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Do you have a long work commute? Do you feel like you could be making more of it, but don’t know how?
I had always heard that having a long work commute could decrease happiness in life. I had prided myself on keeping my commute under 15 minutes. Then I decided to accept a job in San Francisco. For budget and lifestyle reasons, my partner and I decided to live in an area outside of the city. This meant about a 45-minute commute to work. So over the past year and a half, I have tried many different methods to fine-tune and maximize a long work commute. I’m excited to share them with you today!
First, simplify your long work commute as much as possible. Do everything you can to plan out your transit route so you only have one public transit transition. Having two transitions can complicate commuting and add stress and longer wait times. Add as much consistency to your routine as possible. Set a timer for the time you need to leave each morning. If you need to park somewhere, try to park in the same place every day, even if it means walking a little further. Pay for parking passes, road tolls, or any other costs in advance so you aren’t fumbling for money during your commute. The goal here is to cut any friction you might encounter during your long work commute.
Second, shift your mindset about your long work commute. Instead of dreading it or feeling impatient about it, reframe it as an opportunity for some dedicated time to do whatever you want. What would you be doing if you were lying in bed or on the coach at that time? Is there any way you can emulate that same feeling of peace and freedom while commuting? Build in a buffer time in your travel. This was you can relax during your long work commute and know that you will get to and from work on time. Make the experience as comfortable as you can. Bring a comfy sweater or dab some essential oils on your wrist in the morning. Make your commute a relaxing indulgent experience. Have a snack before or during your commute so you don’t end up feeling hungry and cranky.
Third, find the activities that you like that you are easily able to do on your long work commute. Here are some of my favorites:
- Thought download in the Notes app on my phone
- YouTube videos
- Listening to music
- Brainstorming big ideas for work
- If you’re lucky and have a good commuting buddy- you can use this time to catch up with friends
My favorite things are activities that absorb my full attention. These make the commute feel infinitely faster. Mindless scrolling on social media usually makes the commute worse for me. To avoid doing this, I plan out what type of activities I want to do during my long work commute each week. This means on Sunday night I make a list of some ideas for the week and I download content as needed so it is ready to go.
You’ll notice I don’t include working or checking email on my list of activities. I really try to avoid that. If I am reading emails on the go I’m not in a position to actually act on them, so it triggers unnecessary anxiety. I try to protect this time as a transition time. That means either waking up and getting in the
And there you have it, my three tips for improving your work commute! Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried any of these or have others to add to this list.
Take Action! Download my Top Five Personal Development Podcasts list and try listening to one of them on your commute this week!