How to survive a sucky commute

  March 17, 2017

If you are (or are about to become) one of the many, many people who have to endure a miserable commute in order to get to work, then we genuinely feel for you. No matter how much you love your job, having to suffer a hot, tightly packed train, or never ending traffic, in order to get there can really make you wonder 'is it worth it?' But don't let the pain of a commute spoil your love of your job. Instead follow our tips to help make it (a bit) more endurable.

Use it

When you know you're going to be travelling for a fair while, finding ways to use that time productively is the best way to prevent yourself going crazy from the monotony. Assuming you're getting the train (and manage to get of seat of course) you could use your commute to do work, read a book or maybe even do some learning. We know that this is the ideal scenario, and not everyone is afforded this luxury, but even if you're not lucky enough to have a seat on the train, or perhaps you have to drive to work, there are still things you can do to use the time better. It could just be listening to a podcast about something you find interesting, you could learn a new language, watch a TED talk, you could meditate (not while driving though!) or do some sneaky butt crunches while standing or sitting around – no one will ever know (unless you pull a weird face while you do it).

Reduce it

Sometimes when commuting, simply changing the time you set out, or the route you take can shave significant time off the journey. But it's so easy to fall into a routine, and forget that there are alternatives. It's the same problem people have when looking for jobs; they just rely on what they know, and don't even bother to investigate other options. Don't let this mind-set trap you and keep you doing a rubbish commute when you don't have to. See if you can take a different route to work or leave even five minutes earlier to see if it makes a difference. The other thing to do is to talk to your employer and see if there's any scope for working from home or changing your hours so that you can get a better work/travel time balance. If you can clearly explain how commuting is draining the energy from you, then assuming your boss wants the best from (and for) you, then they'll probably be open to a discussion.

Ditch it

Sometimes no matter how good the job is, it's simply not worth the hassle; when your commute is making you that miserable, and if you really can't find a way to use the time effectively, or negotiate to shorten it, then it might be worth cutting your loses and looking for something closer to home. If you're finding that the travelling is affecting your enjoyment of the job, as well as your satisfaction outside of work, then it might be time to call it. This will usually be a last resort, and needs to be thought about carefully, but of you do decide to go down this path, then remember that you can and will find another job that you enjoy (especially if you use Happy Work to help), and that sometimes you have to make hard choices to get the best from life.

Having a job you love is one thing, and considering how much time you spend at work, thinking about work and talking about work, it's a very important thing. But just because you love something doesn't mean there aren't downsides, and a sucky commute is one of the most common. Luckily there are things you can do, so don't let your travel time suck all the joy out of what you do, find a way to take back some control.