Life Hacks

Life Hacks for Your Morning Commute

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We all have our early morning routines. Depending on the circumstances, these routines can involve getting the kids ready for school, tending to various pets, a light workout and of course, coffee. Once we’ve worked through our morning to-do checklist, we’re ready to dive full force into our workday. Then everything comes to a screeching halt. That’s because you’re now stuck in traffic during your morning commute.

The stress starts building. You can actually feel your blood pressure spiking. By the time you get to work, you’re in a foul mood. This is not the way to start the day. Sadly, it is how most of us start every day. Is there are better way to deal with that morning commute? Of course there is, and we’ve got the life hacks that will transform your daily drive. Even putting one of these hacks into operation could be a game changer.

Take The Road Less Traveled

You probably have mapped out the most efficient route to work. Of course, that route only works if there is no traffic. If you always face traffic congestion, then perhaps it is time for an alternate route. This might mean building in some extra time to make the trip. However, if you can find a scenic route that won’t keep you in bumper-to-bumper traffic, then you’ll be amazed at how calming it can be.

Take in a Podcast

There is a wide world of audio entertainment waiting for you to tap into. This would be the vast array of podcasts. For those that don’t know, podcasts are self-contained radio shows dealing with specific topics. You can listen to experts talk about money, romance, travel or nerd stuff. As an added bonus, many of the podcasts are free through iTunes. Listening to these podcasts can make your commute go smoother.

Take Public Transportation

This is definitely a geographic specific kind of hack. In other words, taking public transportation only works if you have access to it and it makes sense. Until we get to the point where our cars drive themselves, public transportation is a viable alternative for your morning commute. You can read, catch up on emails and listen to your podcasts without much distraction. Plus, you would be doing your thing for the environment.

Take a Carpool

There might be a carpool at your job that you can dive into. The best carpools have a starting point that is neutral for all the riders. In other words, you won’t have to go around making pickups and drop-offs. The carpool lets you take care of some business en route and allows you to get to know your fellow workers. That could be a good thing or a bad thing. Choose your poolers wisely.

Take a Listen to a Book

Do you feel like you’re missing out on a lot of good reading? Audio books are a great way to catch up on the new bestsellers and revisit a classic or two. There are subscription services like Audible that work as a kind of Netflix for audio books. There are plenty of titles to pick from, too.

Take Notes

This doesn’t mean you should jot down sites along the way. Instead, why not adapt one of the many note-taking apps for your own thought gathering? This is a great way to organize your day or even dictate a memo or two.

Take a Call

It goes without saying that you can make plenty of hands-free phone calls while commuting. In addition to scheduling business calls for the drive, why not use the time for personal calls? If there are folks in different time zones that you want to connect with, then the morning commute is the perfect time.

Take a Different Method to Work

Perhaps biking is part of your weekend. Why not make it part of your workweek? Again, this would be a geographic-specific hack, but if you are close enough to your job that biking makes sense, then go for it. Just make sure you do it when it makes the most sense. You don’t want to bike on the day of a big meeting.

Take a Work-at-Home Day

If your company allows you to work from home, then embrace that concept. What if home means distractions? You can always grab your laptop and find a place with Wi-Fi like a coffee shop or library. You might be surprised how quickly you can get your work done by working at home. Obviously, you get back all the time you would normally spend in traffic. That’s a very good thing, indeed.

Take a Call From a Realtor

The biggest morning commuter hack you could make is eliminating the commute altogether. That might mean moving closer to your job. If you have the job security, why not consider a move? It could be a terrific way to invigorate your lifestyle.

The ultimate goal with these hacks is to get you in a good place so you can be productive at work. All it takes is one instance of road rage to ruin your day. Is it time to change your commute game?

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and career blogger. She is also the founder of Punched Clocks, where she shares advice about finding happiness and success in your career. Follow her on Twitter @SarahLandrum and subscribe to her blog newsletter for more great tips.

  • Jane

    Some really nice tips here, but there is one I strongly disagree with. You should never talk on the phone or text when driving, it doesn’t matter if it’s hands-free, it’s too distracting.

  • Sarah Landrum

    I agree 100% Jane! An occasional hands-free call is okay, as long as you’re able to focus on driving. I would only advocate texting/emailing when you’re using public transportation- never behind the wheel!