Last year at this time, I was struggling. I was in the midst of planning my wedding, commuting three hours daily and exhausted. Making the switch to commuting was a huge adjustment that I struggled with for quite some time. I distinctly remember desperately searching online for tips on how to make commuting easier. I also remember reading this article on how commuting makes you fat and thinking I was doomed.
A year later, I’m feeling much better. My commute has not changed, but I’ve found ways to make my commute work for me.
1. Leave Early: Start your day off on the right foot by leaving early than you need to. I tend to aim for my earliest train so I have a fallback incase something happens. Nothing sucks more than having to sit through a commute knowing you’re going to be late.
2. Accept the Inevitable: Some days are going to be a pain in the butt. Weather happens, traffic happens, issues happen. When you can’t change something, it’s time to accept it and move along with your day.
3. Dress Accordingly: Nothing is worse than spending your commute wet, cold or sweating. Plan accordingly and check the weather BEFORE you leave the house.
4. Get Organized: I spend a lot of my weekend getting ready for the next week. I like coming home to a clean and organized space, so I do the majority of my housework on the weekends. Then I do not have to worry about it during the week. I’ve also learned to spend a few hours in the kitchen during the weekends prepping food for the week. After a long day, those hours are worth it when I have dinner ready in 10 minutes or less.
5. Make it your “me” time: When I started using my commuting time to do things I enjoy, it felt like I was owning my commute, not like my commute was owning me. I use this time to check my personal e-mail, read blogs and relax.
6. Be polite: Say hi to people, say thank you, let people cut ahead of you in line. You’ll have good karma and it’ll make you feel generally better about life.
7. Treat Yourself: Get yourself an electronic device like an iPad, wireless internet service or magazines and bring along coffee or a drink you like. If you’re going to spend a substantial time commuting, it makes sense to invest in things that will help you make it more enjoyable.
8. Give yourself something to look forward to: I use my ride into the office to wake up, drink my coffee and gear up for the day ahead. On the way home, I like to give myself something to look forward to after my day is done. A delicious dinner, your favorite show, time to read and time to relax are some things you may look forward to. This makes me feel like my commute is productive and moving me forward, not just wasted time.
9. Find a way to decompress: At times my commute wears me out. I’ve learned to use my evenings and weekends to decompress.
10. Keep the work/life balance: I used to keep working on the train but I quickly learned that wasn’t healthy. Now, I shut down when I leave work and use the commute as my time to relax. I let the day go and spend the time doing things I want to do.
Now, I want to hear about your commute! Tell me how long you commute, what you take to work and how you make it work for you. This is something that is vastly different depending on the person, so I would love to hear!