Money

Warren Buffett makes over $1 million in the time it takes you to commute—here's how to maximize your travel time

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
Getty Images | Bloomberg
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates

If your morning commute feels like it is taking a toll on your day, you're not alone.

The trip to work and back can be a cause of stress, and sitting in traffic costs U.S. drivers an average of $1,200 a year in wasted gas money and time. Commutes are also getting longer. The average American spent about three hours and 20 minutes more time commuting in 2015 than in 2014, according to The Washington Post.

So what else can be done in that time? A calculator by racechip.com gives you some fun examples, according to Cambridge News.

For instance, the average American's commute to work is 25.9 minutes, one way, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Over a week of traveling to and from work, that adds up to about 250 minutes a week in transit, or a little more than four hours.

In that time, Warren Buffett makes about $6,250,150 according to the calculator. Mark Zuckerberg earns $5,250,034.

You could have used the month's worth of commute time to watch all of the extended versions of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy or read "Pride and Prejudice" twice, says the widget.

Over your life, the transit time adds up to 1.1 years. That is enough to have built 12 percent of the Statue of Liberty or 98 percent of the Empire State Building, according to the calculator.

While those aren't all realistic goals to knock out on the train, there are ways to make your commute more productive. Here are four tips from Jon Jachimowicz, an expert on commuting and other work-related behaviors.

1. Use it to prepare for work

It takes time to mentally shift between your personal life at home and your professional life, Jachimowicz tells CNBC Make It. To help gear your mindset toward work, he suggests setting aside five minutes during your commute to plan out what you'll do that day: things like goals, to-do lists and big picture ideas for your career.

"When you spend at least some of your commute planning for the day or the week ahead, you'll arrive at work better prepared and therefore happier and more energetic and productive," says Jachimowicz in a Harvard Business Review article.

2. Exercise control where you can

You can't control whether the highway is down to two lanes or if the train has been delayed. But exercising control over what you do during your commute can help reclaim that feeling of autonomy, he says. So set a routine of what you will do each day, whether it is listening to a podcast or music.

Commuters who "maintained small routines on the way to work — such as checking the news on the train" tended to feel "more excited about the day ahead, more satisfied with their jobs, and less stressed-out than those who had no set routine," according to Jachimowicz.

3. Be social

Talking to others, whether it's carpooling or even chatting with strangers on the train, can be beneficial. Experiencing social connections makes your commute more engaging, which can improve your mood, Jachimowicz tells CNBC.

4. Reduce your commute if you can

A survey conducted by Jachimowicz and his colleagues found that when thinking about where to live and work, people underestimate how negative the effects of a commute can be, according to the Harvard Business Review. There can be "psychological, emotional, and physical costs of longer travel times."

Jachimowicz suggests seriously considering location as a factor when choosing your next job or house, he tells CNBC.

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