Many people dread their daily commute. Long hours in the car, battling traffic, decreased hours at home or with family. So what’s the up side? As a commuter from the Northshore to New Orleans, my drive time is about an hour each way to Gambel’s office on Metairie Road, and, yes, there is always traffic. However, I truly look forward to my commute in the morning and in the evening.
Working in a fast-paced environment in all areas of life, the morning commute is a time to think, reflect and power-up for the day ahead. I am not really a morning person, so my commute time forces me to take an hour to myself that I otherwise would have rushed through. The evening is perfect for catching up with friends and family or decompressing after a long day. This is how I spend my commute time, and I have a few tips on how your commute can be your favorite time of the day as well:
- Meditation: There is a wonderful app called Insight Timer that I use religiously every morning. You can choose how long you would like to meditate, a guided meditation for stress, motivation or creativity and performance and simply relax for the duration of the meditation. I like to start my mornings with a 20-30 minute meditation and the causeway views make for a perfect serene backdrop.
- Podcasts: Following a meditation, I like to switch over to one of my favorite podcasts. Choose whatever is right for you, but I promise, if you are engrossed in a wonderful conversation or a motivational speaker, you’ll wish your commute were even longer! A few of my favorites: How I Built This, Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, TriPod: New Orleans at 300, This American Life.
- Audiobooks: If podcasts aren’t for you, why don’t you try making a dent in your reading list? I don’t know about you, but I rarely make time for reading unless it’s right before bedtime (in which case, it might take me months to finish a single book). Your commute is the perfect time to listen to that audiobook you’ve been dying to read! Whether it’s a thrilling mystery or an interesting nonfiction, audiobooks give you the opportunity to educate yourself during your drive. Try the Audible app or download books from your local library for free.
- Custom Playlists: If you’re a music person, why not try to create a custom playlist timed perfectly for your morning commute? Make multiple playlists for every mood or one that gets you pumped up for work and keeps your energy up on the drive home. Spotify and Apple Music allow you to download your playlists so they won’t buffer even if your internet is out of range.
- Catch up with Friends and Family: If you struggle to keep up with friends and family (on top of the million other things you have going on), the evening commute is the perfect time to give that person a call. You can even make a list and check them off daily to make sure you aren’t leaving anyone out.
- Manage Expectations: One last tip. Someone told me this a long time ago and it has stuck with me. This can relate to all areas of life, as well as public relations and your daily commute. Managing expectations is the key to happiness. You can’t expect to get to the office in exactly 45 minutes every day, or expect that no one will cut you off in traffic or that you won’t get stopped by a train. Instead, you should expect the unexpected and give yourself ample time to arrive to your destination. Expect that there will be delays, rude people and unplanned accidents. If you keep this mindset and you happen to get to the office 15 minutes early, it’s just an added bonus!
Do you commute to work? Is it a pain or do you enjoy the time to yourself? What’s your favorite tip for those of us who travel daily?