4 Ways to Commute with Purpose
I recently started a bike gang. Okay, okay, it’s not really a bike gang. I finally moved into my house and got settled, which meant that my routine could take shape, and now I can bike to work because I live 2 miles away—not 45 miles away. After the first couple days seeing me in the office with my bike helmet on my desk, a colleague asked about the time it takes me to travel and what my route is. He lives a couple miles away from my house and realized he could also easily bike to work. Since then, when we don’t have appointments during the day that require a vehicle, we’ve been biking. It’s a lot of fun, burns over 200 calories for the total commute of about six miles, and is a nice way to wake up in the morning and de-stress on the way home. We’ve even worked out details with the facilities manager to make sure we can get in early and use the locker rooms conveniently located in our office building’s basement.
All of this has worked out great, and it got me thinking about all the ways I’ve commuted over the last few years, and how my obsession with time management means I’ve found ways to make the most of my commute, no matter how I get to work.
Here are my four ideas for how to commute with purpose!
- The active commute. This is by far my favorite. When I lived in Buffalo, my friends and I did the reverse commute from the city to the suburbs. It took us under an hour (that was a ten mile ride), which wasn’t much longer than driving time. We felt incredibly fit, saved on gas, and had way more fun than going alone. The only restriction is that you have to live close enough to comfortably walk or roll to work, and if it’s hot outside and/or you have a more rigorous journey, you’ll need to find access to a shower. If that’s not available in your building, see if there are facilities nearby, like with a gym or community center. Your workplace may offer incentives for you to do an active commute, so ask around for further resources, and see if anyone else would be interested in joining you. You’ll reap all the benefits of saving on gas, burning calories, and getting fresh air.
- The team-building carpool. After the weather changed and none of us felt hardcore enough to bike in the snow, we decided to carpool. We planned to meet at a neighborhood coffee shop and each person would drive one time per week. Coffee in the morning was a fun way to catch up while we waited for the driver, we loved saving boatloads of money on gas, and it gave us quiet time to talk about work or our life or the occasional spirited discussion of something in the news. It was a good time, and a good way to commute.
- The purposeful drive. I used to live in a small town near Lake Michigan and drive in about 45 minutes to school several times a week. The drive was scenic and nice, but I felt like I was missing out on that time when I could be reviewing notes or reading. I bought a digital recorder so that I could record my vocabulary or other things to study. That’s the real reason that I got an A in Spanish every year! Now you can get apps that will allow you to do the same thing with a smartphone instead of buying a recorder. All you have to do is plan ahead and record what you need to review to have it handy. If you’re not studying for anything, look up some podcasts or download audio books. Librivox is a great source of free audio recordings that are in the public domain. That’s how I “read” Moby Dick! And podcasts like Manager Tools are incredible career resources. Of course, you could choose some podcasts that are just plain enjoyable like Radio Lab or This American Life.
- The multi-tasking public transit. I was always jealous of people who could take the bus to school. It gave them time to study, read, or just nod off for a while. Most Career Girls will probably want to check emails or do something work-related on their commute, but I encourage you to use time on public transit for something you like. It will make the ride go by faster, and it will be a happier way to start and end your workday.
My ultimate commuting goal is to find a house and job where I can kayak to work, but biking over a river will do for now. How do you make the most of your commute?