For those who take mass transit to and from work, the time in motion can be anything from frantic to feeling like forever. Sure, it may seem like staring at the seat in front of you or doing your best to avoid being accidently tossed about like a ragdoll in a jam-packed subway car is the most you can do until you reach your destination, but this time can be spent in a far more meaningful way.

Don't let this time go to waste. Here are 3 productivity hacks that will make your commute one to be proud of. OK, reading a celeb gossip rag now and then or flipping through Facebook is fun once in a while, but with some strategic planning, you can make those minutes (or hours) life-changing. Take a seat (hopefully next to someone courteous) and move the needle as you move towards the office!

1. Plan Your Day

Once you find your spot on the train, bus, subway, or some other mode of transport, unless you're driving, it's the perfect time to create a "to-do" list to organize your actions and activities for the day ahead. By getting all your meetings, work responsibilities, and other scheduling in order before you set foot in the office, you're already one step ahead of the game – ready to get to work as soon as you clock in.

Hubspot notes, "Taking that extra time to think about each task can help you prioritize and set realistic expectations." Business Insider adds, "By creating a to-do list and prioritizing the day's responsibilities, you're setting yourself up to have a more organized and focused workday. If you can't actually write a list because you're driving, it can still be useful just to have a mental checklist."

Jot down your notes on pen and paper (the old-fashioned way), or try an app like Evernote. Once you capture your note, it's instantly available on all your devices. Type in your to-dos or use the voice recording feature. Planning will make your day more structured and less stressful.

2. Catch Up on Email

For nearly anyone with an email account, the morning means an inbox filled to the brim with both important information and a whole lotta junk. Use your commuting time to dump the spam and annoying advertising messages and sift through the important work email. If you can get back to some of the senders, do so, otherwise read through the messages and asses which are the most pressing so you know how to proceed once you get to the office.

Hubspot notes the satisfying feeling of arriving at the office with a clean inbox. Tending to email before the workday begins can "save at least a half hour and a loss of momentum during the most productive time of day."

An added perk of getting back to some open items in your inbox is that the recipient will see your email at the top of their box once they get to work. Your timeliness and top-of-the-morning work ethic will be looked upon fondly.

3. Read a Book or Newspaper

Stimulate your mind, invest in your interests, and catch up on the happenings going on in the world by doing some reading as you're stuck in rush hour. Business Insider writes, "These activities support your ongoing learning and development."

Bring along an eBook reader such as Kindle, or go the old-school route with a favorite hardcover you've been meaning to dive into. Grab a paper at the newsstand or log into apps or newspaper websites on your tablet or laptop.

While reading books or newspapers may not effect what you need to do for work directly, it broadens your mind, gives you a variety of perspectives, and educates you on general and specific information which can be useful in an array of workplace settings. Plus, it's far more entertaining than reading the poster above your seat for the length of the commute!

Are you ready to get moving with productive ways to spend the commute? No more nodding off and arriving at the office in a fog. Use your commute wisely and the benefits will be as rewarding as arriving at your destination on time.

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.