditations from Google, complete a Red Cross online first aid course, learn to code to a basic level, listen to the entire Duolingo Spanish language podcast series and read every book on the Oxford University undergraduate reading list for a Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree at Balliol College.

And, according to research conducted by 27% of UK adults already use their commuting time for self-education, with audiobooks, online courses and language apps proving to be popular productive pastimes. Commuters aged between 18 and 34 are the most likely to hit the virtual classroom on their way to work, with 31% saying their primary commuting activity is educational.

When you consider that businesses such as Apple, Etsy, Groupon and Under Armour all started out as ‘side hustles’, the idea of learning a new skill or taking in new types of knowledge between home and work seems that little bit more rewarding.

So next time you’re flicking through The Metro, scrolling through your Twitter feed or gazing out of the window, why not try something a little more productive? Khan Academy, YouTube, LinkedIn Training and Google Academy are all great sources of free education. And if you’re too wiped out to do anything taxing on your commute, you could get into meditation. Apps such as Headspace are great for focusing the mind during those idle minutes.

*About the calculations:

According to the TUC, the average round trip commute takes 58 minutes.


Based on a working year of 233 days (261 working days in a year minus 28 days statutory holiday) that is the equivalent of 225 hours a year, 4 hours and fifty minutes per week, or 19 hours and 20 minutes a month.

Google Ads certification takes 6 hours, or seven days commuting, to complete online.


Google Analytics certification takes 6 hours, or seven days commuting, to complete online.


The Python Essential Training course available on Linkedin Training takes four hours and 45 minutes to complete.


The Red Cross first aid course takes 2 hours and 10 minutes or three days commuting to complete.

Source: Red Cross

All four season’s worth of DuoLingo Spanish educational podcasts lasts 638 minutes, or ten hours thirty minutes or 11 days of commuting time.


Undergraduate reading list for Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford University has 35 books. According to the Good Reads website, the list contains 10,029 pages of reading material. Assuming each page of each book contains 300 words and the reader has the average reading rate of 300 words/one page per minute it would take one person 167 hours, or 172 days commuting time, to read each book on the list once.


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