A long commute, whether by car, bus, train, or bicycle, can really put a damper on your day. The average American spends a total of over 200 hours a year just commuting, and if you live in a city, that number is even higher! That’s hours that commuters would otherwise spend with their family and friends, on their personal hobbies, reading, volunteering, or anything else.
While we won’t be able to give you back any of your commuting time, here are some tips to make your long commute work for you.
Ditch the Radio
Your local radio station is a valuable purveyor of information, but hearing the same hits time after time can really put you to sleep when you need to be awake. Instead of tuning into the radio, try syncing your phone up via your car’s Bluetooth and listening to a podcast. Podcasts come in all sorts of categories, including news, politics, and entertainment.
Carpool with Coworkers
A great way to ease your commute pains is to carpool with coworkers who live near you. You can organize this through your workplace, asking your neighbors if they work near you, or even seeing if people in the offices next door to yours are interested in carpooling. Not only will you be able to make new friends and network, but you’ll be able to cut the cost of commuting and occasionally get to nap on the way home.
Have the Right Car
Another great way to jazz up your commute and save on costs is to swap out your car for a different model. If you’re still driving a gas-guzzler or a heavy truck that just isn’t right for the kind of commute you have, you’ll save hundreds of dollars a year by driving a fuel-efficient and comfortable car like the Ford Focus RS or the Nissan Maxima.
Sometimes, saving time means spending a little extra time. Check your public transit schedule to see if there’s an earlier bus or train you could take that would get you to work faster. Getting to work earlier will also make you dedicated to your work, which will come in handy during your performance reviews. You might also be able to negotiate with your supervisor leaving early on days you arrive early. .
Both cars and people needs a little fuel to get them through the day, and if you find yourself dozing off while driving–a serious issue that leads to hundreds of thousands of sometimes fatal accidents a year–you might just need some food. By keeping snacks in your car, you also curb the desire to stop for fast-food on the way home.
With more and more work being done individually, it’s not always necessary to come into the office. Ask your supervisor if you can work remotely a few days a week, letting them know you have a difficult commute and that you’d rather spend that time being productive and getting things done.
Solutions can be found in silence. Not every moment of your day should require you to be learning, actively thinking, or trying to work out problems. Use your commute to transition out of your work mindset. Your brain might just use this time to come up with a creative solution to a work problem that’s been bugging you anyway!