Thanks to technology, some of us are lucky enough to do telecommuting jobs – a word combination that nobody had even heard of several years ago. These telecommuters work for companies far away (some even overseas) from home. But the largest part of the world is still traveling back and forth between home and work every day.
While those daily commutes are torture to some, they are also a necessity to survive. So how can technology help? There’s no existing tech today that can help you move your workplace closer to home, but there are apps that can turn those long commuting hours into a fun and productive time.
Note: all the apps mentioned here are free apps unless stated otherwise.
Reading is the number one pastime for many, and commuting hours can be the perfect time to hit the pages. You can say goodbye to the thick and heavy printed books, as it’s possible to bring hundreds of digital books in your pocket. And why limit yourself to books? There are virtually unlimited reading materials out there.
You can find tons of reading apps out there, but those who belong to the mobile generation might want to start with Flipboard for your own curated news and stories from all around the globe. Additionally, you can find similar content on the Apple News app.
The manga fans could try Manga Rock for your daily dose of Japanese comic books.
For a wider selection of reading materials, try Scribd (membership). This service comes with a variety of reading materials from shared personal documents to sheet music selections to audiobooks to comic books.
If you love to experiment with non-professional, beginner, indie writers, you could try Wattpad. This one is like social networking for wannabe writers and their readers. It’s true that much of the material is beyond par, but you’ll be surprised at how many gems you can find inside. Many of these hobby writings end up published by the big names in the printing industry, and some even become movies.
And don’t forget Apple’s iBooks. Aside from being one of the best ebook reader available for iPhone, it also comes with tons of books to choose in its bookstore.
Speaking of writing for a hobby, you can also use your commuting time to write. Some people write sci-fi novels, and some others write health articles. No matter what your genre is, Wattpad that we mentioned above is only one of the many writing apps available on iOS.
You can use a traditional note-taking app like Apple Notes for your writing. The app has grown from a simple text editor into something that can do everything related to note taking, including scanning printed documents.
But if you don’t fancy Notes, there are all kinds of writing apps on the App Store. From the light and quick Simplenote to the heavy duty Evernote, you will likely find something that fits your needs.
Or if you are a WordPress blogger, you could use the WordPress official iOS app to compose and post your thoughts directly to your blog. On the other hand, if you love to put your thoughts in writing but want to keep them to yourself, why don’t you try journaling? Day One Journal is the perfect app for that.
Many commuters use their commuting time to catch up on their favorite TV series and movies. Some others love to explore and tap the vast source of watching materials called the internet.
As with other app niches, there is a barrage of video players on the App Store. One of the popular ones that you can use to watch your downloaded videos is VLC for mobile.
Alternatively, you can browse millions of user-uploaded videos on YouTube. And don’t forget to check out TED. Although less known than YouTube, the knowledge-sharing TED is chock-full of experts from various fields sharing their thoughts, experiences, jokes, and more, in a few minutes of video presentations.
What about the music fans among us? There are apps for them, too. For those who love listening, here are several iPhone apps that you can try.
Steve Jobs was famously known as a music lover, so it’s not strange that a music player is one of iPhone’s core functions. The combination of iTunes and Apple Music (subscription only) will satisfy any music aficionado.
There are also other music subscription services that you can try such as Spotify (free/subscription).
Love books but don’t fancy reading on the go? Then you should try listening to audiobooks. And in this area there’s no better player than Amazon’s Audible and Apple’s iBooks. Both players are free, but most of the audiobooks are not. There are also audiobooks from other sources in the mp3 formats that you can play using any media player.
Social Networking Apps
The fact that some companies banned Facebook within working hours is a proof that social networking is a legitimate time-waster. So engaging yourself in social networks is a perfect way to waste your commuting hours.
Game Playing Apps
This category might be the most difficult to tackle. Different people love playing different kinds of games and most of them never settle on one game forever. New games are popping up every day, and there are virtually countless games for iOS that Apple created in a dedicated section for games in the revamped version of AppStore on iOS 11. The ones that are popular today might be replaced next week.
The best advice that you can get is to go out and explore the games section and find your favorites. At the time of writing, the top five most popular free games on the store are Mobile Legends: Bang bang, Ludo King, Garena AOV – Arena of Valor, Homescapes, and Dancing Line.
And There Are More
Are you a commuter? What apps do you use to spend your long commuting hours? Share them in the comment below.