Hack Your Commute

Hack Your Commute

Last Updated November 17, 2016
Contents

Being stuck in traffic can leave a negative impression on your entire work day. You leave your house at the crack of dawn, seemingly earlier each morning, only to sit in the same jam every day. You wish you could take a train or a bus, but for many commuters, that’s not an option.

Keep reading to learn more about some ways you can hack your commute so you can be more productive and less frustrated.

[click the infographic below]

hack your commute infographic

If you live in or around one of these five cities, you’re dealing with some of the worst traffic in the entire country:

Worst Cities for Commuting

    Washington, D.C.
  • Yearly delay: 82 hours
  • Percent commuters that drive alone: 32
  • Percent commuters that use public transportation: 39
  • Percent commuters who walk: 14
  • Percent commuters who bike: 5
    Los Angeles
  • Yearly delay: 80 hours
  • Percent commuters that drive alone: 67
  • Percent commuters that use public transportation: 11
  • Percent commuters who walk: 4
  • Percent commuters who bike: 1
    San Francisco
  • Yearly delay: 78 hours
  • Percent commuters that drive alone: 36
  • Percent commuters that use public transportation: 33
  • Percent commuters who walk: 11
  • Percent commuters who bike: 4
    New York City
  • Yearly delay: 74 hours
  • Percent commuters that drive alone: 21
  • Percent commuters that use public transportation: 57
  • Percent commuters who walk: 10
  • Percent commuters who bike: 1
    Boston
  • Yearly delay: 64 hours
  • Percent commuters that drive alone: 41
  • Percent commuters that use public transportation: 33
  • Percent commuters who walk: 15
  • Percent commuters who bike: 2

If you do live in one of these cities, this is probably a large part of why your drive feels like hell on earth. In a Canadian study with 3,400 participants, commuters who had to deal with large, unpredictable volumes of traffic reported having "the worst quality of life.”

Technology to the Rescue!

128 million people in the US have a daily commute, but 78 percent of them drive alone. Don’t you think that would get boring and tedious, driving with only your thoughts or the radio for company? If you can’t carpool, technology can help you out. For example, you could listen to one of these popular podcasts:

“99% Invisible”: a podcast about interesting facts. You’ll learn everything from the design process of superhero costumes to a detailed history on revolving doors.

“Another Round”: a Buzzfeed podcast that discusses race, identity, and equality issues within pop culture and around the world.

“Reply All”: an exploration of the deep parts of the Internet.

You can also try these audiobook apps to listen to some literature on your way to work: Audible, Libravivox, and Librophile.

There are many hands-free apps that can keep your mind off the traffic. Try out Headspace, an app designed to keep you calm and focused. There's also Language Superstar, where you can learn a new language while you drive!

Staying Stress-Free

Don't blow a gasket right before a long work day! Try these activities to remain relaxed on the drive:

  • Sing to yourself! It releases endorphins that help you feel happy.
  • Think of all the things you have to be grateful for. This improves empathy and reduces aggression.
  • Make an audio journal. It can help you solve problems, clarify your feelings, and jot down those ideas that you never remember.
  • Follow the suggestions that work best for you, and before you know it, you'll be smiling all the way to work.
Hack Your Commute

Being stuck in traffic is probably never the most productive use of your time but, if you learn how to hack your commute, you can be more productive than your frustrated coworkers.