How To Make The Most Of Your Train Delays

8 productive things to do on a station platform…

train delays landscape.jpg

8 productive things to do on a station platform…

It is fair to say that the UK’s public transport system has seen better days, and with disruptive weather and regular signal failures, delays have unfortunately become part of the norm. With weather warnings and strikes looming, it looks like the worst is yet to come.

Nothing angers the British more than a train delay and too many of us waste that valuable pocket of time just to prove a point. Whether it’s drafting a strongly worded e-mail to National Rail or over-exaggeratedly checking our watches every time a man in High Vis walks past, it goes to no use.

Take it from a seasoned commuter, who experiences delays almost daily (even my train conductor was surprised to arrive on schedule this morning), spending that 30-minutes panicking is not going to help you get home any sooner. Our advice is simply to accept and embrace the delays, factoring them into your journey.

Instead of viewing a delay as wasted time, look at it as an additional moment to accomplish what you find hard to at work or at home. You will be amazed at how much you can get done when you let go of your train fury and apply yourself…

Write a book

If you’ve ever fancied yourself as an author, take advantage of additional time in a quiet carriage every morning and start writing. Businessman Jon Stock credits his 2009 published novel, Dead Spy Running, to his 8.40am Bedwyn to London commute, so just think what he could have accomplished with the current daily delays!

Start a business

We all have a lifelong business dream whether it’s inventing an app, launching a blog or opening a café. The most common excuse for not pursuing these dreams is simply not having enough time…well thanks to the delays now you do. If Laura Ashley was launched from a kitchen table, a business can certainly be created from a tube seat.

Learn a language

Studies show that 70% of Brits aim to learn a foreign language but few will actually manage to do it. Regular practice is essential to progress in language so download an app and put your delay time to good use dedicating 20 minutes a day to it. Voila!

Get in touch

Losing touch with people is inevitable when you’re working a 9-till-5 job and you’ll find yourself forever apologising for late replies. Dedicating your delay time each day to communication (catching up on emails, calling your mum and ‘liking’ your sister’s Instagram posts) is a great way of keeping on top of it all. Listen to a podcast

Podcasts are a commuting essential, especially on crowded trains, sparing you from having to juggle your book, coffee and the handrail in the early morning. ‘Throwing Shade’ is great for a 20 minute distraction or get stuck into ‘Serial' on longer journeys. Plan your day

Finding the time to organise yourself is almost impossible in a full time job. Spend just 10 minutes of your morning delays writing a ‘To Do’ list and prioritising your daily tasks. You will arrive at work with a clear head and a much better start on the day.


Applying make up on public transport gets a lot of bad press but these women are just being time efficient. If contouring your cheeks or pencilling your brows during the morning delays means having an extra 10 minutes in bed, you’d be crazy not to do it. Meditate

Commuting can be so stressful that we often forget to savour having that moment alone. Before you go home to be distracted by your partner, children or even your Netflix account, embrace your delay time as the perfect opportunity to process your day, reflect and de-stress.

I wrote this article on my delayed train to work this morning, what can you achieve in yours?

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.