When COVID-19 reared its ugly head and radically changed daily life, it gave bloggers and content marketers a new prize topic in the form of remote working. There’s a lot to cover, certainly: everything from dealing with solitude to communicating effectively online. But all this talk from media figures can give the false impression that everyone is now working from home. In truth, there are still plenty of people needing to deal with the daily commute.
Medical personnel, retail staff, factory workers: they can’t just work from home offices (most of the time, at least). No matter how bad infection rates get or how many other services shut down, they’re tasked with getting up each day and hitting the road. If you’re in that position, of course, then you already know what it’s like to keep going during such tricky circumstances.
Continuing to commute does have some positives, such as reducing the cooped-up frustration of lockdown life, but there’s no way to make it preferable for most. Even so, there are ways to make it better. In this post, we’re going to look at some tips for better commuting. Let’s begin.
Queue up some podcasts
Listening to music while commuting is always great, but what about checking out some podcasts? The nice thing about that option is that it allows you to learn things during time that would otherwise largely be wasted.
It’s as simple as picking out a topic that you’d like to explore, finding some suitable podcasts (just search the web for relevant lists), downloading a handful of episodes, and cycling in new material whenever necessary. Trust us, your commute will go much quicker when you’re either learning or laughing out at a podcast.
Look for different routes
If you’ve been making the same commute for a long time, you’re surely settled into a groove that’s comfortable but boring. So why not change things up by looking for alternative routes?
Even if your current option is the most efficient and economical (and worth using most of the time), it’s good to deviate from the norm on occasion and take the scenic route. Use another road, take a different train: improvise.
Carpool with a colleague
Yes, carpooling is significantly trickier when there’s a pandemic getting in the way, but no amount of protective gear will prevent the average worker from passing an infection to their colleagues if they work in reasonably-close proximity. In other words, if you’re spending every weekday in someone’s company, there’s not much point in trying to shield yourself from them (disclaimer: this is not medical advice).
So if you live reasonably close to one such colleague and at least one of you drives to work (or can drive to work), then give carpooling a shot. Having someone to talk to during the journey might make it significantly more pleasant.
Get up slightly earlier
When you work a long day, you can get into the habit of cutting it as short as possible, and one way to do this is by getting up at the last minute. Maybe your train or bus is always a few minutes late, or you know nearly exactly how long your drive will take door-to-door — so you don’t bother getting out of bed until you know you’re going to have just enough time to get ready and head out.
The problem is that this leaves you in a bad mood for the journey — and if you’re driving, this will almost definitely result in road rage. If you start getting up a little earlier, it’ll remove the rush and the resulting sense of panic, allowing you to relax somewhat.
Make plans to anticipate
It’s always nice to have things that you can look forward to, even if they’re reasonably simple.
Given how easy it is to become irritated during a commute (something as commonplace as a pedestrian walking slowly can set you off when you’re in a foul mood), it’s smart to have plans for your evening before you start your day.
It could be a TV show you intend to watch, a meal you’re going to eat, or a game you’d like to play. It just needs to be something you can enjoy anticipating so you have something to think about during the boredom of your commuting time.
Invest in good headphones
Whether you want to check out some podcasts, stick with music, or mix things up, your experience is going to be heavily shaped by the equipment you’re using — and few things can ruin a commute more than a terrible pair of headphones. That podcast you wanted to listen to is nothing but an indistinct blur with the chatter and engine noise all around you.
If you’re in a car, of course, then the built-in audio system might suffice — but if you’re using public transport, noise-cancelling headphones are must-haves. Having the ability to mostly drown out the cacophony (already reduced due to fewer people commuting, but still notable) will prove hugely beneficial to your satisfaction and general wellbeing.
Find ways to gamify it
People have been coming up with games to help road trips go by faster for centuries. You can follow in their footsteps by finding ways to gamify your commute.
You could focus on external events if you prefer: for instance, you could count every blue car you see and casually chart them by area. Not for any particular reason, of course, but just to have something to do.
Alternatively, you could set challenges for yourself. You could aim to beat your best journey time, or maintain a steady pace, or reach a certain number of steps. Anything that engages your mind and cuts through the typical tedium will freshen things up substantially.
Follow these seven easy steps and you’ll improve your daily commute in no time at all. Happy commuting!