Most of us do it, we all complain about it, and we would avoid it if we could: the daily commute to work. Research shows that commuting unfortunately decreases our happiness and satisfaction levels, but until we find a better solution, we still have to board the train, hop on the bus, or jump in the car to get to work.
So while we’re stuck with the reality of commuting, there are ways to make the best of this otherwise frustrating situation. Check out these tips for maximizing your daily commute to your job, no matter how you’re getting to and from work.
Job Tips for Drivers
According to research, the American worker spends an average of 50 minutes commuting to and from work each day. If you’re one of those who has to spend that time in a car, you’re probably dealing with gridlock, construction, and occasional weather delays – all things that can add stress to your work day.
While you can’t make highway traffic disappear, there are things you can do to maximize your time in the car:
- Talk to your boss to see if you can arrive earlier in the morning and leave before rush hour, when traffic is at its peak.
- If you feel comfortable talking on the phone in the car with a hands-free device, schedule calls during your commute to get a jump-start on your day.
- Find out if there is a ride-share available in your area to break up the drive, so you’re not the one behind the wheel every day. (You can also check with co-workers to see if they’d be interested in carpooling.)
- Use the time in the car to relax and unwind at the end of the day. Books on tape are a great way to keep your mind busy if you’re sitting in traffic or trying to get through a construction zone.
Job Tips for Transit Riders
If you’re fortunate enough to live close to a train, bus or subway line that can get you to work, you can save money, help preserve the environment, and get a jump start on your work day by taking public transit. Because you’re not in the driver’s seat, you can get a jump-start on your work day by:
- Bringing your laptop or smart phone and get a head start on reading and answering the day’s emails.
- If you don’t have wireless access, bring the paperwork you’ve been neglecting on the train. (Commutes are a great time to edit, proofread, and correct any reports or projects you haven’t had time for.)
- Take along those work-related articles, books, and studies you’ve been meaning to read for work, but haven’t been able to get to.
Job Tips for Flex-Timers
When it comes to battling a bad commute, flex-time and telecommuting are key. Ask your boss if these options are available to you. Some scenarios you can bring to the table include:
- Telecommute from home one or several days a week. Not having to spend that hour in the car can give you more time in your day to get work done and reduce your stress level significantly.
- Find out if you can work four 10-hour days to give yourself an extra day in the week and one less day of commuting. (A ten-hour day may also mean you come in earlier and stay later, thereby avoiding peak rush hour times.)
- See if you can split your days between home and office, meaning you might commute home after lunch, missing the bulk of the 5:00 traffic.
At the end of the day, commuting is something we all still have to deal with. Finding ways to reduce how many days we commute, make our overall commute short, or find ways to use that time so it doesn’t feel wasted can make it a little more bearable.
Gradberry thanks our partners at myFootpath for this awesome post!