How to Make the Best
of Your Daily Commuting

Being an office employee often comes with a price. Leading a sedentary lifestyle, following the dress-code, or having to deal with workplace toxicity – lots of attributes of an office job are so far from being perfect. But for many employees, daily commuting is one of their most tedious routines.

How much time do people actually spend commuting?

If you stop for a moment to think about how much time people actually spend on commuting, the results might shock you. Let’s take an example of the time an average commuter in the USA spends to get to work – it’s 30 min.

30 minutes is not that long of a commute for a big city, but watch what happens over the course of time:

  • One-way trip is 30 minutes.
  • One day means 1 hour of commute.
  • A whole workweek is 5 hours.
  • A month – 20 hours.
  • A year – 240 hours or 10 full days of commuting, and that’s if you’re lucky to live close enough to the office!

Can you imagine going somewhere for 10 days straight? That’s by half longer than the famous Trans-Siberian railroad trip and three times more than what it takes for a spacecraft to get to the Moon.

And yet, with all this time people spend commuting each year, little to no one actually enjoys their daily commutes. Rather, it is seen as a necessary evil of employment in a nicer company.

The ideal solution to a commuting issue is not to have to commute at all. However, when facing a choice between two employment opportunities, people usually choose the one that is better paid even if it requires longer travelling hours, yet, longer commuting time has quite high accumulated costs.

Let’s have another example of a person having two job offers: one with income $64,000 and a 20 min commute and another with $67,000 with a 50 min commute. An obvious choice would be to take a better paid job, but let’s take a closer look. As you recall from the previous example, 30 extra commuting minutes result in 240 hours by the end of the year. With the rate of 67k per year, 240 working hours or 30 8-hour work days equal to a complete month of vacation or a nice yearly bonus. However, with that schedule, this time won’t get any recognition by the employer as it is not actually included in your work time balance.

So, how do you make this time worth? Is there a way to make commutes more tolerable and maybe even somewhat pleasant?

3 ways to animate your daily commute

Very often people don’t have the choice, and commuting is unavoidable. Then, instead of seeing your commute as precious time lost from your day, look at it as an opportunity to have that much-needed you time. Whether you’re travelling by car or by public transport, there are many ways to animate your trip.

Add physical activity

Office job leaves little room for physical activity, and one should demonstrate some serious discipline and motivation to pair it with regular visits to the gym. If you’re struggling to find time for exercise, adding some motion to your commute is a great workaround.

Being highly ecological, cycling is widely promoted in big cities with a variety of measure taken by the government: from special taxation schemes for employers to holding a National Bike-to-Work Day. By the way, in the US it’s every May 17th.

In many companies, people organize cycling clubs, and travel to work together. Ask around - maybe there is one in your company, and if not, you can be the one to start the movement.

But if cycling is not your thing, there are many other kinds of individual transport to animate your mornings without breaking a sweat. For instance, hoverboards, or self-balancing smart scooters, require practice, but once you master it, getting to the train station will never be the same.

It’s also important to remember, that exercise does not require any gear. A simple 20-min walk to the subway instead of a 5 min bus ride can add the necessary motion to your day. Of course, it extends your commuting time, but at the end of the day, the time you spend on your health is always worth it.

Learn, learn, learn

If you’re looking to master a new skill, learn a foreign language, or work out a new habit, use your commuting time for it. Not all skills can be practiced on the go, but with the help of various mobile apps there is a lot to be done even if you have limited time at hand.

Udemy is one of the many learning platforms for professionals around the world. It features the world’s largest selection of courses in software development, design, personal development, marketing, photography and many more. With its mobile app, you can practice anywhere and anytime.

If you want to learn a foreign language, try out one of the special language learning apps. For example, Babbel, an award-winning App Store best-seller, is a guaranteed way to learn conversational language by spending as little as 20 min every day. Being convinced of the app’s teaching potential, the provider offers a full money-back guarantee.

Develop healthy habits

Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon from the 1950s, noticed that it takes his patients 21 days to get used to their new look after surgery. Later on, this discovery was applied in psychology where it took its popular form: researchers concluded that it takes people around 21 days to form a new habit. Whether it’s refraining from coffee, or going to the gym, after 21 simultaneous days of applying the necessary actions to practice, your behavior gains consistency.

If you’re looking to develop a new healthy habit yourself, you can take advantage of this formula. Its most important component is regularity, and daily commuting is what can ensure it.

Manage personal finances

One of the healthy habits that many people are struggling to develop is being careful with finances and managing one’s budget. If that’s just as much about you, try out one of personal budget apps, for example, HomeBudget. It helps you track your spendings, set goals, save easier, and stay aware of what you spend your money on for better prioritization.

For example, you can set up a reminder to register all your receipts in a budget app on your way from work or plan your weekly budget every Monday morning.

Read

Reading is another great thing to spend your free time on, but as it often happens, it’s hard to find time for it with a full-time job and household duties. Reading on public transport is one of the popular time-killers, and you won’t believe how much you can accomplish if you do it for 20 minutes every day.

In case you’re traveling by car, audiobooks can be a legitimate substitute for printed books and mobile reading devices. And if you’d like some extra motivation, take part in the GoodReads reading challenge for 2019.

Summing up

Commuting is often seen as a necessary evil of having an office job, thus, it often feels like the time you spent on it is lost from your day. However, it’s only a matter of perspective. There are many ways to make this time worth, from exercising to learning, and it’s only up to you what to do with it: spend an hour on 9gag or do something that leaves an impact on your life.

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