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.

401 Tom March 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Nice ads. Guess you gotta make a buck.

402 Micah March 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I like my tea in the morning, just use a reusable coffee cup, though.

403 Daniel Toms March 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I like to keep my mind sharp by doing distance/speed/time in my head when I drive.I use it when I’m on the water on patrol for the Coast Guard Auxiliary and it’s a great form of mental math, involving some algebra as well as arithmetic. If I know the distance between exits I can use my speed to figure out how long it will take till the next exit. Or if I know how far it is to somewhere, and what time I need to get there, I can figure out how fast I have to go. It’s a great method.

404 Erik March 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I have really enjoyed listening to audiobooks on my 15 minute bus commute. Audible.com is a great place to find them. I have been able to get through about one book a month in the 30 minutes that I commute each day. This has been a great way to make use of time where I previously did nothing useful.

405 Cicero March 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Sometimes I just take a different route.

406 Chase March 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I commute every day, only five miles, but by bicycle. During a cold winter morning nothing will make your fingers go numb faster than the wind they get facing straight forward on the handle bars. So a good pair of gloves is a must, otherwise you end up grumbling the whole way there balancing off the handlebars with your hands in your armpits.

407 Richard March 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I work at the same company with my lady, so my commute with her never seems routine. A good mix CD goes a long way, too!

408 Jeff March 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Though I often listen to audio books, podcasts (i.e. Art of Manliness) that’s my routine. I break the routine by either doing complete silence on the way to work as life at home and at the office affords so little of it.

I also snap out of my commuting routine by commuting to work on my bicycle a couple times a week.

409 Joe March 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I’m a big fan of the Keurig coffee makers. I purchase a variety pack to just to mix it up. Now I just need a Stanley Thermos to keep it in!

410 Brittan March 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm

A paper and pen crossword puzzle…since I will look at screens for most of the day.

411 James March 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I listen to a lot of “books on CD” on my way to and from work (my commute is a minimum of 2 hours each way).

I also talk to God (pray)

I will be looking for the CD set of Dragnet and any other radio shows that are downloadable. Does anyone know of a good source for them?

412 Terry March 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I’ve taken to using the commute time in my car for praying. I can usually get a whole Rosary in by the time I’m at work and I notice my attitude toward my fellow drivers is much better.

413 Kevin March 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Books on tape (electronic or CD rather than actual tape) work well for me.

414 Joe March 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Nothing like a good shuffle on the iPod to get out of my commute.

415 Andy March 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I like to think, would what I have done/ plan to do satisfy the quote “carpe diem”

416 Andy March 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I like to think, would what I have done/ plan to do satisfy the quote “carpe diem!”

417 Tim March 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I’ve been experimenting with different routes, and writing down in my notebook the time leave home and arrive at work. When I have a good data set, I probably punch it into Excel and see which way is better (and at which time of day). Could save me some time later.

418 Ryan March 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I like to make my wife’s lunch before she heads off to work; it feels good to take care of her a little before heading off into my day.

419 Mark March 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

if you ride a bus or a train reading is a great way to pass the time.

420 Dustin S. March 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Like many others I like to switch up my routes once in a while. I also enjoy many of the Podcast’s from NPR.

421 Golden F. March 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Does anyone else realize that this article is just one big advertisement to get you to buy overpriced items? I’m surprised more commentors haven’t brought this up.

422 Ian B. March 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I keep a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt on my mantle to remind me to speak softly and carry a big stick.

423 Brian P March 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I’m happy to see that a couple of others brought up the incessant peddling of saddleback briefcases here. enough already!

424 ashley March 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

If possible, I try to take slightly different routes everyday to keep myself focused. Or I listen to books on tape or plan out dinner/my next vacation in my head!

425 K March 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

A bike!

426 Kenn Lawson March 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I use a very used and abused (and repainted) made in the USA version of the Thermos for tea in the morning to get me through the four construction zones I go through every day.

427 Kevin March 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

To James looking for downloadable radio shows. Look into Pendant Audio, Darker Projects, And Brokensea Audio. All have a collection of amatuer produced, but high quality audio dramas available. Some are works of fanfiction (Star Trek, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Comic book based), but there are also original stories. All are free downloads. Some may have objectionable content, but they all list these. Tons of stuff to listen to and new things are frequently added. Each of the shows on Pendant have a new episode scheduled monthly. Links on these sites can guide you to more.


428 Nick March 23, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Having everything neatly laid out the night before (such as clothes and other items) helps me a lot, and it also becomes such a habit that you don’t even really have to think about it.

429 Nik R March 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I take the subway usually…sometimes I ride my bike all the way or just to a further subway stop…on the subway I read, contemplate life or just people watch.

I note on these sorts of promotions:
1. Advertisements help pay to keep this great website going- more substantial promotions like this surely offer a larger sum towards this goal and keep these pages from being inundated with loads of smaller adds

2. Sure it’s a promotion but it offers us a chance for a prize and all it takes is a minute of your time

3. Saddleback items look like additions to any man’s arsenal which I hope to purchase one day, much more than most other items posted here- shameless promotion or not I’ll stand by it!

4. We all have a choice- to click or not to click- if you dislike posts/promotions like this there is a simple solution to your issue: rather than coming and adding to your displeasure by taking extra time to write about it, try avoiding the post altogether (they are very easily identified so this should not be a challenge).

We are all obviously entitled to our own thoughts and opinions- these are mine. Have a nice day!

430 Larry March 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I get as much stuff ready the night before as I can. It allows me a few minutes of extra sleep and keeps me from searching for items that I need so I can get out the door when I need to.

431 Paul March 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Props to Terry on the prayer…..regardless of your faith, some time to yourself and your spirit can be a good thing. You never know when you’re gonna go!

432 EJ March 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Love my Stanley, I’ve had one since I was 12 ! I will never buy another brand unless they change the design. If that happens then I guess I’m SOL as the other brands out there stink. I haven’t gotten a Saddleback bag yet but it looks very nice.

433 Ron March 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I usually drive along in silence, as the rest of my day is filled with noise from coworkers, machines, radios, etc. It allows for uninterrupted conversation and not talking over the radio on the rare occasion I am giving a ride to a coworker, but more often it allows me to be alone and free with my thoughts and creativity. I can plan my day, my life, or just daydream.

Whenever the mood strikes and I get bored of the same route, I try a different route, to see some new scenery. Different buildings, different, trees, streets, and people … get a broader view of the world.

Although I have a cheap thermos, barely used but full of dings and other issues, it was given to me by a close personal friend and mentor. I can’t help but to think of the green classic Stanley Thermos you have pictured. That thermos is exactly what my mentor carried around with him and had it as his companion for many, many years in the field. Duct tape and cord, I can picture it now, it had seen a lot in his years in the field. I would like my own thermos, so that one day many years from now when I am old and gray, mentoring some younger kid, I will have my worn out thermos companion from all my years in the field.

434 Norman March 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I listen to Old Time Radio on my in-car satellite radio.

435 Brian P March 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

@Nik R: I dislike sitting down to read an article that I think will contain useful information only to be be greeted with shameless promotions, especially when the product being advertised has NOTHING to do with the premise of the article. I would like to own a Saddleback briefcase too, but that doesn’t mean I want to be inundated with ridiculous ads for it; and this promotion was not in any way “easily identified”.

Secondly, why not voice my displeasure? Why does every post have to be rainbows and puppy dogs? I did so because I have liked coming to this site for a long time and I don’t want it to turn into a giant billboard…Have all the ads you want, I just don’t like the integrity of the articles suffering because of it.

436 John H. March 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Every morning I MUST have a big mug of scalding hot, sweet, strong flavored tea to get me going. Irish breakfast tea (as pointed out by Brian on 3/23/2011 2:36 am) is one of my favorites, or a good malty “straight” Assam tea. On weekdays I sometimes drink it at home before I leave, but usually I take the open mug in my old Volvo 240 wagon (my idea of a “manly” car). A Stanley vaccum bottle would be great to keep it hot … and from spilling. I say “vacuum bottle” because, according to the Thermos(R) web site http://www.thermos.com/, “Thermos is a registered trademark in over 115 countries”). Perhaps “thermos” with a lower-case ‘t’ is not trademarked?

437 Patrick March 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I tried the Great Courses in the car but I miss too much iof what the Teacher is saying. I instead do book on CD. Fiction work well when listening in the car. By the way I get both the Great Courses and the Book on CDs from my Local Library.

438 Philip March 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm

My goal for each commute is to drive safely. The thing that I changed a while ago was to stay off my phone driving to and from work. Not only does this make the drive more safe, but, after spending all day on the phone, it’s the last thing I want to do before or after work. Now, all I need is to trade in my old Jeep for a new, safe Elantra.

439 John March 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Learning Spanish from tape

440 Aaron March 23, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Coffee or tea and music in teh morning, cigar and talk radio on the way home.

One question, why is the evening commute always longer than the morning commute?

441 David Keller March 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

To make my commute less painful, I normally make some tea. It honestly does normally go cold though, so its not as amazing as it sounds.

442 Norman Kraft March 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm

The Dragnet radio shows are all available in pretty good quality on archive.org. There is a lot of excellent audio for long commutes on that mega-library site. The Great Courses are another good option, though I find they are better for train commutes than driving commutes. As to the Thermos, I can second that: I still have the one my father gave me 30 years ago. Indestructible, absolutely wonderful, and they only look better over time.

443 Ben Tuthill March 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I take a cold shower in the morning to wake myself up, and then bike to work. The fresh air is all I need to start the day.

444 Taylor March 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I try to focus on my driving, maximizing fuel efficiency in the hybrid.

445 Gregg March 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm

My commute to work is about 40 mins there and back. BUT I am a truck driver so I drive up to the branch location, get in my truck, drive back down the way I came (wave at my exit for home)…drive back up to branch (wave again) then back home. So 4 times a day on the same highway gets to be a bit much. I enjoy mixing up the Ipod play list. A little 20′s classic band music in the early am and some modern mixes in the pm along with an occasional pipe on the way home to deal with traffic.

446 Erik March 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I’ve been making the most of my commute lately by listening to quality podcasts from NPR. “RadioLab”, a radio documentary series, is one of my favorites, and they have tons of 15-60 minute shows available. “This American Life” is also a wonderfully engaging show. I’ve also checked out two FREE ebooks from my public library. The 15-18 hour runtime of an unabridged novel seemed daunting at first, but with all the driving I’ve been doing I finished two books in about a month! Plus I was still able to read other books (like part two of the Teddy Roosevelt biography) in bed at night!

447 Kevin March 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Like the old stories from our forefathers, who used to hike for miles through snow to get to school, consider biking to work. Learn the rules of the road as a biker, maintain your bike, wear the appropriate safety gear and clothing to protect you from the worst that mother nature has to throw at us. Most major cities in fact promote such a day once a year. In San Francisco it’s coming up on May 12, 2011.

448 CJ March 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I swim in the freezing river by my house. That never feels like routine.

449 Kyle G March 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Audio books mostly. And a little music.

450 Tanner O March 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm

My grandfather passed on to me his old wartime canteen. I use that for my morning coffee. It makes me think not only of him, but also of how real men act and live in times of great stress and triumph.

None of which can compete to the horrible morning commute I have!

451 Luke March 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I download lectures off of iTunesU to augment my classes. And I listen to the History of Rome podcast (http://thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/). Might as well use my long commute to learn just a little bit more.

452 Matt March 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm

NPR is outstanding. Sometimes just silence and the windows down.

453 Michael March 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I have been on a morning caffeine cleanse, and I have been reducing caffeine at night as well and I wake up more refreshed and wake up faster now. I also like to read a few pages from a book to start my day, I am currently reading about Alexander Hamilton.

454 Michael Harlan March 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

NPR snaps me out of my morning commute

455 Ryan Cooper March 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Strongly concur with a great many of the previous comments…I post this one so as to get out of another routine…i.e. Reading the tremendous articles this site has to offer and wanting to comment but never doing it….(also that’s not blowing smoke…true thoughts)….back to the morning routine….of those that strike closest to home…
1. The occasional switch from coffee to tea (English style)
2. A wide variety of podcasts, audiobooks, and lectures….but there are days (usually afternoons after work) that i don’t want to learn anything and just let the music wash over me.

Great site…promotions and all…nothing wrong with putting those accoutrements of manliness we all long for out there for us to crave.

456 Enoch March 23, 2011 at 11:01 pm

I ride my bicycle year round to work while switching up my route on occasion to keep it interesting. Nothing wakes me up more then weaving in and out if traffic dodging the crazies on the road to and from work. Opon arrival my mind is focaused and alert, and I’ve always got a good story to tell about my journey.

457 Matthew March 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm

While it may be boring to some, I’ve found a local radio station that plays classical music. It’s quite soothing and helps me clear my mind for the day ahead.

458 Joe March 23, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Once the weather gets warmer, I think I’ll get back into the cold shower, or “James Bond” shower that A0M has covered in the past

459 Joe March 23, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I love starting my morning checking out the latest on the Art of Manliness!

460 Yangmusa March 24, 2011 at 12:00 am

Try commuting by bike! It’s easy, and it really clears my head in the morning. It’s a great way to de-stress at the end of a long day too. And it sneaks exercise into my day “for free” since it’s time I would have otherwise commuting but not burning calories. Here in San Francisco it’s WAY faster than transit, and roughly on par with driving. But drivers don’t have as nice legs ;-)

461 Erik March 24, 2011 at 12:17 am

I go with a shower in the morning, where I turn it to cold at the end for a few seconds to wake me up. I guess that doesn’t apply to the commute, but it keeps me awake for the drive, while I listen to an enjoyable morning talk show.

462 Gary March 24, 2011 at 12:19 am

I have a 45 minute drive through the Texas countryside. I look out at the bluebonnets and shut the radio off. Tune in to the thoughts in your own head. Practice “listening” to yourself. You’d be surprised how intuitive and insightful you are when you stop listening to everyone else and get totally lost in your own mind.

463 Jonathan Logemann March 24, 2011 at 12:54 am

I too am sick of the fart making DJs, so I try to memorize new poems or quotes that I love. Many AoM poems!

464 Jake Miller March 24, 2011 at 1:35 am

I just quit commuting!

465 Ryan Wells March 24, 2011 at 1:39 am

Well at first dawn I am awakened by the sound of the sun as it pierces through the atmosphere, then I wrestle a cyote to keep the sleep from returnin. And as I ride the local trolly, I pick craziest lookin’ hobo and challenge him to thumb war to invigorate my interpersonal communication. Then I usually sit back and listen to some wnyc radiolab podcast on my itouch.

466 Kevin G March 24, 2011 at 2:00 am

Ride a motorcycle. It reminds me of that old saying about never crossing the same river twice. Well it’s never the same ride either. You’re like a part of the rivers of traffic that flow every morning. It most definitely invigorates the senses – nothing like feeling the wind, sun, rain, smelling, tasting, seeing, thinking, the engine vibrating… Never a dull moment on a motorcycle. Plus, most motorcycles don’t have a cup-holder either and so a Thermos such as this one would come in handy.

467 Baradoch March 24, 2011 at 2:51 am

Go for a run. Make sure I have a smile for the family in the morning.

468 Jay Banks March 24, 2011 at 4:32 am

Cup of strong coffee I make myself every morning and drink it on the way to work is one part of my daily commuting, second part is good jazz CD, I like to listen to Glen Miller Orchestra or some of the older stuff. This combination makes my day.

469 Steven March 24, 2011 at 8:31 am

I currently don’t have much of a commute, but when I do, iTunes U has been helpful as well as various podcasts in my field, or general programs from NPR. I’ll switch and listen to music sometimes also. I’ve always enjoyed actually listening to music, not just as background.

470 Jared March 24, 2011 at 8:49 am

I find that trying different routes to work breaks up the routine of my daily commute. It might add 5-10 minutes to the drive, but taking the backroads and forcing myself to navigate (without GPS) helps to keep things fresh.

471 Dave March 24, 2011 at 9:13 am

I try to take different ways in to work. Not only can I find shortcuts to shave some time off the commute, it keeps the scenery changing and keeps me a bit more focused.

472 Michael Cieslinski March 24, 2011 at 9:40 am

As a student, I like put my lectures on my iPod and listen on the way to school. About a 30 min commute. I’m a little cheaper when it comes to the audio lectures so I either buy the cd courses when they go on Sale at barnes and nobles (usually ~$20) or I download free iTunes U lectures/ podcasts. I just recently finished “the history of liberty” by the Mises institute and it was awesome. And free.

Aside. I just shaved for the first time with my new (antique) safety razor. It was amazing how close I was able to get. Love it.

473 Greg March 24, 2011 at 9:43 am

Minnesota public radio has some of the best broadcasting in the country, that always helps and it is always informative.

474 Jason March 24, 2011 at 9:44 am

Podcasts and NPR

475 Ian March 24, 2011 at 10:01 am

My old man has had a Stanley Thermos since before I can remember. It was a standard item in the duck blinds of Manitoba. Gotta stay warm and alert!

476 Ryan March 24, 2011 at 10:29 am

I consume a giant cup of Tim Horton’s to kick the day off.

477 Tyler March 24, 2011 at 10:57 am

In addition to the NPR and iTunesU tools that others seem to use, I have recently (now that the weather here in North Carolina is getting really nice) started walking to work at least once a week. It’s about a 45 minute walk for me versus an 8-10 minute drive (I choose to walk on a less direct but less busy path than I drive), I use that time to enjoy nature and listen to the news. It’s been amazing.

478 dave melendez March 24, 2011 at 11:02 am

I brew my coffee.take it in a travel mug .make a list tasks i need to finish that day and i walk the dog for at least a mile before i hit the road so i’m wide awake.

479 ATL March 24, 2011 at 11:14 am

Headphones are a must to combat the requisite crazy person on every city bus. Sometimes, I even put them in my ears without plugging them into anything to just dull the noise.

480 Penny March 24, 2011 at 11:39 am

This article should have been titled: 5 Ways To Spend Money That You Don’t Need To Spend.

481 Jeff March 24, 2011 at 11:49 am

Riding my bike is the best way to switch up a commute. Nothing like being out in the elements to help teach you how to appreciate your time, rather than simply trying to kill it.

482 Joe S March 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Oddly enough, I find that if I wake up a half hour earlier than normal and shave with a straight razor, my mornings go much smoother. I’ll be already in the mindset of concentrating for the rest of my morning, because if I don’t concentrate while shaving, I get a handy little reminder.

483 dave b March 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm

i concur with all those who who suggested the bike commute – even if you have to cheat. After 12 yrs of commuting [8 year round] i moved way out int he country and now drive part way then bike the rest depending on weather [15k each way in winter 25-40 in the summer]
partial ride is better than no ride at all!

484 Nicholas Pain March 24, 2011 at 12:58 pm

A previous AoM post has contributed to a better commute for me. After reading the classic rhetoric posts, I did some searching in the iTunes store and found an iTunes U course for Rhetoric 10 from UC-Berkeley. It has proven to be a very interesting and enlightening listen, something I’m not ready to turn off when I get to work.

485 Shawn March 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Lately, I’ve been leaving the radio off. Rather than listen to what someone else thinks, it gives me space to work out what I think.

486 Andy March 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Audiobooks are my new thing for my commute.

487 Jonathan R.B. March 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I listen to audiobooks. I’m currently listening to Theodore Rex.!

488 Jordan Allen March 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I really like ending my warm, sleepy morning showers with the James Bond Shower. Really wakes you up and gets you ready for the day! After that, catch up on my national news with NPR.

489 Jacob S. March 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm

If the thermos in the picture were a dark blue and scuffed up, it would be an exact replica of my grandfather’s thermos. He was the sort of man who did things the exact same way everyday. Coffee in thermos. Same faded blue jeans, denim shirt, and work boots. Same lunch, Mars bar for a snack. News every evening, bread and butter with dinner. Buttermilk to finish it off. Every. Single. Day.

490 Jeff March 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I download (or get from library) audiobooks. I loose myself so much during some commutes that I actually hope for traffic!

491 Jonathan March 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Create your own audio CDs. Everyone has a series of songs that create a certain mood; discover which songs would be applicable to your hopeful commuting mood.

492 peterjim March 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I trust my iPhone to break me out of my boring commute. Keep it loaded with an audio book or various podcasts and occasionally a round of Angry Birds or Tetris to pass the bus ride home.

493 Brett Burnes March 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I have a 60 mile commute to work (each way)–I think every time I say that out-loud, Al Gore dies a little inside. Well, anyway, I have found two things that keep me sane.

Firstly, I always have a travel mug of hot almost-black coffee with me. Additionally I have become an avid listener of audiobooks. It’s given me the opportunity to expose myself to some classics which I’d otherwise probably never have picked up.

But more important, is the change of thinking necessary. I drive through about 40 miles of desert before dropping into the city in which I work. Rocky, craggy mountains flank me on either side as I drive. One might think that every day I’m looking at the same old scenery but quite to the contrary, every day is a new scene. Everyday the light is hitting the mountains a little differently, every day, the weather is a little different. One must learn to appreciate the moment as it’s happening!

494 RazzorRay March 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm

My coworker and friend had an cesna 150 airplane and if the weather permitted we would fly to work. We meet at the airport where his plane was kept and flew to the airport across the street from where we worked. It was quite the adventure. We should have all had flying cars by now anyway, right?

495 Ken. OBrien March 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

My dorm room mate and I like to box each other each morning,but we cant be too rough or me and Earning will get black eyes.

496 Thad March 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Already have a thermos but could use another to haul soup for lunch! I use it and WTOP, DC’s most listened to station (as they say every morning) to help get me to work.


497 Dave March 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Most mornings I fool myself into thinking that I’m not actually driving to work. Some days I’ve got the boat behind me and I’m heading out fishing. Some days (when I’m in a rush) I’m evading a zombie invasion. Some days I’m going on vacation. The fantasy changes but it’s always the same, I’m not driving to the office.

Self delusional? Sure. But it works for me.

498 michael starling March 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Audio books work for me!

499 Jeff March 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm

My ipod, back roads, and my brain. The best tools to keep the morning commute stress free.

500 Tony March 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I listen to NPR. It is intellectually stimulating.

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