So your commute is a prison sentence

As stated in my last post, I just moved. I also started my new job this week! Today is day 3 and I have been reminded in no uncertain terms that areas with lots of jobs and things to do also have lots of traffic.

My commute is honestly not too bad. It takes be about 25 minutes to get to work and about 35 to get back — but it would be 17 with no traffic. Yesterday after getting home I realized I needed to run to the ATM. Except that 3-mile roundtrip venture took 30 minutes. Needless to say, I have not been stoked with the traffic so far, and I’m really wishing my drive looked more like the picture above.

I’ve had commutes before (my last job was a 35-minute drive from my house), but I was lucky enough to be on the road at off-peak times. No longer. So for those who may also be subject to traffic or commutes (I realize many are longer than mine), there are things to help it suck less.

  • Jam out. My standby is to listen to one of the 15+ CDs I keep in my car, and sing along until I am no longer annoyed by all the brake lights in front of me.
  • Listen to something else. My mom really likes listening to audiobooks, and while that’s not my cup of tea, I really enjoy podcasts on longer drives.
  • Call somebody. This one isn’t always feasible, but if you have a friend or family member who you’re able to call while you drive, it will make the time go way faster. Plus then you’ve already caught up with them and there is less on your to-do list when you get home.
  • Think things through. I’m a hardcore planner, so I’m often thinking aloud about the upcoming week or what I need to do, but also sometimes I just play out hypothetical conversations (don’t pretend you never do).
  • Run errands. If you can stop somewhere on the way and let some of the traffic die down, it can be well worth it (as long as you’re not late to wherever you’re headed!).
  • Bring a treat. Having a favorite snack or drink — I tend to go for tea and pretzels — balances the scales a bit in terms of enjoyment and annoyance.
  • Research other routes. If your route has a ton of traffic, see if there are other paths that will let you skip some of it. A 2-minute difference might not be worth it, but a 10-minute one well could be.
  • Road rage doesn’t do anybody good, and after living in LA for 4 years I am rather prone to snarky comments while driving, but I promise it’s still better to take it easy.

What is your favorite way to make commutes less bothersome? Let me know in a comment below, on Twitter @ohgrowup, or Instagram @oh.grow.up! (Seriously, I could use more ideas.) Thanks for reading, and good luck adulting!

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