The average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And while your travel time may be about 30 minutes, the journey doesn’t come without issues, obstacles, and stress. The impact of your trip to work can have serious effects on your well-being, including increased anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure.
Regardless of your commute’s specific stresses, you can re-frame the way you view your morning pilgramage to make it more productive and as stress-free as possible, here are some tips on how to best utilize the time it takes for you to trek to your workplace:
Traffic, delays, and misconnections are out of your control. However, you can start a ritual the evening before to ensure you wake up as prepared as possible. This includes taking specific measures so you can wake up in a calmer mood. Prepare your breakfast and lunch the night before, and pick out your outfit right down to the socks you will wear. If you enjoy a coffee before work, set your timer so it’s ready when you wake up. Then you don’t need to pick one up on your way to the office, saving both time and money. By being proactive and time conscious about your morning routine, you can remove the inevitable panic that sets in as you’re heading out the door.
Try To Relax
Different people unwind in a variety of ways. Whether it’s by immersing yourself in a good book or listening to your favorite album, use the time to shut out the world and escape. Realizing there is little you can do to take control of what’s happening around you, you can take advantage of the time to compose yourself and set up mentally for a more relaxing start to the day.
Even with the best intentions, travel plans can go awry. By leaving your house fifteen minutes earlier, you are giving yourself the best chance to avoid the morning rush and make it to work on time. Choose a dependable mode of transport. If you usually take the train but it’s been slowing down recently, try opting for the bus if it will get you to work on time – even if it means you will have to walk a little further or leave a little earlier. Choosing an option where you don’t have to make connections will also take the stress out of trying to catch your next train or bus in time.
Stay Informed About Traffic Issues
If you drive to work, try to stay on top what’s happening on your route to work. Sitting in gridlock morning rush hour traffic will do little to help your anxiety. Download a traffic app such as Beat the Traffic. It will keep you posted on traffic speeds, snarls and weather conditions, and alert you if anything changes while you’re on the road. Check the app as soon as you wake up so that you can prepare for any possible delays and leave earlier if needs be to reroute and avoid the jams.
Check your work emails on the way in, and make a mental note of the day’s tasks ahead of you. Prepare for your meetings by reviewing material and coming up with topics to speak about. This means by the time you get to your desk you will have already come up with an action plan of objectives to achieve for the day. Or you could use the time to even clear out your email inbox so that you’re not so overwhelmed when you get to your desk.
Cycle To Work
Cycling to work can be a great way to avoid crowded public transportation or parking fees. It’s also a great way to get in some early morning exercise. The adrenaline rush of exercise will help boost your productivity throughout the day. Even cycling during the summer months or once or twice a week is enough to see changes in your stress and productivity levels.
Take control over your journey, and learn more about the commuter apps available to you to help you plan better. A recent study shows that commuters who are connected to an app have an easier commute. For a selection of great commuter apps, click here!