How to hack your commute for personal development

Gui Carvalho
3 min readFeb 14, 2019

If you’re like me, you choose where you live accounting for the office location, you already optimized the time you leave your house every day, and you use Waze or Google Maps to give you up-to-date information. If you’re like me though, you’re still not satisfied with it.

My commute is relatively short, ranging from 15 to 30 minutes each way, that’s still 30 to 60 minutes, a sensible amount of time for no gain.

About a year ago I discovered Audible, an online service that has hundreds of thousands of books in narrated format and I decided to try. They have a free 30-day trial that you should sign up for, and after that, it costs $15/month or $150/year. If you’re lucky enough, you might be able to expense this through your employer. After all, you’re paying for books that can only help you improve as a professional and as a person. Even if not, it’s worth the money.

After signing up, I started listening to books in my commute and, I felt substantially happier about my commute. Not only did it help me not care as much about traffic, but also made a dent in the big list of books I wanted to read but never had the time. Since most of them are around 10 hours of audio, and if you divide that by your commute time, you can easily read 1 to 2 books a month, effortlessly.

However, things were not perfect yet. I was placing my phone in the cupholder in the car and I’d often forget it there. Other times when trying to put it in place, I’d drop it, and it’d fall under the seat. Finally, if someone called me during this time, picking it up to snooze while driving was dangerous.

To try to fix that I tried multiple different types of car mounts, and although having any is much better than using the cupholder, there’s one type that is killer. I’m talking about the magnetic kind that you plug into your car vent, like this:

the back of the mount
how it looks attached

It hooks to the vent, and it has a magnet on it. It comes with a small metallic plate that you put between your phone and its case.

Just place the phone over it, and it will stay in place, no matter what happens in traffic.

This combination allowed me to read more than 20 books last year, with a time that otherwise would be spent jumping through radio stations.

So do yourself a favor and buy one for $12 here, sign up for the free trial here, and enjoy.

Disclosure: Although I should, I do not make any money endorsing Amazon products, I only want other people to experience this.

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Gui Carvalho

Startup guy, engineer, product thinker. Currently living in Florida.