Career

4 Simple Ways To Make Your Commute Suck Less

When it comes to accepting a new job, there are so many factors to consider. Will it challenge you to grow, both personally and professionally? Are your co-workers people you’re going to enjoy having Friday afternoon beers with? Will it allow you to pay your rent without having to live on two minute noodles?

But without a doubt, one of the biggest questions is definitely “how long is the commute?” Because let’s face it, nobody enjoys spending multiple hours each day in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on packed public transport (especially in summer.)

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However, with rising living costs forcing people to live further and further away from the city (where the majority of the jobs are), you’d be hard-pressed to find a role that doesn’t require you to commute in some form of another. In fact, research shows that the average Australian spends almost an hour travelling to and from work each day. Good times!

The point is, commuting is pretty much an inevitable part of being in the workforce. Unless, of course, you work from home — then you’ll only have to commute from your bed to your desk.

But just because commuting is a given, that doesn’t mean a sh*tty commute has to be! Whether you drive or catch public transport, there are plenty of ways to not only make your commute bearable, but something you actually look forward to. Here’s how:

#1 Pop on a podcast

Podcasts were pretty much invented to keep you entertained during your commute. They’re basically the audio version of Netflix — if you find a really great series, you won’t be able to wait until the next opportunity to tune in.

With seemingly every man and his dog having a podcast these days, there’s an endless amount of choice. Feel like a giggle after a long day? Check out 2 Dope Queens or The Ricky Gervais Show.

In need of some inspiration? Tune into Girlboss Radio or The Tim Ferris Show.

#2 People watch

Without getting all self-help guru on you, sometimes the most powerful changes come from simply shifting your mindset.

So, if you’re someone who gets irritated because you can’t tune out from conversations on the bus or train, use that! Public transport is easily one of the best places to people watch, as there’s such a cross-section of different demographics.

Maybe it’s just the writer in me, but one of my favourite things is to come up with back stories for the people I see on public transport. That old lady who won’t stop talking to herself? She’s actually a spiritual medium doing an impromptu seance. That dude wearing head-to-toe black? Obviously he’s an undercover FBI agent. Try it, it’s fun! And who knows, it might even be the inspiration for your first novel.

#3 Change it up

While a change may not be as good as a holiday when it comes to commuting, it definitely helps. If you catch the bus or train, why not see if there’s a different one you can take? Or if you drive, try changing up your route.

Better yet, get off public transport or park further away and walk the rest of the journey. Not only will you get the novelty of a change in scenery, the fresh air and exercise is bound to start or end your day on a better note.

#4 Learn a new skill

When stuck in traffic, our automatic reaction is to flick mindlessly between Instagram and Facebook waiting for something to happen (hint: it never does!) It goes without saying that this isn’t a particularly productive or inspiring use of time.

Instead, while not use the down time as an opportunity to learn something new? Thanks to e-learning apps like Udemy and Stackskills, you can learn anything from cooking to coding without a major investment of time or money. Duolingo is another great free app that makes learning a new language fun and easy.


Emma Norris is a Sydney-based freelance writer and the owner of copywriting business, Content in the City. When she’s not playing with words, she’s either doing pushups or stuffing her face with pizza. You can follow her on Instagram @emmajnorris92