How to Handle a Long Commute for the First Time

When you go to college, your intent and motive is to land your dream job, get out there in the real world and become successful. For many people, success comes with a price, and not just the salary.

Sometimes, to get a good job, you have to drive farther and longer than you anticipated, if you even thought about it at all.

Here’s how to prepare yourself for a long commute for the first time.


Ask Yourself if It’s Worth It

One hour is only about 4 percent of your day, but that adds up – especially when you factor in 8 hours of work and 8 hours of sleep. If you have more than an hour commute to work and back, is it worth more than 8 percent of your day?

Jobs are not just about how much money you make while you are there. It’s about the experience and the connections you make. Calculate the amount you will be making, and subtract the cost of the long commute.

Gas, bus or train tickets can become expensive when you have a daily commute. Make sure the revenue is worth your time and money for the commute.


Find the Best Transportation

Figure out if it’s better to drive or take a bus or train. If you drive, you most likely have to account for traffic, accidents and gas prices. If you take a train, you have to think about the ticket prices and other people that will be on the train. See if it’s possible to take a train most of the way there, and walk the rest of the way.

One study found that people who take the train or walk to work are happier. Driving to work often causes unneeded stress, which is an awful way to start your workday. Ask yourself what the best transportation is to get you to work, and if you will be happy commuting that way every day.


Start Morning Mindfulness

The morning rush is often full of trying to fit everything in before work. You wake up, drink your coffee, take a shower and then leave your house. Try to slow things down and start to practice morning mindfulness during your commute.

Being mindful will allow you to feel like your morning commute isn’t a waste of your time. Consider this time your “me” time where you focus solely on yourself, how you feel and what’s happening in your life. This will help you destress and relax before you start working.


Listen to Audio

Whether you drive and listen through the radio, or listen through headphones on the train or during your walk, listening to audio will make your commute better. Podcasts and audiobooks will help your commute seem faster, and you’ll be learning too.

One-up your workday and learn a new language on the way to work. If podcasts and audiobooks aren’t for you, download an app that teaches you a language. Most employers are impressed by and seek out people who are bilingual. Get ahead of the game, and use your commuting time to learn.


Find a Commuter Friend

It’s easy to meet co-workers while you’re at work, but when you all leave work, notice who goes where. If you see someone who tends to go the same way as you, ask them to carpool.

Carpooling is a good way to socialize, and keeps you accountable to make sure you get to work on time. It’s a great way to ease your stress, and can also make the time pass quicker. There are many benefits to carpooling to work. It’s even good for the environment.


A long commute to work can seem intimidating. Don’t dread your daily commute. Hack your commute with these tips and tricks to make your long commute easier.



Writer and founder of Punched Clocks, a career advice blog for millennials, Sarah Landrum is a millennial sharing advice for other millennials to grow their careers and find happiness in life and at work. For more advice on job search, career and lifestyle topics, check out Punched Clocks and subscribe to the newsletter and follow Sarah on social media. You can find her tweeting out stories and tips @SarahLandrum

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