The morning commute – it’s time-consuming, unenjoyable, and an inevitability for most of the workforce. From waking up early and dealing with traffic, unruly drivers, kids, and lunches, your mornings can be a chaotic scene even before you get to work. When you add that to the demands of the work day, it can leave you homesick.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can rescue yourself from a bad day by turning your commute into a positive experience. The key is to manage what’s in your control.
The biggest culprit of a miserable ride to work is traffic. Gridlock is never fun, nor is the way we seemingly hit every red light when we’re running late. Luckily, a lot of traffic concerns can be addressed with a little bit of planning.
First, try taking alternative routes. You may find one that has less traffic and gets you to work in a comparable time frame. The less you need to hit the brakes, the safer and less stressful your ride will be. Once you’ve considered all your options, decide on the route that works best for your commute.
Also, traffic apps are a great way to see how and when your ride will be the smoothest. Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps can help you track your route, show you traffic patterns, and even predict how long it will take to arrive. Download any one of them to get started.
No matter how you get to work – be it driving, bike riding, or mass transportation – you can use that time to be productive.
If you can put headphones on or turn up the volume in your car, you can feed your mind while on your commute. Podcasts are a great way to listen and learn. Pick a topic of interest, sit back, listen, and absorb.
Or, read a book – yes, even while you’re driving. There are many streaming services that now make it possible for you to hear an entire book. Keep up to date with the latest releases, brush up on a subject, or learn a new skill just by listening.
One of the best ways to turn your commute around is by incorporating a treat into the mix. When you know you have a long way ahead of you, give yourself something to look forward to.
Many of us enjoy a morning coffee. Why not make this your treat? Find your favorite coffee shop and schedule in some extra time to swing by and grab a cup. If you’d rather make coffee at home, make it special. Rich coffee and sweet creamers can turn even the most grueling commute into an enjoyable experience.
If coffee isn’t your thing, a new pair of shades for the morning sun, a warm blanket for the cold winter months, or a beautifully scented air freshener for your car can be the pick-me-up you need to start your day off right.
AnnaBeth is a contributing writer and media specialist. She regularly produces content for a variety of business and lifestyle blogs.