According to research, we Brits spend over 8,000 hours commuting during our lifetimes.

That’s a lot of time – a lot of wasted, stressful time.

From being stuck in a queue of traffic to finding your train’s been canceled, there are so many aspects of the daily commute that aren’t pleasant and are downright stressful.

However, for many of us, the commute is a necessary evil. So how do you make the most of it and stop yourself from feeling bogged down by it?

Here’s what we’ve found:

Get More Out of the Time You Spend Commuting

The time you spend commuting is prime time for learning something new. Is there a new language you want to speak? Do you want to learn more about a specific topic? Or is there some work you could do?

From listening to a podcast on your car radio to whizzing through some paperwork on the train, there are a number of ways you can maximize your commuting time. And once you get into the habit of doing this, you’ll soon find it becomes second nature.

Find Ways to Switch Off and Relax

Even though, when you’re on your way to work and have a pile of things to do or you just want to get home to the kids, you can still try to switch off and relax.

Obviously, this is difficult if you’re driving but if you’re stuck on a bus, train or in a taxi, you can sit back, relax and unwind.

Simply dip into your favorite book, listen to your favorite artist or take some time to daydream about that new house you want to buy, the room you’re decorating, the next holiday you’re going on… you get the idea.

And if you do find it hard to switch off in this way, why not use apps like Pinterest to help you do this? They’re ideal for providing that inspiration – and, as a social media channel, they’re great for losing yourself in (but without feeling like you’ve wasted your time).

Catch Up with Friends

If you drive to and from work (or even if you walk or get public transport), your commuting time may be the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and family.

With the majority of modern cars being equipped with hands-free phone systems (see BMW models on the AA site, for example) it’s easy to dial your way through your contact list. It allows you to catch up with people without having to take any time out of your day. I mean, let’s face it, we don’t often make much time to call each other these days.

While you’re driving along you can make arrangements, gossip with friends and keep mum happy with your weekly update – and the time will fly by as well.

Getting on top of your commute is all about looking for ways to make it a valuable time – rather than just losing this time in your day.