For many Americans, the average work week not only encompasses 40 hours, but also the added time spent commuting back and forth. This can make finding work–life balance a daunting task. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on average, Americans spend more than 100 hours per year commuting. Add this up on a day–to–day basis, and often times you can be adding an extra hour or more per day to your work week, driving or on public transport.
While not everyone has the luxury of reducing or eliminating commuting time, it doesn’t have to be wasted time. There are a few strategies you can use to potentially "shorten" your commute, at least theoretically, and make it more enjoyable. Here are some suggestions you may want to consider as you make your way to work tomorrow.
Get lost in a good book. Reading is a great way to pass time and can help make your commute more pleasant. For those who drive, you may want to consider an audio book or a podcast. Choose a book that is fun, or opt for something more informative. It may be a good time to catch up with trade publications and books related to your job or career. Your commute is the ideal time to catch up on all the reading you’ve been meaning to do, but never have the time, which is why adding a good book to your commute can be both enjoyable and productive.
Make your commute a "workout". If you live closer to your office, consider using alternative modes of transportation. Can you bike to your office? Is your workplace within walking distance? If not, can you drive and park and then walk the rest of the way? While you may not want to make getting to work a job in–and–of–itself, if you incorporate your workout routine into your commute you not only get much needed exercise, you also reduce the time you must devote to your exercise regimen for the rest of the day.
Get a commuting buddy. Whether you ask a friend or colleague to join you, or decide to carpool, sharing commuting time with someone can make it much more enjoyable and less stressful. And if you choose to carpool, you have the added benefit of sharing the expenses of both gas and parking. The average household spent more than four thousand dollars last year on gas, and with this year’s gas prices tenuous, the cost may further increase in 2012.