Conquering That Horrible Commute
I am one of the 151.3 million Americans who commute to work. Every day I wake up at 5:45, hit the road at 6:10, and clock in at 6:55. My ten hour shift ends at 4:30 and I arrive home at 5:15. Some days traffic congestion, traffic accidents, or bad weather extends the commute time from forty-five minutes to an hour and a half. One particularly bad day last year had me in my vehicle for two and a half hours one way. Two and a half hours. A three-year-old could probably crawl home faster!
When you spend so much time trapped in a freezing car in stop and go traffic, you are left wondering: is the commute worth it? Does the money you receive from your job, counterbalance the amount of time the commute steals from your personal life, your family, and your friends? After all, it’s hard enough to balance personal and professional life when you work from home.
When you add commute time into the mix, finding that balance becomes even trickier. So you can’t quit your job? At that point, we commuters have two options: find a new job or come up with tactics to decrease the pain from the commute.
The obvious solution is to contact a real estate agent and start looking for a house or apartment closer to your workplace. Relocating will cut commute time significantly or altogether. I realize that while this is a perfect solution on paper, life is messy. Not everyone can move. Family, friends, and home ownership, may make relocating nigh impossible. I suggest writing down the pros and cons with according monetary values included, if any. This way you can really look at the feasibility and practicality of such an option.
Between the gas money and the effort it takes to drive, driving alone to work is a pricey and tiring experience. You can eradicate both issues by locating a carpool buddy at work. Try to find someone who does not drive you crazy. A stress-filled car drive will only lead to further dissatisfaction. Once you locate your carpool buddy, you can split your gas expenditure in half and trade off on who has the task of driving. And if your lucky, you can use the carpool lane to cut down on commute time. There are also websites that provide carpool services. Make sure that you get enough information of a person before you get into their car.
Upgrade Your Vehicle
A poor vehicle is a recipe for a nightmarish commute. In the summer months, a quality air conditioning can transform your commute into a dream. In the winter, a strong heating system that blows the air to your feet can alleviate pain-filled drives. Before I started carpooling and before I replaced my air conditioning in my car, I dreaded my commute. In the summer, the heat suffocated. In the winter, my feet turned into feetsicles. After I got access to a good cooling and heating system, the commute became bearable.
Train and subway systems can transform your commute from a boring and tedious obligation to delightful downtime. Instead of watching out for drowsy drivers or incompetent truck drivers, commuters can pull out their e-readers, music, tablets, or computers for some distracting entertainment. Our editor, Abbi, claims that a [amazon template=product&asin=B00I15SB16] is a commuter’s bestfriend. I would do this, but Idaho’s public transportation system is woefully inadequate. I don’t have access to a train or subway system, only an expensive and slow bus system.
No one wants to commute. Unfortunately daily commutes are a reality. That reality does not need to take over your life, steal an obscene amount of your time and money, and batter you with intense, uncomfortable temperatures. You just need to take the steps to arrive at that point. Your commute will never improve without proactive change.