I have a dream. One day, I will have developed the ability to teleport. Whether the ability is born from magic or science, I don’t particularly care. All that matters is the potential elimination of my daily commute. Alas, I am not that lucky.
But I’m not alone in my sentiments. According to The Daily Commute In Your Rearview Mirror, 89.9 percent of people commute to work. The commute, on average, steals around 25.1 minutes of our lives every day. The end result is that the average person loses 100 hours per year driving to and from work.
That’s a lot of time to lose. In order to make the best of your commute, you might want to consider implementing a few of these strategies to make your commute a little more productive and pleasant.
1. Find a car pool buddy
Do you have tons of work acquaintances? Why not potentially strengthen your bonds by finding a cool Jill or Jake that lives in your area to carpool with? Carpooling allows you to share driving privileges, split commute costs and spend the time pleasantly talking about whatever geeky topics hold your fancy.
2. Make pit stops
Don’t go directly home. Unless your commute takes you to the middle of nowhere, chances are there are a lot of good locations to stop at around your work or along your commute. By not heading directly home, you essentially increase the number of locations within a reasonable distance. This might extend your commute time a little, but it can prevent an expensive and long trip at a later date.
3. Opt for taking the train, subway, or bus
If you live in a town with a good bus, train, or subway system, you should seriously consider commuting via public transit. Yes, public transit means you need to deal with potentially sketchy strangers, but it also means you don’t need to concentrate on driving. This can allow you to engage in a broader range of activities. You can spend some extra time on your side hustle, getting in a few more hours of work, diving into a good book, or exploring the latest video or board game app you’ve had your eye on.
4. Listen to an audiobook
Tired of listening to the same music and commercials every day? I’ve found that audiobooks are a solid way to make a commute fly by. You can purchase an audiobook from a variety of online retailers, download free audiobooks online (usually the classics) or rent them from the library. Whether you’re an avid, casual or once in the blue moon reader, nothing is better than passing the time with your favorite author or genre.
5. Keep up on current events
Don’t have the patience to watch the news at home? The ideal time to watch the news, it seems to me, is when you’re trapped in a moving a metal box on wheels. Most news stations have segments of their daily shows on YouTube. If you have a smartphone, just hook the device to your car and go. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can download the videos, convert them to the desired format and then upload them onto your device.
6. Bike to work
If your commute is fairly short, you might want to ditch the car and bike to work. Don’t be afraid to cut through parking lots to shave a few minutes off your travel time. Biking to work also gives you an excuse to work out less to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, you might want to bypass this option if the temperature is unreasonably hot. Sweat stains, in most cases, will not blend in with the typical American workplace.
7. Turn your commute into a musical performance
If you’re a Disney or theater fan, nothing makes the commute better than listening to a musical from start to finish over the period of a few days. You can do this by purchasing, renting or listening to musicals on YouTube. There are even a few free YouTube fan made musicals that are definitely worth a listen. Team StarKid is a YouTube channel with a number of interesting selections to check out.
8. Explore new music
Don’t limit yourself to the local radio station or your current music collection. Figure out which of the top songs from the past few years you somehow missed, get your hands on them and rock out on the way home. Don’t worry, I’m sure the majority of the songs don’t use police sirens as part of the musical score. If you do stumble upon one of those rare songs with sirens, don’t worry, the panic passes fairly quickly.
Daily commutes can be an inescapable part of professional life, but the lost time doesn’t need to be a total waste.