In a survey of 2700 workers from 27 different cities, Los Angeles was found to have the most stressful commute in the US. Having a raging commute is not necessarily a proud title to hold but it’s definitely something that’s become synonymous with Los Angeles. It’s noted that the average LA resident spends around 140 hours sitting in traffic each year. We wanted to take a look at different ways to make the most stressful commute in America a bit more palatable (besides just getting a nicer car):
Changing The Time You Commute
What tends to be the most congested part of the traffic consists of bumping into the load of cars that comes with rush hour. Although it could be more convenient to your sleep schedule to leave the house at 8, many other people agree with you and that becomes the issue. Try waking up a bit earlier and see if you can manage shifting your schedule in a way that allows you to commute during less congested times. Sometimes specific companies require services that must remain open during specific hours (think financial) but employers can sometimes be open to negotiating hours that will result in an overall happier and more productive employee. Maybe you can be relocated to a different office or if your commute is really wearing on you, consider looking for a new job closer to where you live. Changing where you live can be an option as well.
The Drive Itself
The reason that a long commute starts to wear on us is because we view the time as lost. As we’re sitting in traffic we begin to feel the opportunity cost of the things we could be doing instead of staring at someone’s bumper. Fortunately, technology is allowing us to start taking advantage of lost time with podcasts and other audio forms of entertainment and learning. There are countless podcasts out there that fit any niche that you can think of. Audiobooks are exploding as well. Maybe you’re a music fan. Take some time (before you’re in your car) and create or download some playlists of music that you’re looking to explore. Many family friendly cars come equipped with features such as CarPlay which allow you to connect your smartphone for ease of interaction.
Make Use of the Time
Apart from taking advantage of different entertainment options, use the time to focus on yourself. Maybe you could set up an arrangement to call a loved one or catch up with an old friend during the time spent commuting. Hands free phones in cars make things easier than ever. In addition to this you can use the time to center yourself and focus on the day ahead. You might not be able to eliminate the traffic itself but you can try and distract yourself from an inevitable annoyance that could potentially ruin your day.
Carpooling has the potential to affect your commute on a couple levels. Having someone on the drive with you can make things a bit more manageable. You could also switch the driving responsibilities every couple days or week if the act of driving itself is the part that’s driving you crazy. It also opens up the opportunity to take advantage of the HOV lane which can be a big time saver in certain scenarios. Sometimes change can be a good thing and if you like having someone else along for the ride to share the frustration, it can help lighten the load a bit.
Hopefully you don’t let your morning commute bring you down. In trying to optimize your time and keep your stress levels above water you can manage to make things a little better for yourself. Traffic might be something inevitable but it’s important to do what you can to limit its negative effects on your life.
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