5 Items to Snap You Out of Your Daily Commuting Routine

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 22, 2011 · 565 comments

in Blog

This content is brought to you by the new Hyundai Elantra which helps you “Snap Out” of your routine to live your best life.  Click here to learn more about the new 2011 Elantra. What’s this?

It’s Monday morning. Another work week has begun. You’ve finished your manly morning ritual without breaking a sweat. “Maybe this week won’t be so bad after all?” you think.

You hop in the car or head towards the subway or bus stop. Your high hopes quickly turn into despair as you encounter traffic jams, rude subway passengers, and the monotony of sitting in a car, train, or bus for an hour or more just so you can get to work.

Commuting is no fun. It’s a routine that millions of men must battle each day. We want to help you make this annoying, yet necessary routine a bit more bearable. So here are five things that can help you snap out of your daily commuting routine.

Stanley Thermos

Instead of stopping at the coffee shop on your way to work for a $5 cup of joe, brew the perfect cup of coffee at home and take it with you in this Stanley thermos. You’ll save money and time with this handsome looking thermos. Stanley thermoses are solidly constructed, so they can take years of beating and abuse on your daily commute or on a weekend camping trip with the boys and still keep your coffee piping hot. Stanley thermoses are guaranteed for life!

Price: $25

Saddleback Briefcase

A man needs a bag to carry his stuff from home to work. But not just any bag. A man needs a bag that puts a little pep in his step simply from looking at it. A bag that makes him feel like he’s headed out on an adventure each day. A rugged, manly, handsome bag that provides the smell of leather as he drives to work.

The Saddleback Leather Company Briefcase fits this bill.

Made of 100% full grain boot leather, the Saddleback bag will protect your delicate electronic gizmos from the nastiest of elements. The outside of the bag comes with plenty of D-rings to attach umbrellas, water bottles, or the buffalo skull you happened to find on the way to work. It has plenty of pockets so you can transport important work documents. You’ll be the envy of all your co-workers as you pass their cubicles with this bad boy on your shoulder.

And all Saddleback products are guaranteed for 100 years, so you can pass your briefcase on to your grandson when he begins his new career.

Price: $550

Great Courses Audio Lectures

If you’re like most people who commute, you probably just listen to the crappy morning local radio show or whatever is on your iPod. Nothing really uplifting or edifying about any of those options. They basically just provide background noise to help pass the time.

Instead of listening to the morning DJ make fart noises, grow your mind, intellect, and understanding of the world by listening to lectures from some of the best university professors in the United States. The Great Courses Company offers hundreds of college level courses from a variety of disciplines that you can listen to during your commute to work. Courses are made up of several lectures and each lecture is about 30 minutes long, or the average commute time. If you listen to just two lectures a day–one on the commute to work and one on the way home–you can finish the longest course in just a few weeks.

Check out the Great Courses website to see their course offerings. You’ll be blown away. One week you can learn about quantum mechanics and the next week you can delve into the history of Greece. My favorite courses are from my old Classics professor, J. Rufus Fears. His Famous Romans and Famous Greeks courses are a must-listen. You’ll learn about great men like Alexander the Great and Socrates. Right now, I’m listening to his Life Lessons from the Great Books and am feeling inspired after each lecture.

Price: $200-$85 depending on the course and whether you download the MP3 or buy the CDs.

Standing Valet

A stress-free commute to work begins before you get in the car. If you don’t time your departure just right, you can end up inching towards downtown in traffic that’s backed up for miles.  To ensure you walk out the door on time (and don’t have to come back to retrieve something you forgot!), consider incorporating a standing valet into your daily routine. A standing valet is like having your own personal “silent butler.” It has a hanger for your suit coat, a pant bar, a tie and coat hanger, as well as compartments so you can store your wallet, keys, phone, and other manly accouterments.

The night before, you can lay out everything you’ll need the next morning in this easy to access space. Instead of rushing around in the morning looking for a tie that matches your suit  along with your lost car keys, the standing valet will help you get out the door on time so you miss the morning rush hour traffic. Like a boss!

Price: $100

Dragnet Radio Show Collection

I’m all for taking advantage of our commute time to expand our minds, but sometimes after a long day’s work, you just want to listen to something relaxing and enjoyable. How about passing the time with Sergeant Joe Friday while he solves crimes on the mean streets of L.A.?

Before Dragnet was an awesomely manly cop TV show, it was an awesomely manly cop radio show. And thanks to the wonders of technology, you can enjoy this groundbreaking 1940s radio show while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. You can find many old Dragnet radio episodes online for free, but they’re scattered all over the place and the quality is often crappy. If you want the entire series remastered for the best listening experience, pick up the CD collection.

I’ve listened to a bunch of different old time radio shows, and Dragnet is definitely my favorite.

Price: $6

Win a Stanley Thermos

Hyundai will be giving away a Stanley Thermos to one lucky AoM reader, so he can start snapping himself out of his daily commuting routine. Here’s how to enter the sweepstakes:

Leave a comment sharing what sort of tools or methods you use to snap yourself out of your daily commuting routine.

Deadline to enter is March 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm CST.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES (D.C.) 18 YEARS AND OLDER.  ENDS 3/27/11.  TO ENTER AND FOR OFFICIAL RULES, INCLUDING ODDS AND PRIZE DESCRIPTIONS, VISIT HERE.  VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
301 M March 23, 2011 at 7:21 am

I have Jeeves & Wooster Audio books that are fun for a morning commute.

302 T.J. Cox March 23, 2011 at 7:25 am

I do make my own coffee at home every morning which seems to make my commute on the bus more enjoyable. I also look forward to my AOM email every morning. I recieve it right before I get on the bus every morning. It helps make the hour commute go by quickly.

303 Jeff W March 23, 2011 at 7:40 am

My commute is always accompanied by the awesome podcast “Never Not Funny” hosted by Jimmy Pardo and Matt Belknap.

304 Andrew V March 23, 2011 at 7:48 am

Turn the normally soul-draining experience of sitting in traffic into a soul-restoring experience: I use the time to recite scripture I’ve memorized or to pray. It’s amazing how your attitude changes when you ask for blessings on the guy who just cut you off!

305 Ryan B March 23, 2011 at 7:48 am

Getting up ad cooking breakfast first thing not only gives me a delicious meal every morning but gives me enough energy to make my walk to work quick and still have enough to actual focus at work.

306 G. H. Romero March 23, 2011 at 7:49 am

I always listen to self-improvement CDs. There are available all kinds of CDs for self-improvement: relationships, sales, management, leadership, positive thoughts, time-management, etc. Don’t leave home without it!

307 Alex March 23, 2011 at 7:52 am

My roommate and I work together so we play rock paper scissors for who has to drive.

308 Matthew Brunson March 23, 2011 at 7:55 am

I listen to Anthony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, or something motivational. I’m also a member of Toastmasters, so I use commute time to rehearse my upcoming speech.

309 Doug March 23, 2011 at 8:01 am

The “great courses” is a good idea, but search on itunes under itunes-U and you can find FREE college lectures.

There are also some seminaries that offer free downloads to all their classes, all semester.

310 ctd March 23, 2011 at 8:04 am

TuneLink from Blue Potato: a Bluetooth-to-FM converter for the car. Just get in or start the car and your Bluetooth-enabled iPod/iPad/iPhone starts playing thru the FM radio – no wires, no plugs, no fiddling, no digging the device out of the briefcase or pocket, don’t even have to hit Play. Adds your preferred music/audiobook to your day with zero effort.

311 Kevin M. Jones March 23, 2011 at 8:05 am

Look at the good side and be appreciative of what you have. I am a patent attorney who works from a home office about 9 out of 10 days. I miss my morning commute. It was, a couple of years ago, about 30 minutes of driving each way which gave me time to organize my mind each morning and plan my day, or decompress each evening from work stresses before interacting with the family. I know daily commutes can be a grind, but there may be some benefits you don’t realize you are getting until they are gone.

312 Brett March 23, 2011 at 8:15 am

I use a french press coffee maker to snap me out of my routine. It takes a little longer for my cup of coffee, but it is always worth it.

313 Zack March 23, 2011 at 8:17 am

I use an old thermos for homemade coffee or protein shakes. It got me through law school but I could use a new one.

314 Jacob Miller March 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

I usually practice shaving with my straight razor…lol, j/k Just listen to some talk radio and drink some coffee

315 Don March 23, 2011 at 8:20 am

Up early for the joy of the silence and comfort of knowing all sleep. Devotional reading, Preparing for the day. I live five blocks from the first office, so commuiting silence is short, but welcome. If I am driving to another location, a podcast selection or classical music helps prepare me for the rest of the day.

316 Kerry March 23, 2011 at 8:27 am

While Cedar Rapids, Iowa isn’t the major metropolis that suffers the “rush hour” but rather the “rush minute”, I still take a different route to work if I get into the “rut”. Better yet, I take a different, much longer route on the Goldwing…Remember the “Pocket Fisherman”?…fits nicely in the saddlebag…

317 Joe Shelley March 23, 2011 at 8:29 am

I enjoy making my own coffee and listening to the perfect mix or an engaging speaker to help my morning commute.

318 Will March 23, 2011 at 8:30 am

Sometimes it’s good to just turn off the radio and drive in silence. It gives you a chance to meditate/pray while you’re driving.

For almost 20 years, I commuted by bus to NYC. Back then (before cell phones), it was a great time to read. I read a lot of classics during my commute. A great way to gain an education.

319 Jason G. March 23, 2011 at 8:42 am

I once read a quote: “All life’s happiness begins with a leisurely breakfast.” It has been a huge help to me in the morning.

320 Paul Ensom March 23, 2011 at 8:45 am

The tool I use most often to break up my would-be monotonous morning commute is my running shoes. I have a good back-pack that allows me to comfortably run my things 10 km to work, so I make use of the otherwise wasted time to train for triathlons. I either listen to the CBC (our public broadcaster here in Canada) on my mp3 player or enjoy the sights and sounds of the day beginning along the river in Ottawa.

If I’m running late or need to recover, my bicycle does a good job of breaking up the commute too.

Then I shower and change into my uniform at work and enjoy the coffee I packed into my small thermos! I am considering getting a bigger one.

321 Justin G. March 23, 2011 at 8:50 am

I chug a fifth of tequila before hitting the road.

322 Morgan March 23, 2011 at 8:55 am

I always wonder why people complain of being tired in the morning. If you go from warm house, to warm car, to warm office, I’m not surprised.

I commute on a Harley. That wakes you up.

323 Tom Jacobsen March 23, 2011 at 8:56 am

Take an audio book. If you have an hour commute like most you can be done with most books in a week. You can even try to learn a new language. Sometimes, i just take the hour to think what I cool things I would like to do with my family this year and then jot them down in my notebook when I pull into work.

324 Rob H March 23, 2011 at 8:56 am

I listen to Audible books on tape, sometimes for motivation, sometimes for pleasure listening, but the audible book format helps bear the traffic!

325 lando March 23, 2011 at 9:04 am

i try to get a ride with a friend to save gas, and the conversation wakes me up.

326 Terrance March 23, 2011 at 9:05 am

I listen to educational podcast to and from work. That is a hour a day. It is like getting to take an extra class a semester.

327 Coop March 23, 2011 at 9:05 am

Where a different pair of shoes every 3 days, and ride my bike!

328 brandon March 23, 2011 at 9:09 am

Every Friday morning I set my alarm about 30 minutes early. I take a cup of coffee and the rest of my breakfast over the bridge and to a nearby beach. Sit in the parking lot with the windows down and start the day with a nice ocean breeze and a beautiful view. Great way to change things up and make Friday even better!

329 Anthony March 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

I commute via rail and red daily scriptures on my android phone. These not only assist in creating an Enlightened commute, it helps start my day on the right foot… when doing my job!
( Complaint dept. at city hall)

330 Russell M March 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

I suggest walking or biking to work. Even if the distance is too long to do the whole commute by bike, incorporating a little exercise into your commute will invigorate you for the rest of the day.

331 Curt March 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

A quick stop by the local library yields me tons of free books on CD to expand my manly knowledge. I just finished “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Frankl and am currently learning Chinese.

332 Chad Walden March 23, 2011 at 9:17 am

Simple… Avoid a long commute by living in SW Georgia.

333 Spencer March 23, 2011 at 9:19 am

My commute is pretty short, but I like to fill it with a warm cup of coffee and the News from Lake Wobegon podcast.

334 Andy March 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

I usually listen to audiobooks, sermons, or lectures while I walk and ride the bus. Right now I’m listening to C.S. Lewis’s, “Prince Caspian” to keep up with my wife and son. Other times I will get actual reading done on the bus. Riding the bus helps me to make the wasted time useful.

335 Cisco March 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

To break up my morning routine I like to wake up about 45min early and grab breakfast at the local grease top diner. Hot cheap coffee, greasy bacon, toast, and eggs, then grab a paper and even the worst traffic is bearable. Sure I am tired from waking up early but it’s worth it especially when you start to get to know the locals and get to talk about whats going on in the world with all these old timers.

336 Daniel Carroll March 23, 2011 at 9:31 am

I will download free lectures from iTunes University and listen to them on the ride to work. You can download classes from Harvard for free!

337 Andrew March 23, 2011 at 9:35 am

I am blessed to have a short commute to work. When I drive I enjoy listenting to the CBC morning show, no commericals and a good blendof music and informtion. when I bus i read the morning paper on my blackberry. i am looking forward to the warmer weather and the start of biking to work, still a little chilly in southern Ontario yet.

338 Bruno March 23, 2011 at 9:39 am

I listen to podcasts from NPR and books on my ipod

339 Eric March 23, 2011 at 9:41 am

As with the others I agree with the audio books and lectures. With that I am a fan of the public libraries and free downloads. Sometimes I will take a different way home or start and end my day at a different time just to break things up. I am a little bit surprised with the article is mostly encouraging you to spend money? Is being thrifty not manly?

340 Samuel Warren March 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

An audio Bible really helps through long commutes.

341 Matt DeBlass March 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

I’m making a lot less money at my current job than my last one, but at the same time it’s a lot closer to home, so to snap myself out of the traffic doldrums I decided to save the car for longer trips and family outings and invest in a new commuter bicycle. Not only are my wallet and waistline grateful, but the trip makes getting to an otherwise uninspiring job into something a lot more joyful.

342 Micah March 23, 2011 at 9:51 am

I’m a big fan of Audible books, but also numerous podcasts: Radiolab, Studio360, This American Life, The Moth, and Third Coast International Audio Festival. All the above are free to download or subscribe. If you love a good story I would recommend them all.

343 Bud Sypert March 23, 2011 at 9:51 am

Lose the dulls – drive blindfolded.

344 Nate March 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

I try to get in a run or some sort of workout before I leave. I also try to have my clothes ready the night before (If they are ironed).

345 Wesley March 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

Audiobooks are a commuters best friend!

346 Jesse Schmitt March 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

I listen to movie soundtracks. Immediate Music or Two Steps From Hell are both fantastic groups that produce music for movie trailers and whatnot. It makes even a trip to pick up groceries feel a thousand times more epic.

347 Mike Solak March 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

I like to listen to podcasts of Church sermon’s from around the country… especially the Village Church in the Dallas TX area… best part is that they can be accessed and downloaded for free on iTunes.

348 John March 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

Pandora on my smart phone. This allows me to listen to all sorts of music that I never even heard of before but quickly become favorites.

349 Nate March 23, 2011 at 10:10 am

Please ease up on trying to sell us Saddleback briefcases. This product is not relevant to this post, and any regular reader has seen this thing pop up in 100 other posts. You like them, you think we should buy them, we get it!

350 Garrett Schwanke March 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

NPR and Radio Classics-Suspense, X Minus One, The Shadow, The Whistler, The Mysterious Traveler, Life of Riley, to name a few. NPR for my mind, Radio Classics for my heart-they’re entertaining and lend insight into generations past (I’ve learned so much about 1930′s-1950′s America).

351 Darrel Smith Jr March 23, 2011 at 10:16 am

I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so my commute is pretty terrible. Before I even get in the car I take the time to water my garden. It doesn’t take very long, but it can be calming and it reminds me not to get so bent out of shape when I do start the drive to work and the other drivers are….less than courteous.

352 Matthew March 23, 2011 at 10:25 am

I’d much prefer an article about 5 things that would make commuting more fun; take a different route (manly exploration), carpool with co-workers (manly sharing of resources), drop your kid off at school (manly providing for your children), ride a motorcycle (manly mode of transportation), take a different attitude while driving (let everyone with a blinker on merge into your lane instead of guarding it like the Holy Grail [manly non-toolishness]).
Instead we got a new way to spend over $800 to make an hour commute more product-filled.

353 Marshall Reeves March 23, 2011 at 10:26 am

I carpool with a friend across Tampa Bay to St. Pete every day. On the weeks I drive, it’s NPR on the radio to get us through. On the weeks he drives, it’s comedy channels on his XM radio, and either a good book or Angry Birds to while away the time.

354 Kevin March 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

I’m a Grad Assistant which means that I’m on call for my boss at all hours which now have me up around 5:30 am, while usually not in the bed until 1am due to the class work. Best thing I have done was buy a coffee maker. I had never previously drank coffee nor enjoyed it but now I couldn’t imagine anything else getting me up in the morning. If your a young man like myself and have trouble waking just set the timer on that thing and let the smell wake you in the morning!

355 Dan March 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

I have a 35 minute commute in sunny south Florida. I use a combination of putting to top down on my jeep and enjoying some iTunes University and Podcast selections. I listen to everything from language classes (to help me keep up with the many languages in Miami) to theology. Occasionally, I’ll plug in my Kindle and have it read the latest business book to me to get a little extra edge on the day. I’ve avoided making phone calls on my commute to help me prepare for the day on my drive in and decompress on my drive home so I can be a happy, present husband and father as soon as I walk in the door.

356 Austin Grega March 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

I saw that Stanley mug, and smiled! My dad has one that I believe was HIS dad’s!

357 Gary Sanders March 23, 2011 at 10:42 am

Thankfully I don’t have a 35 mile commute each way everyday like I did for the last 8 years, but when I did, the single biggest thing that helped me keep my sanity was Howard Stern on Sirius Satellite Radio. With 24 hour programing, it didn’t matter if I worked an 18 hour day, Stern was always there to keep me company….and laughing.

358 G. Schuster March 23, 2011 at 10:44 am

1. Walk or ride a bike. Good for the soul, especially if you live/work indoors.
2. Vary your route, even if it takes longer.
3. Try archive.org for free & public domain – historical speeches, lecture courses, old time music (try the 78rpm collection), etc.
4. Look at rush hour as an opportunity to practice courtesy and patience.

359 Rich March 23, 2011 at 10:49 am

Great article. I’ve got my Stanley Thermos, identical to the one pictured, that I purchased while in the Army for my occasional train rides from Bad Kreuznach to Baumholder. It is amazing how long coffee stays hot in that essential piece of equipment.
I completely agree with your comments in the linked article on the perfect cup of coffee.
My present commute is only three blocks, and it takes me longer to drive (when I have to do so) than walk. But, I appreciate the Great Courses advice and that link, so I can download courses for longer trips.

360 Jeremiah Ellis March 23, 2011 at 10:51 am

Before my commute shortened to 6 minutes recently with a transfer to a closer office, I would say the Rosary during my commute. Nothing like a little prayer to help handle the Dallas/Fort Worth traffic every day!

361 Frank March 23, 2011 at 10:52 am

My dad used to have a Stanley thermos that he took to work with him every day.

362 Jim Goldsmith March 23, 2011 at 10:54 am

I’ve found that getting to the office earlier in the morning and leaving earlier in the afternoon makes all the difference in the world.

It might not be practical for everyone, but I discussed my long commute with my boss and restructured my schedule to get in the office a 7am and leave around 4pm. The difference in traffic between those times and your typical 8am to 5pm gridlock is pretty dramatic.

363 Joe March 23, 2011 at 10:57 am

Drive a turbo car… It’s a fuel efficient 4 cyl when your cruising… It’s a punch in the backside when there is an opening in the traffic.

364 Travis Kaiser March 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

I agree with Kevin Jones above who said there are great benefits to the job commute. In the mornings I mentally bring together my to-do list and in the evenings I decompress and fix my thoughts on leaving work at work in order to engage effectively with my family. Some good jazz music is always a plus!

365 Paul March 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

First thing out of bed… I HUG MY WIFE! A big, long, meaningful hug accompanied with a genuine complement. (I saw my father do this for several years growing up… they’ve stayed married)

This might be controversial, but it’s what I do. I read my Bible. Majority of the time it puts a great perspective on the day… reminds me that I’m working for something bigger than myself, my boss and my company.

The Stanley Thermos is a great item. My grandfather had one and my father had two….he threw one out after a cross country road trip moving our family to a new military base. He peed in it to make good time toward the end of the trip… you just have to know the man to understand.

366 Brett Allen Rimer March 23, 2011 at 11:13 am

I break out my bike to snap out of the daily commute routine. My commute is short anyway, so it’s better for me, body and soul, and the environment. Saves money in all sorts of ways as well.

367 Ben March 23, 2011 at 11:17 am

The best tool that I have found to breaking up a boring commute is my bicycle. A 20 minute bike ride to work or school is much more invigorating and stimulating for the body and the mind than a comparable drive. Also as far as before the commute, listening to some upbeat music while getting ready to leave the house really seems to set me in a better mood for the morning.

368 Christopher Boatwright March 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

You are spot on with The Great Courses series, and with J. Rufus Fears. Though not the most scholarly fare they have to offer, the Teaching Company definitely hired an engaging storyteller in him. I’ve listened to his Famous Romans series twice.

Also check out The Modern Scholar (http://www.recordedbooks.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=scholar.course_list), a division of Recorded Books. Same premise, different offerings. On the whole I like Teaching Company a little more, but “God Wills It!: Understanding the Crusades” and “The Enlightenment: Reason, Tolerance, and Humanity” really shone.

But for God sakes, don’t BUY them! My library loves to collect these and probably owns 150-200 sets. If they don’t have what you want, just place a request for them to purchase it. Libraries are nice like that.

369 Clay March 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

I use the time in the car to think about what I need to accomplish that day. I mix that up with some local news. I add in sports news depending on the time of year.

370 Kevin March 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

I definitely agree about the Great Courses. When I used to drive 30-40 minutes to work, I always had a course from them or the similar Modern Scholar series to listen to. The Modern Scholar’s “Odyssey of the West” series exploring Western civilization through great literature is a favorite. As an alternate, Pimsleur language courses are a great way to pass the time and learn something, as long as you’re driving (language courses really need you to speak out loud to be effective, which other passengers may not appreciate). Most of these courses are available at any well-stocked public library, too, so don’t let the price tag keep you from them.

371 Patrick Haley March 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

My bicycle is the best thing I have for commuting. I live 4 miles from work which is a 20 minute bus ride or a 20 minute bike ride. I opt to ride my bike because it gets me exactly where I need to go and I don’t need to find time to get my cardio workout in the gym. I kill two birds with one stone by getting where I need to go and exercising while I do it. I also feel great at the end of the day after my 40 minute bike ride round trip. I also like the way the wind blows through my mustache.

372 Ben March 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

During my commute I often evaluate my progress on my long-term goals and plan adjustments during the day that will contribute to goals. Between work and home life it’s the only free time I have to do it.

373 Jeff March 23, 2011 at 11:47 am

I started carpooling with one of my co workers. It has been great to talk about different things with him. Mostly it is not work related, but we talk about things we like doing like out door sports, music and family. But it gets our brains working before we get to work.

374 Randy March 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

It’s takes about an hour to commute to work. Fortunately for me my wife commutes with me and she reads a variety of books to me so it’s kind of like listening ot books on CD.

375 Jon March 23, 2011 at 11:59 am

Exercises and some joint mobility

376 Tim March 23, 2011 at 11:59 am

Ride a motorcycle, or even a moped. Your monotonous commute will be transformed into into an adventure, every single day. I live in a rainy part of the country, and I still ride year-round. I’ve even ridden on ice (very carefully). Take a safety class, wear all the right protective gear, and have a blast.

377 Claude March 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I’ve got an hour each way. Audio books are the way to go. In the last couple of years i’ve listened to the whole series of Stephen Kings Dark Tower books, learned some memory improvement techniques, and absorbed some classics that i’ve always wanted to read, but never took the time.

A side effect is that I relax a bit more and im less likely to drive aggressively.

I still love paper books, but if you have to commute, you may as well use the time wisely.

378 Batton Lash March 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

When I get up, I fill the sink with cold, cold water and splash it on my face. That jolts me awake before my first cup of coffee!

379 Claude March 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Seeing Jon’s post reminded me. I also recently purchased a Captains of Crush hand gripper so i can use my time for some hand strength training as well. Great stress reliever.

380 Mike March 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Before coming home from work, stopping by the gym for 30-60 minutes daily really relieves the stress when coming back to the house for whatever comes my way. Sometimes its the steam room, but mostly some form of exercise to release everything from that day.

381 Paul Seplowitz March 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I live in CT and commute to NYC. On a ‘normal day’ the commute can take 3 to 4 hours to travel the 70 miles. To make it more manageable, I take the commuter train. This cuts the time down to approximately 2 hours each way. This is still an awful lot of time to be commuting, but by combining a car trip followed by the train ride, I am able to minimize my gas usage, and whilst on the train, I’m free to do whatever. I purchased an electronic reader several years ago and find that reading helps the time go by. The use of the electronic reader allows me to have a varied selection of reading materials available to suit my mood.

382 Jon March 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm

My tool to make the commute easier: an alarm clock. I actually have a short commute and have to be at work at 7:45. However, I get up at 5:30 and am at work by 6:45 most days. I can ease into my morning. There are no lines at the copier. It is quiet so I can get a lot of work done before the demands of the day interfere. I watch many of my colleagues rushing in fighting the traffic and the crowd at 7:45, 7:50, sometimes 8:00. They are stressed and I am relaxed. A great way to start the day!

383 Chris March 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I listen to Pandora through my Droid X. Way fewer commercials than the radio and I can adjust the music to my taste.

384 Ronald Squire March 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Radio/Music Silence! Usually I’m blasting music or listening to some idiot on the local morning radio show. Silence allows me to reflect, ponder, question, and evaluate my life.

385 Aaron March 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I ride my bike to get places in the summer–just because it’s fun. Though, I’ve been in many situations where having a metal cylinder with a handle for the containment and retention of a liquid’s temperature would have been in order.

386 Charlie March 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I like to mix up the drive itself – new routes, new places – and change up my listening habits frequently. I’ll listen to comedy routines via Slacker Radio, music, talk radio… but I try to call at least one friend. That conversation shortens the drive and keeps me in touch with good people that I’d otherwise never see due to my busy schedule.

387 Steve C March 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I pray a rosary. It’s a great way to start the day.

388 Tom Cavanaugh March 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

My daily commute has changed since I started taking my black lab with me. He loves being along for the ride and it is definetly a new experience for me. We have one rule though, no shop talk on the ride. LOL

389 Eric March 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Whenever I need to snap out of my daily routine, I set the alarm for an hour or two earlier. Last week, I got up at 4 a.m. one morning, and it really re-energized me for the entire week.

390 Brandon March 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Driving into Atlanta everyday is a pain. I usually listen to Pandora mobile, which, if you have a smartphone with an unlimited data plan, is still a great, cheaper alternative to satellite radio. I’ve also started taking free language courses so that I make the most out of my 1.5 hour commute. I find this makes the most of my otherwise wasted time!

391 Erik March 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I would like to second the standing valet. I was given one about two years ago and I really like it!

392 Ross Nelson March 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Brushing up on Spanish or Japanese while on the drive to work has been fun lately. I ordered a few discounted language mp3s and listen to them on the 45 minute road to work. ¡muy bien!

393 Charles redding March 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I live in Seattle and ride my bike to class and work. A cup of French press in a commuter mug clipped to my backpack does it for me. :)

394 Daniele March 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Commuting to work is a necessary but boring thing to do, but still I managed to find a few things you can do:
-buy a CD (or, if you like it oldschool, a cassette) and learn a new language. It might seem hard to learn a language while driving a car, but just ten minutes in the morning and ten in the evening, multiplied by 5 times a week – you should at least have the basics covered in 2-3 weeks.
-If you have a bluetooth headset and you’re stuck in traffic, call your family. Or a good friend. Or whoever you want to call. Why not use the time effectively?
-Sing! I’m not a very good singer (actually, I’m not a good singer at all), but since I’m in my car, nobody can criticize me for singing poorly.
-If you use public transportation, get three really good books (I will leave it to you to decide wether a book is good or not =) ), and try to read them ONLY while you’re commuting, you will love the 20 minutes in the subway!

395 tim_lebsack March 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I’ll ride the motorcycle instead of my bicycle to snap myself out of the commuting routine.

396 Luke March 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Well, I go to college here where I live, but it is a ways out of town. I enjoy finding some jazz on the radio and listening to that. I could get lost in those riffs. I also like to make some tea before I head out, especially on a snowy day here in North Dakota. There is not many traffic jams here, but it is driving with a lot of nothing. Riding a bike is also great. Especially since I go to a college on a hill. It’s a great workout, and very peaceful at 7 am in North Dakota.

397 Tracy Brower March 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm

My family and I have a 4 different vehicles and I sometimes take a different one and filla tank for my wife or stop for a car wash for my daughter or have a motorcycle day for myself.

398 Kevin March 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

The morning commute down the stairs and to my “office” is a gruelling one! What makes it better? Walking my kids to the bus stop every day, and giving the wife a kiss when she leaves.

399 Thomas March 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm

A lot of times, I’ll walk to work, rather than drive. This is a nice, refreshing change to the “regular” commute. It gives me a chance to mentally prepare myself for work and to unwind as I walk home.

400 Jerad March 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Being a police officer working ten hour shifts, my commute is about ten hours. I find that grip exercisers and Chinese balls really help me and keep my grip/dexterity/forearms working. Chewing gum is also a plus. The most recent Art of Manliness Podcast is also a lifesaver.

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