Do you enjoy your commute? I am guessing the answer is no.
Almost every morning the alarm goes off, you get yourself ready, and you head out the door to commute to work. Odds are you aren’t looking forward to the next bit of your day. In fact, commutes can be downright ugly.
Similarly, when you are done with your day at work and walking back to your car you might find yourself being filled with a little bit of dread. I don’t know which is worse, the commute to or from work.
While there are a lot of things that are out of your control during your commute there are just as many that are in your control and will allow you to enjoy your commute just a little bit more.
Enjoy Your Commute by Being Productive
There is not a lot that can be done about the length of a commute, but there are several ways to make the most of the time you spend doing it. Whether your commute involves walking, driving, riding on a bus or metro, or carpooling you can choose to spend your time productively rather than being frustrated by how long it is taking.
Below is just a few ways to be productive during your commute.
- Stay current on the news- listen to a podcast like The Daily from the New York Times or news radio to stay up to date on current events. This serves to keep you informed as well will give you conversational topics for throughout the day.
- Listen to an audiobook- I often hear that teachers don’t have enough time to read for pleasure, but audiobooks are a GREAT way to sneak in some quality book time while you are commuting. Yes, listening to audiobooks counts as reading.
- Problem solve- whether you are carpooling and can talk over a problem with a coworker or you are alone and thinking to yourself, a commute can be the perfect time to think through any challenges you might be experiencing and brainstorm ideas to try out.
Enjoy Your Commute by Avoiding Crowds
For me, the worst part of a commute is feeling stuck in a crowd. Whether this means a busy sidewalk, crowded highway, or a subway car crammed full it is uncomfortable and unsettling. Not the way I want to start my day.
Enjoy your commute just a little bit more by taking the road, or time, less traveled.
Change Up Your Route
Play around with different routes to get yourself to work. Sometimes a route that may be slightly longer time-wise isn’t nearly as stressful due to being less crowded or even more beautiful.
For example, my commute to the school I worked at for six years had a few ways to get there. The quickest way was straight down the interstate but often left me frazzled by others who were driving too aggressively or unexpected delays. If I took about five minutes longer I could do the whole drive on back roads. These roads seemed to never be crowded and took me through beautiful ranch land. In summary, the road less traveled was well worth the extra five minutes.
Change Up Your Timing
Similarly, it is worth it to experiment with what time you complete your commute. A difference of 15 minutes can mean either frazzled nerves or complete calm. Which would you choose?
I am NOT a morning person. Still, when I found out that my more direct highway commute was completely clear just 15 minutes earlier than I normally left for work it was a game-changer.
I won’t tell you it made it easier to get out of bed in the morning. Regardless, I switched up my routine a bit and packed my breakfast to eat at school instead of at home. This little change allowed me to miss the major traffic and cruise on down the road.
As a bonus, getting to school a few minutes earlier meant I had some time to myself before coworkers arrived which meant no lines for last-minute copies that needed to be made or prepping a spontaneous activity.
Enjoy Your Commute by Treating Yourself
Sometimes we need a little something to look forward to during the parts of the day we don’t enjoy. This one won’t be for everyone, but for me, it made my commute that much more enjoyable.
Personally, I had taken care of the morning commute by changing up my route or leaving a few minutes earlier. Meanwhile, I was still hating every minute of my trip back home. By the time I left work, I just wanted to be home.
This all changed when I started packing myself a snack for the drive home. I am not talking anything fancy here, more like an apple, some carrots, or a bag of pretzels. I am guessing the time when I left work coincided with a blood sugar dip and was leading to some serious hanger, so I was glad to figure out this simple fix.
If you aren’t into snacks, maybe you save a podcast that you ONLY listen to during your commute or a special blend of coffee for the mornings. For me, any true-crime podcast will fit the bill. I get fully absorbed in them and will even sit in my car to finish one after arriving home.
Treating yourself doesn’t mean you have to buy all the things. It does mean finding the right thing you will look forward to. Just a little something to take the sting out of the commute and give you a little smile.
In the end, commutes are not anyone’s favorite part of the day. But there are things you can do to make it just a little bit better.
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