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Advice for Commuters

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I live in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, which has the fifth worst average commute time in the nation, at 26.5 minutes. But I’ve had jobs that required a hour-and-a-half commute each way, and that’s not unusual.

Commuting to work can create a great deal of stress, and that stress can bleed into your work life and your home life. But there are ways to make commuting easier.

Leave home much earlier than you usually have to leave. It may take you 45 minutes to get to work most mornings, but there is always going to be an accident, or construction, or a loose animal in the lanes, and the time of your commute doubles or triples. Unfortunately, employers often don’t care why you are late, just that you are late. So arrive early. Get some coffee. Be the first person at your desk — it’s very impressive.

Of course, if you have a family or other responsibilities, it may not be viable to give up even more of your time to your commute and employer.

Buy gas on your way home, at a regular location you use all the time. Never leave gas purchases to the morning — you’ll just make yourself late for work.

Listen to books on tape. You’re not going to learn anything from that wacky morning zoo radio show. Take advantage of the extra time each day to expand your horizons.

Don’t work in the car. Sure, you’re making up for lost time — until you die in a fiery crash because you had your BlackBerry jammed into one ear while you tried to take notes and drink from your Starbucks brushed-metal coffee mug. Work can wait until you get to work.

Carpool. Many employer offer incentives to workers who carpool. If you can find other employees who live in your general area, this is a great option.

But remember you are putting your arrival time in the hands of others. Make sure you have a back-up plan so you can get to work on time if the carpool driver bails. Make sure everyone in the carpool understands that if they can’t make it that morning, to give the others as much notice as possible.

Also, split the cost of gas evenly. Don’t try to get more money from people who live farther away, or break it down by mile, or try to charge for “wear and tear” on your car. Just split the costs evenly — it’s better for everyone.

Got any suggestions for commuters? Let us know in the comments!

Advice for Commuters by
Authored by: Erik Even

  • Cody

    I definitely agree with the carpooling suggestion. Not only is it a very green thing to do, but you can also get to work a lot sooner in carpool or express lanes.

    Here is my suggestion for carpooling. Instead of wasting gas to pick up every member of your carpool, which is also a big time-killer, have all members of your carpool meet up at a park and ride or a set location. That way, you can pick everyone up in one location and be on your way! Plus, how difficult is it to get to a park and ride in the morning?

    Also, leave home way earlier than usual so that you can get your coffee or read your newspaper at a place that is nearby your work. Even in walking distance. That way you can beat traffic and also be in a position where you can never be late.

    Good article!

  • nims

    I listen to audio books in my car on the way to work and it does keep my mind off of the traffic. It also keeps me current with my reading for pleasure and reading for information. I do not have as much time to read during my leisure time as I use to. The prices for audio books can be quite expensive but I have found downloading audio books from my public library saves me money. As long as I keep my library card current and do not have any overdue fees, I can download up to fifteen audio books at a time. Usually, the current New York times bestsellers are offered and the classics. My public library has audio books that can be downloaded from its internet site and many audio books in the traditional formats to check out from the main library and branch library sites. Most library systems now offer check outs for ebooks, downloadable audio books, and downloadable music from their web sites. If you like to listen to books while you are stuck in traffic, the library is a great resource to use to make sure you do not run out of audio books for your commute to work and back home every workday.

  • mtozeni

    wow! this is really informative. I didn’t know bosses didn’t care if you were late to work because of transportation problems such as conjestion in traffic.

  • prasad

    Thanks for your advice, all the advices you have given is very informative. I love to be the first person to come to office, My sincere advice is always try to manage your timings. The perfect time management gives better output.