I drive 20 miles in rush hour traffic to work and back every day. I have a good job at a good company and I live where I want to live around friends and a great neighborhood. But connecting the two is torture every day. Here are six ways I’ve found to make the drive less terrible.
The newest and best idea I have tried to make the commute more tolerable, and almost enjoyable, is audiobooks.
I like reading, but I don’t have enough time to read as much as I would like. But I have almost two hours in the car every day where I don’t have much to do. But “reading” has turned into a great driving activity.
I started trying Audible with my phone plugged into the car stereo, but Audible was expensive for what I got. So I did something I hadn’t done in years, I went to the library. They have a great selection of books on CD and books to download and it is 100% free.
Trying New Routes
Going the same way every day gets monotonous, so I like to mix things up depending on traffic, what time I leave, and my mood.
There is clearly one fastest way home, but if I don’t have any plans and I’m feeling sick of US 36, I might try one of a few alternate routes. Sure, they might add an extra 5-10 minutes onto my drive, but to avoid the daily headache of my usual drive, it is worth it every once in a while.
Catch Up With Out of Town Friends
Talking on the phone can be a distraction, but if you can do it safely the car is the best time to catch up with out of town friends, parents, siblings, and other people you don’t see regularly.
I have good friends around the country that I would like to see more often, but I always have an extra 45 minutes or so on the way home from work to say hi. Just make sure you don’t call a friend in an earlier time zone that might still be at work.
Where I live and work carpooling isn’t a viable option, but it is for a lot of people that drive in solo each day.
In addition to having company for your ride, you also save gas money and the environment by taking extra cars off the road.
Take Public Transportation
For a few years, I lived near a park and ride and worked within a block of a light rail station, so I took the train in every day. I had a discounted, pre-tax pass through my employer and spent the time on the train reading books, writing blog posts, listening to music, and keeping myself busy and entertained with my netbook.
Depending on your city, you may even be able to save money by taking public transit instead of your car. You can save gas, wear and tear, and sometimes insurance costs by driving less.
Save a few minutes in the morning by taking your breakfast to go and eating it in the car. Just make sure you still drive safely and don’t get into the fattening habit of picking up fast food drive through breakfasts regularly.
Take Audio Notes for Projects
As a serial entrepreneur and blogger, I am always coming up with ideas and to-dos while sitting in traffic. Using an audio notepad or talk-to-text, I can add to my list or even dictate blog posts for later. Again make sure to drive safely while using an electronic device in the car, but you can get a lot done in that time.
Your Best Commute Busters
Aside from working at home, what are your best ideas to avoid the torture of the long drive in to work? Please share your tips and ideas in the comments.
Image by epSos.de / flickr