The average American spends more than 50 minutes per day commuting – adding up to 26.5 billion hours per year! So maybe it is time to ask “How will we make sure that time isn’t wasted?”
Here are five sure-fire ways to make the most out of our commutes:
1. Set Goals for the Day
This isn’t just about occupying a few minutes you would have spent listening to Top 40. Setting goals and achieving them gives you a sense of efficacy, which is a prime source of job satisfaction. Thomas Oppong, author of Building Smarter Habits, suggests “Start your day by working on the projects that inspire you most and you will be more productive and achieve your goals faster.” Can Katy Perry help you do that?
2. When Getting from A to B, Leave Time for C
Thomas Merton said, “Rushing through life is a form of violence.” Not that you have to convince someone who commutes on a regular basis. Which is why leaving early can be so empowering. Rushing increases stress and lowers happiness. But even an extra five minutes – enough to grab a coffee if you want – puts you back in control.
3. Drive Yourself Smarter
Human beings originally learned through listening, not reading. A study by the University of Southern California revealed that if you commute 12,000 miles a year you can acquire the equivalent of two years college education in three years’ time by listening to educational information. In addition to eBooks, an app like Otto Radio can help you stay ahead of the curve by listening to the latest news, podcasts and articles while you commute.
4. Variety Is the Spice of Commuting as Well
Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” It’s worth noting that Ralph wasn’t much of a commuter. Be that as it may, changing up the details of your daily commute will keep you fresher, more alert and make the entire experience more rewarding. Change your route. Change your station. And you may just change your frame of mind.
5. Actually, Misery Abhors Company
The cure for your commute may just be friends and family. Not all of us can carpool, but your next traffic jam might be just the excuse you need to call your mother. Or your best friend from fifth grade. Or your favorite professor from college. Find someone new to call each time you commute and you’ll be on the road to a happier, healthier and, quite possibly, longer life.
Every minute and every mile, we have the ability to turn our commute into a journey full of new ideas, humor and fresh ways to look at the world.
Email us if an idea here helped or if there’s a suggestion you’d like to add to our list.
Drive safe and happy trails!