How long is your commute to and from work?

Even if you live somewhat near your workplace, traffic can still double or even triple your time spent in the car. If your one-way commute is about an hour, then you spend nearly 21 days commuting per year — that’s almost 500 hours of just driving!

Other commuters ride their bike or use public transportation, such as subways and buses. Traffic may not be as big of an issue in these cases, but there is still a large amount of time spent getting from point A to point B.

How Commuting Affects Your Body and Mind

Passport Health compiled a list of how your work commute affects you. Due to the anger and frustration often involved in rush-hour traffic, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar can all increase as a result.

With a rise in these health risks, people tend to exercise less, thus increasing their waistbands. What’s more is time spent in transportation is sedentary, or not doing an active activity. Many commuters work desk jobs in which they sit for most of the day. Any exercise time they can get is important for maintaining a healthy physique and emotional disposition.

Depression, anxiety, and general unhappiness can all increase through excessive commuting. Specifically, people with a long commute are 33% more likely to suffer from depression. Commuters are also less satisfied and more unhappy than people who don’t commute at all.

How can you counteract these negative effects? Commuting is necessary for a lot of people, so eliminating or even reducing it is out of the question. There are several apps that help people organize and prepare for the workday during their commute. However, music, audiobooks, and podcasts can help commuters unwind, reducing stress.

What to do During Your Commute

Almost all commuters listen to some form of audio, generally music. Traditional AM/FM radio, satellite radio, downloaded music, streamed songs, and even audiobooks are common things that people listen to on their morning and evening commutes. Aside from some audiobooks, all of these forms are mostly for entertainment.

What if the multitude of hours spent listening to music could be put toward self-improvement? According to the author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, Laura Vanderkam, you should use your commute for personal time. You can do this by asking yourself what you want to accomplish.

Set learning goals and personal objectives that you seek to achieve. Simply listening to podcasts can help you attain these ambitions. Instead of nodding along to popular beats, find a podcast that speaks to you. Let it not only excite you to start the workday, but spur a positive change in your life and business.

Inspiring Podcasts for Small Businesses

For small businesses, self-improvement podcasts can provide the positive outlook and perseverance it takes to start a business on your own. Corporate giants tend to reign king in brand awareness, funding, and revenue. Competing with their stature is a daunting task for any company, let alone a small one.

If anyone knows how difficult it is to create a business, it’s successful entrepreneurs. Some podcasts are created by entrepreneurs and geared specifically toward guiding and mentoring aspiring self-starters. When you need advice or a new perspective on your small business, check out some podcasts regarding entrepreneurship and self-improvement. To get you started, TheZebra outlined some podcasts in the infographic below.

Motivational Podcasts for Mid-Sized Businesses

A mid-sized business may be a notch above a smaller one when it comes to accomplishment, but it requires motivation to take the company a step further. Being in the middle might seem like the Goldilocks zone (just right), but in fact it’s not. The only way to contend with large businesses is to take the competition to their level. Podcasts about self-improvement will provide tips on how to achieve greatness for individuals and businesses that are stuck in the middle.

Overview of 13 Self-Improvement Podcasts

Just like music, there are a variety of options and types of podcasts. Trying to find the right one for you can be a little overwhelming. Keep reading for a quick overview of 13 podcasts that will inspire you to better yourself and your company. Scroll to the infographic for more details on each one.


  1. The School of Greatness – Learn the characteristics that make people great, and apply them to yourself.
  2. The Tim Ferriss Show – Figure out which tactics and routines work best for your work style.
  3. The Foundation – Hear how other entrepreneurs attained success.
  4. Impact Theory – Find the secrets to success to implement in your business.

Self-Help & Motivation

  1. 10% Happier – See if it’s possible to be ambitious and enlightened at the same time.
  2. Optimal Living Daily – Learn about personal development, minimalism, productivity, and more.
  3. The Minimalists – Find meaning in the intangible.
  4. The Hilarious World of Depression – Hear comedians talk about their experiences with depression in serious, moving, and humorous conversations.
  5. Happier – Get in the habit of happiness.
  6. On Being – Gain insights on spiritual inquiry, science, and social healing.


  1. The Daily Boost – Finetune personal development strategies.
  2. The Mindvalley Podcast – Transform yourself and your business with new learning experiences.
  3. London Real – Listen to uncensored stories from real people to see into their minds.

Key Takeaway

No matter how close or far you live from work, unless you work from home, you have a daily commute anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. This might seem like only a small fraction of your day, but the minutes and hours add up quickly. If you don’t use that time wisely, hundreds of hours out of the year will be completely wasted.

Luckily, there are tools commuters can use to develop their character and/or business during this time. You may find inspiration in some audiobooks, but those can take weeks to finish. Podcasts regarding self-improvement can be as short as ten minutes or as long as two-and-a-half hours. This way, you can finish a whole episode or show during one leg of your commute.

Life is short enough, don’t take time for granted.

self-improvement podcasts

zachary kee-clemmer
Zachary Kee-Clemmer

Zachary Kee-Clemmer is a content creator based in Austin, TX who helped The Zebra create this infographic. He is an English major from Texas A&M University with a background in creative writing and a passion for the automotive industry.