Commuting sucks. Anywhere you go, if you are on a parkway, highway, or thruway between 7-9 AM, you're probably swearing. You can blame it on anything — accidents, volume, weather — there will always be traffic congestion. You want to go 55, 65, 75 — but you're currently going 5. And the radio is just making it worse by intermixing the 15 minutes of commercials with a traffic helicopter telling you that there is traffic on YOUR route. My average commute (one-way, without traffic) is one hour — so I feel that I have a good handle on what the typical commuter endures every day. By the way, I totally understand about public transportation (I use it too) — but this post focuses solely on car commuting.
Why not work from home? Not every day. You need a few good ideas to help your commute become a bit more bearable. So here goes:
- Listen to really good music. Most people I know don't plan their ride effectively when it comes to the enjoyment of music. They either just turn the radio on, grin and bear it through the bad music choices/commercials OR they drive around with the same six CD's in their car for the past year.One strategy is to pre-plan your music the night before — either on CD, Smartphone, or iPod — to ensure that you get a freshness and variety to make your ride fun. In addition, try using the shuffle or genius mode on your player to keep the mix of the songs fresh. Finally, if you aren't acquainted with the app Pandora, check it out — it changed my listening habits forever.
- Read a book. Whoops . . . I meant LISTEN to a book. I find that I 'read' more than I did in college by using downloadable books. Why downloadable? It's soooo much cheaper. Instead of trying to manage 6-10 CD's, the entire book is neatly stored on my Smartphone or iPod.In addition to keeping the exact place where I left off, it allows me to carry it anywhere. And here's the best part — most audiobooks today aren't read by stuffy, upper-crust, gentry — they are now read by the author who adds so much more energy and information to the original book. Check this one out — you'll be surprised.
- Listen to a podcast. This is my hidden secret of iPods that most users don't know about. There are millions of people and organizations who regularly post incredible podcasts (extended talkshows) on iTunes. They range from music reviews to UFO's, comedy to history — and they're unbelievable.
- Brainstorm in the car. Go buy a digital tape recorder or use your Smartphone/iPod and begin talking. I find that I do my best brainstorming, strategizing, and thinking in the shower and in the car. Just turn it on and start talking — you'll be surprised what great ideas come out of your rambling. In addition, you can think up to-do lists, or dictate emails that can be electronically transfered once you hit the office.
- Leave earlier. I know — some of you probably are swearing at this one. You might not be a morning person or your boss wants you to work late. But this is the one that usually cures all ills when it comes to your commute. I leave at 5:30 AM and get to work (95% of the time) at 6:30 AM.If I leave a bit early or on time, I get in 9.5 to 10.5 hours of work each day (I work through lunches). That's between 47-53 hours of work every week — a healthy amount if the boss starts to complain. I might hit a bit of traffic on my way home, but I can deal with it. And if your boss begins to complain about you leaving early, you need to talk to me, I can help you overcome this ridiculous behavior.
Let me know what ways you use to make your commute more bearable!