Tips To Improve Your Daily Commute

how to improve work commute drive

You've probably heard of many negative experiences related to the daily commute. Perhaps you have gone through some of these experiences yourself and there are days that you feel reluctant to go to work just because of the commute. Maybe you have started feeling like the daily commute is getting longer or even worse. But regardless of how you feel about your daily commute, you shouldn't lose hope. 

The Facts And Figures 

From the year 2000, the average distance from an employee's home to their workplace has increased each year in the United States. 

Globally, people spend an average of 76 minutes in one day commuting. This translates to approximately 300 hours annually or about 35 workdays. 

Commutes of 3 or more hours per day have risen by 75% while those exceeding 2 hours per day have risen by 72% in the U.K. 

The 2009 U.S. census revealed that 86% of employees drive to work, 5% use public means of transport, while approximately 3% walk or cycle to work. 

For most employees, the commute is considered the worst part of their day. 

What Are The Effects Of A Long Commute? 

Many employees probably have a long list of all the downsides of a long commute. Increased stress levels are one of the most common negative effects. And being stressed about your job and the commute can cause you to feel demotivated, show up to work late, become more absent at work, and can even cause you to quit. 

The long commutes can even put a strain on your relationships, as they can leave you with very little time for you and your partner or friends. The lack of a proper social life often leads to employees feeling more depressed and isolated. 

Given that the vast majority of employees don't walk or bike to work, the extra hours of sitting combined with the higher stress levels increase the risk of higher cholesterol, weight gain, and higher blood pressure. 

This is definitely a major cause for concern. Even though most people cannot avoid the commute, there are some steps you can take to survive and even thrive in the daily commute. 

How To Survive The Commute 

Most people choose to distract themselves while commuting. This can be through listening to music, playing a game, reading a book, or other activities that help them get their minds off their current situation. The following are some tips on how to survive the commute. 

- Walk or bike when possible as this helps to improve your mood and health. 

- Instead of driving, consider taking the train as this can help lower your stress levels and improve your mood. 

- Pay attention to your posture to avoid shoulder, back, and back complications. 

- Choose more comfortable shoes during the commute to reduce fatigue. 

- When it comes to snacks, consider more healthy options to care for your health and avoid feeling hungry. 

- If possible, commute with friends to avoid feeling isolated. 

- You can also learn a new skill, technique, or language to motivate yourself and make you feel motivated. 

- Create a playlist comprising happy or relaxing music to help you destress during the commute. 

- Consider meditating as it can help you to feel more relaxed and centered when beginning or completing your workday. 

- Read a book or do puzzles to stay alert and ready for work. 

Even though a little distraction or change of pace can be beneficial, relevant research indicates that simply surviving doesn't translate to the happiest commute. 

Perception Is Reality 

Same as with many other aspects of our life, how we perceive and think of commuting has a huge impact on how we interpret and react to it. 

According to research conducted by Jon Jachimowicz and other researchers at Colombia Business School, employees who have a negative perception of the commute will often look for a distraction to divert their minds from it. However, they discovered that this can have actual negative effects. This is mainly because the view that commuting is something unpleasant often causes feelings of frustration, unhappiness, and fatigue. 

While distracting yourself and surviving the commute may seem like the most viable option, given the fact that there is already an unfavorable aspect of your daily life that needs distraction from, regardless of what you do during the commute, there will always be negative effects. 

With this in mind, having a positive mindset is key. To achieve long-term happiness, you need to view the commute in a positive light. 

Thriving: Learn To Love The Commute 

Thriving is all about switching from the mindset that the commute is a waste of time to the mindset that the commute is a time to reflect, plan, and set goals. Consider the commute as a time to transition from home life to work mode. 

When you plan out the day and the various tasks involved, you will be more prepared for challenges and be in a better position to deal with them. Planning leads to a more structured and productive day, allowing for more time to relax and complete tasks without unnecessary pressure. This way you will also have more self-discipline and control to utilize these commute strategies all through the day. 

All in all, having a positive mindset and following these strategies will help to minimize stress and increase job satisfaction. If you struggle with stress visit

Learning To Thrive 

While some people may not initially have the level of self-control needed to thrive during the commute, research has revealed that this skill can be learned. 

Referring back to the Jachimowicz study, participants were divided into 2 groups. The first group got text message reminders from managers to distract themselves but also plan out their day. The second group got messages to record whatever they did in the commute every day. 

The results showed that the group that was asked to plan a little when commuting, were generally happier with their jobs and less fatigued after commuting by car, train, bus, bike, or boat. The intervention was found to benefit all people, regardless of if they had high self-control or not. This study has revealed that employees can learn to focus on work when commuting and this can lead to improved job satisfaction. 

Keep these tips in mind to thrive while you drive!

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