Two weeks ago I asked for some tips on how to cope with the commute to work. I received some really great advice, some of which I decided I’d try. Here’s what worked and what didn’t:
- Avoid highways; take local roads – I took a look at Google Maps and decided I’d take the only alternate route I could. I love it. About half of the route is hilly and tree covered with very little traffic and only a few stops. Once I approach the city things get a bit worse, but even that stretch of the new route is better than the old. I now pass a post office, a park, two Dunkin Donuts, several delis & cafes, as well as my bank – none of which I passed on my old route. It’s a slightly longer distance but without all the traffic it takes just as long to get to work. Great choice… and probably the best advice given to me.
- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks – This might be good advice for some, but not for me. I already suffer from information overload. I have 4 email accounts linked up to my iPhone, RSS feeds to read on Google Reader, Twitter, 2 phone lines.. I need my driving time to be a time to turn off my brain and relax.
- Have an alternate route in case of traffic – Great advice. Fortunately I know the roads in my area very well, so I always know a few quick detours in case of severe traffic.
- Listen to Classical Music – I tried it, and it can work, but not always. Classical music is something I that I do enjoy, but have to be in the mood for it. I find that listening to music I enjoy is relaxing no matter what the genre.
- Jelly Bellies – Delicious.
- Ride the Bus – This is the one tip I haven’t tried yet, but will. I think taking the bus one or two days a week could be interesting.
- Leave earlier – I’ve begun waking up an hour earlier, around 630 AM. This leaves me time to cook breakfast, go for a walk or a run, bike, pay bills, do some reading or even go out for coffee if I want to. With the extra time I’ve allowed myself I’ve found that I’m usually able to leave for work about ten minutes earlier every day.. making run-ins with traffic less of a hassle.
Overall, with all the minor changes I’ve made I’m feeling much better about my drive to and from work. It’s still not perfect, but a huge improvement. If you have any other great advice about improving the commute, please share.