I was inspired to get this post up because we actually were on the road last week and spent at total of 8+ hours in the car driving to Dallas and back. It prompted me to share the ways I optimize my daily commute and ways I’ve been able to use that time more effectively. (Safely of course) The average commute time for Americans is 24 minutes. According to this interactive map, my average commute is 29 minutes +/- 4 minutes. I would say 35 +/- 4 minutes from door to door is more accurate. So everyday I spend approximately 1 hour traveling in my car. I go to work 4 days a week, sometimes 5.
“An average commute guzzles up an estimated 20 hours a month in drive time!”
Turn the fucking radio off and start feeding your brain! What better way to optimize your otherwise wasted time than learning and thinking. Ever since I began listening to podcasts to and from work I’ve been much more productive at work. In the morning it just gets my brain jumpstarted. In the evening I’ll normally listen to something for more motivation or personal growth. I made this the first item because if you don’t read any more of this post, I’ll be happy. I think this is probably the #1 way to safely optimize your daily commute!
2. Utilize Siri
I’m 100% guilty for texting while driving in the past. Whether it be sending a text, typing out a reminder…responding to an email! I know it’s bad and now that Austin is hands free AND I have bluetooth, I have no excuses. I have a love/hate relationship with Siri. I’m a mumbler and she doesn’t like that. I’m also sarcastic and she doesn’t really get me. But lately I’ve been playing by her rules, using her commands to create my reminder lists, shoot people texts and set appointments for me. She’s winning me over. Just be sure to do it when you’re at a complete stop to avoid a nasty ticket.
3. Change Up Your Route
This is a weird one right? I’m not saying to change your route everyday. But if you’ve been driving the same exact way every single day for the past year or two. Try a different way. Turn a street early, take a different exit or try out Waze to see if you can get there a different (and maybe faster!) way. In doing this it will re-active your brain, forcing you to be present. You’ll instantly become more aware and this will carry through to the rest of the day. Maybe you’ll try something new at work or find a new way to complete a task that makes it 60% more efficient. Boom!
4. Take an Alternative Form of Transportation that Doesn’t Involve You Driving
If you are fortunate enough to live close to public transport or wealthy enough to hire a driver, do it! Get a mobile hotspot and start your work an hour early. Or do what I did on this drive, once I was done working for the night I working I got busy on CodeAcademy. Think of all the little resolutions and goals you’ve set for yourself if you had 16 hours each month dedicated just to that? Learn Spanish in the back of the bus, build a website in the back of an uber or write the next great work of fiction on the train into town.
5. Schedule Your Client and Personal Calls During this Time
Hi Mom! My bluetooth-enabled car gets a workout while I’m stuck in Austin traffic. (No bluetooth? Grab a pair of headphones and use just one earbud. Just please don’t use one of those clip-on bluebooth earpieces…please.) I can often knock out all those calls that I wasn’t able to make during the day. Or that I simply don’t want to make when I’m at home. This works well if you know you’re going to get put on hold. It’s not as painful AND you could listen to a podcast until you get through. A win-win.