At one point in time I had a super commute. 75 to 120 minutes each way, based upon traffic, weather, and highway collisions. It is a terrible way to spend precious time, but sometimes circumstances for us to do what we have to. The following are some strategies for surviving a super commute.
Manage your expectations
My daily commute would often take 75 to 90 minutes each way, but circumstances could make it as long as two hours. One strategy I found to reduce some stress was to manage my expectations. I would start the drive with the belief it would take two hours, so I could then be happy when it was less time. It is amazing how relative time is, and managing expectations on the front end reduces stress on the back end.
Expand your knowledge with books and podcasts
While it is not fun to be trapped within a vehicle for long periods of time, it does present an opportunity to make good use of the time being spent. There were many podcasts I enjoyed listening to on a variety of topics, and I felt my knowledge was expanded as a result. I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to narrated books I purchased through Audible. My super commute did provide the opportunity to catch up on many of the books on my must-read-list.
Maintain connections with your extended circle
Many of us have a small circle of people we routinely communicate with, and a much larger circle of old friends and acquaintances we wish we kept in better touch with. The time spent during a super commute can enjoyably be spent having phone conversations with our more extended social network. Most of the people I called were happy to talk, and expressed they wished they had made the time to be the one to pick up the phone and make the call. This strategy turns otherwise wasted time into meaningful social interaction.
Take some time to think
Sometimes it is just best to turn off the radio, phone, or audio book and just spend some time thinking. It was during my super commute I was able to conceptualize this blog, and brainstorm ideas for interesting posts. The quiet time alone provided a good opportunity for some introspection about a variety of topics, such as politics, life, and future goals. We are often surrounded by distractions, so I felt the time committed to my commute to be beneficial for focusing on my own self-actualization.
A super commute is never easy, but these strategies can help alleviate some of the discomfort. With any luck, your super commute is only a temporary situation, like mine was for a little over a year. In the meantime, safe travels!