Unless you work from home, your days begin and end with your commute to and from work. How that commute ultimately goes both sets the stage for your mood and energy level for the morning, as well as looms like the edge of a cliff for the second half of your day.
The first step to conquering your commute is to decide how you ideally want to use the time, and then to make the necessary adjustments to achieve your commuting goals. First, think about the following questions:
- What do you need more of in your day – relaxation or productivity?
- What do you find more relaxing – getting things done, or escaping from thinking about the things which need to be done?
- Do you relax by reading a book, listening to music, or doing something more active?
- If getting things done relaxes you, are there specific tasks which could be allocated to your commute time to alleviate you from doing them at other times?
Think about your commute – what specifically is the most stressful part for you? For example, crowds, lack of seating, people, etc. – is there something that could be changed to improve this area? Here are some examples of ways a small adjustment to your commute might alleviate the pressure points in your daily drudgery:
- Do you take public transportation, but never get a seat? Is it possible that boarding at a different location – perhaps even a stop or two back – would guarantee you a seat, and thus be worth the extra time?
- Is car traffic your nemesis? Is there perhaps a different route – even if it is slightly longer in mileage – that would allow for less stressful driving?
- Are you more frustrated by slow highway traffic or crowded street traffic? Some people prefer the streets so that they can start and stop, while others prefer the slower crawl (but let’s face it – none of us actually PREFERS one or the other – it’s just a matter of which is the lesser of two evils!). If one is especially stressful to you, could you reroute your commute to try the other instead?
- Are there specific people you’d rather not encounter during your commute? If so, are there ways (geographically or timing-wise) to avoid them?
- How about the opposite – are there people you could arrange to share your commute with – either in a carpool, via public transportation or even sharing a cup of coffee before work – who could markedly improve your day?
- If your commute is during the absolute worst hours as far as timing is concerned, is it possible that your work hours could be adjusted to fit a better time?
Adjusting your commute to help – and not hurt – your day can be an easy and effective way to improve your quality of life and work.