Com●mute noun. kə-ˈmyüt: A regular journey of some distance to and from one’s place of work; otherwise known as the dreaded, stressful, and tiresome period of time that separates your work life from the rest of your life.
If your definition of commute is similar to the one above, join the club and read on! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes (Megacommuters, 2013). What you may notice after traveling down your specific route day after day is that the minutes within this time frame quickly add up. In fact, based on the previous statistic, people spend an average of 9.2 days per year commuting! Since the daily commute is a factor in your life that is not likely to go away, rather than seeing it as a nuisance in your day, make it a part of it! Here are a few ideas on how to make the most of your commute:
1. Make use of your technology* Living in the digital age definitely has its advantages! With MP3 players, smartphones, tablets, etc., we have portable sources of information and entertainment right at the tips of our fingers. Listen to music or use this time to catch up with friends, relatives, or colleagues over the phone. If you use public transportation (never while driving!), on your tablet you can watch your favorite TV show/movie, read that book you never seem to find time for at home, or download newspaper apps to keep up with current events. (*Never text or send emails with your technological devices while driving, and please be aware of and respect all cell phone laws in your city and state.)
2. Be productive So much to do, so little time? Use your commute time to be productive! Make a shopping list and plan your meals for the week. Create a list of chores that need to be done at home. Walk into your office prepared by writing up a daily plan beforehand. By doing this, you can get organized and eliminate any extra chaos in your life.
3. Clear your head Use this time as a mental transition into the next part of your day — from home in the morning to your job and from your job in the evening to home. For many, this may be the only “alone” time you have! View your commute as a gift!
4. Exercise! Adding exercise to your commute is beneficial to both your health and the environment. A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that those who commute long distances to work were less fit and physically active, weighed more, and had higher blood pressure because they cannot find time to fit a workout into their schedule (Juva-Brown, 2012). Instead of setting aside extra time to do this, why not try to include it in your commute? Take a walk or ride your bike to the office, bus, or train! As gas prices continue to soar, doing this can also allow you to give your wallet a bit of a break.
5. Change it up! Bored of your commuting routine? Try changing it up! Whether it be driving a different route, using a different source of transportation, carpooling with a friend, telecommuting, or stopping by Starbucks on the way for a morning treat, find a way to make each day unique and liven up your mornings and evenings.
What do you do to improve your commute? Share some of your own tips!
Juva-Brown, Theresa. (2012). Long commute time linked with poor health, new study shows. USA Today. Retrieved May 14, 2013, from http://usatoday.com.
Megacommuters. (2013). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 20, 2013, from http://www.census.gov.