Commuting to work can be one of the most frustrating and time consuming parts of our day. Whether you use public transportation or simply drive, commuting can leave you exhausted before you have even gotten to work. I recently have started an internship where I commute and I desperately need to make it shorter. Naturally, I did some research, tested out some hypotheses and here are some suggestions I have that make my two hour commute into a big city a little more enjoyable.
Listen to Podcasts
Have a topic that deeply interests you? Download a podcast to your phone for Wi-Fi-less entertainment. Hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of podcasts can be found on a variety of music hosting sites like Spotify or iTunes, stick with the site you like best. Podcasts varying in length, so an episode, maybe even two, can fit into your commute no matter how long it takes you. Once you press play you’ll be surprised at how the time flies, and how much you’ve learned before you even get to work!
(My all-time favorite podcast is The Minimalists Podcast)
If you happen to live near a coworker whose company you enjoy you have a great opportunity to carpool. Carpooling is a great way to kill time because it feels like you’re hanging out with a friend. (You might want to avoid coworkers you don’t want to spend extra time with) In addition to killing time, carpooling is also eco-friendly!
If you commute into a big city via public transportation like me, you can still utilize this tip. Chances are you know someone else who works in the city and you can meet up with them on the train or even after when you walk to the office. Just chatting with friends will make the time feel more purposeful, and thus shorter.
Travel During the Off Hours
If you’ve been commuting for a long time I am sure you are already aware of this tip. Most people work 9-5, so it is inevitable that traffic is going to be worse around these hours. Try leaving your home earlier, or work later, to avoid traffic.
Bonus Tip: If you drive using Waze, a GPS app, it could help you find sneaky ways to avoid traffic and get to work faster.
Commuting to work by public transportation provides you an hour or two of time where you don’t have anything else to do. This may sound like a negative thing but there is actually a great opportunity here. When you’re just sitting it is the perfect time to get creative. Bring a notebook and pen so you can start writing or drawing, this way when inspiration strikes you will be prepared to take advantage of it. This blog post was actually written while I was commuting on the train.
If you are driving to work you can still get creative. You can brainstorm, what is something you have always wanted to accomplish? Think of ways you can answer this question and reach your goal. Once you get into work or have a chance to open the notes section of your phone (although I am not suggesting using your phone while driving) jot down all the great ideas you have come up with! Spending this time on another project makes it feel more useful versus just wasted down time.
I have to admit that I struggle with this next tip. Take some time during your commute to acknowledge all the things you are grateful for. This can be through guided gratitude meditation, prayer, or maybe just taking a personal moment to be thankful. In this least, if you are commuting into work you have an income and a way to get to your job. If you replace the negative thoughts you may have about commuting with gratitude, it can turn one of the most stressful and arduous moments of your day into a moment of positive reflection.
Starting your day with being thankful will all around make you more content and peaceful. Who knows, after a while of training your brain to associate commuting with being grateful you might even begin to look forward to it!
I hope you found these tips helpful. Let me know if you try any of them out, or if you have other tips for making your commute feel shorter leave them in the comments below!
(Interested in guided meditation? Here’s a link http://stillmind.org/gratitude-meditation/, there are also a variety of meditation apps you can download onto your phone).