How to Make a Daily Commute Productive (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Commuting to work involves regular transportation from your home to the workplace. Several organizations are adopting work-from-home policies, but many employees still commute to work daily. Learning tips to make this commute stress-free and productive may help increase your job satisfaction and performance at work. In this article, we discuss how to make a daily commute productive, share tips on doing this, and provide factors you may consider before accepting a job with longer commutes.

How to make a daily commute productive

Learning how to make a daily commute productive is essential to maintaining focus at work. Here are steps you may take to make your daily commute to work more effective:

1. Make preparations

Ensuring you have your work items ready the night before can be helpful. For example, you can reduce the activities to complete in the morning by arranging necessary items in your bag the night before. It's also a helpful tip for not forgetting essential items such as documents from work. You may also consider deciding on your work outfits and laying them out. Doing these minor tasks provides more time in the morning to focus on other activities. It can help you stay focused and prevent rushing.

2. Leave for work on time

Leaving early for work can help you arrive at work feeling stress-free, as it provides adequate time to prepare for the day mentally. This can also be a helpful strategy for managing unforeseen situations and delays, such as traffic. You can relax and overcome possible commuting fatigue before starting the activities for the day. This helps increase your productivity level at work and can impress your supervisor or manager. Preparing your work items the previous day and going to bed early are practical tips to help ensure you leave for work early.

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3. Make strategic decisions

Being strategic can help you make informed choices to help ensure a comfortable ride. For example, you can research shorter routes you can take to arrive at work early. From experience, you can predict days with heavy traffic and leave earlier on such days to avoid the traffic. If there are available toll roads you can take to make your trip more manageable, you can analyze the cost and benefits of using such roads and make suitable decisions. If using public transport is a more comfortable commute option, you may consider researching to determine if they are available in the area.

4. Improve your comfort

A comfortable ride can make a longer commute manageable and less stressful. There are different entertainment and mood-uplifting practices to consider depending on your preferences. If you enjoy listening to music, you can choose to play your favourite genre or calming music to help improve your mood. You can also use a neck pillow to support your posture while driving for long times. This can help relieve neck strains and maintain a natural position during the drive.

If breathing in fragrance oils helps set your mood for the day, you may also consider packing a portable oil diffuser. Making your ride to work comfortably is a strategic tip for starting a productive day.

5. Consider public transport or carpooling

Carpooling is good for the environment, but it's also helpful for saving costs and relieving stress. If you have a colleague living close to you, or a friend going in the same direction as your workplace, you may consider carpooling with them. You can have an arrangement and alternate who drives every other week. Carpooling provides a partner you can converse with and allows you to relax during the ride. Public transportation is another option you may consider if driving long distances is too stressful for you.

Tips to help you manage stress during a long commute

Here are best practices to help manage your time and relieve stress during a long commute:

Pack beverages and snacks

This can be a helpful tip if you skip breakfast and don't drive to work yourself. You can consider having a quick snack on your trip to work. Snack recommendations you may consider packing for your commute to work include protein bars and snacks rich in fibre or grain. You can carry a travel mug with your coffee. By doing this, you can save the time it takes to make stops to get food or drinks on your way to work.

Take online classes

Depending on your interests, you can learn a skill by taking classes online during long commutes to work. Doing this can help you broaden your knowledge in different areas. If you're passionate about languages, it may be an ideal opportunity to take classes in your preferred language. You can opt for audio lessons if you intend to reduce your screen time. Taking online courses is helpful for gaining skills and knowledge relevant to advancing your career. This tip is beneficial if you carpool or take public transport to work.

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Complete tasks

Your commute time may be suitable for completing minor tasks. For example, you can send out reminders for a meeting, draft marketing e-mails to send to prospects, or revise a document you didn't complete initially. This can help you start your day early and reduce the tasks you intend to work on for the day. Consistently completing tasks that don't require high concentration may eventually provide you with more leisure time at work.

Related: How to Maintain a Positive Attitude at Work and Home

Consider engaging in leisure activities

You can create time to engage in activities you enjoy on your way to work. This can help you arrive at work feeling energetic. There are several leisure activities to choose from depending on your preferences. For example, if you enjoy reading, you can read your preferred genre to relieve stress. This can help stimulate your mind and increase your productivity levels. You may listen to audiobooks if you want to reduce your screen time.

Listening to podcasts is a leisure activity you may also consider, as it generally provides motivation for your day at work. If you enjoy playing recreational games such as chess, you may consider playing the mobile version of these games.

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Try to relax

A long commute can provide an opportunity to relax and increase your mental well-being. There are different relaxation options you can consider. If you're using public transport, you can try meditation as it creates self-reflection time. You can research relevant apps and videos that can help you meditate properly. If you're carpooling with a friend, a long commute to work may be ideal for taking a nap.

Factors to consider before accepting a job offer with a long commute

If you get a new job and you're considering if a long commute is worth the salary benefits, you can consider relevant factors to help you make a suitable choice. Here are factors to consider, especially if moving isn't an option for you:

Transportation method

You can research to discover the different transportation options available to you. For example, there may be public transportations such as buses, subways, and trains you can take to work. You can consider the cost effects of these commute options on your expected salary. If the only option available is driving to work daily, you can consider your driving abilities and how this longer commute may influence your job satisfaction and overall performance at the new job.

Cost and time

As longer commutes typically take more time, you can consider the job's commute time. This can help you calculate your time's worth to determine if it's a suitable decision to accept the job offer. Discovering how much it costs to commute longer distances can also help you make informed decisions. If you're driving or taking public transport, you can consider the financial impact and if your salary covers this cost. This can aid the salary negotiation process and help you make educated decisions.

Related: What to Consider When Relocating for a Job (With Tips)

Additional expenses

If you're paying for additional expenses such as toll services and parking, you may want to consider the cost-benefit implications. You can research or ask questions to discover if the company makes considerations for these extra expenses before considering the job offer. With your research findings, you can make better salary negotiations to help ensure the benefits of accepting a job with longer commutes outweighs the costs.

Proximity to other interests

You can have an interest in other activities while working. For example, if you intend to further your education to earn relevant qualifications, you can consider accepting the job offer if it's close to the desired institution. Your interests may also be other activities, such as a voluntary organization or club membership.

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