Work Experience

Tips on making the most of a commute

Posted by Pixafy Team


Holiday festivities are in full swing!

As with most holiday weekends, an incredible number of people will be traveling to see their loved ones or to their vacation destinations. With long traffic delays this can easily unravel into a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be so stressful!  You can turn to some simple ideas commuters like myself pursue to make the time more productive and enjoyable.

It wasn’t all that long ago (my early- and mid-20s) that I was pretty adamant that I would never work in New York. I don’t know if it was the pace, the environment, the enjoyment of what I was doing at the time, but I just didn’t think it was for me.  I’m glad I shook that off, as I love my job today, but one of the things I probably dreaded most has been something I’ve over time become most at peace with: my commute.

When I initially started with Pixafy, I was two hours from New York and in the middle of a lease that was not worth breaking. As such, it meant at least four hours in some combination of driving in a car or riding a commuter train. More recently, I moved closer to the office, where my commute is a more reasonable hour each direction, mostly by train, and it’s now become my favorite part of the day.

A commute doesn’t have to be dead time; there’s plenty to do that keeps me busy, although the fact that our trains don’t currently have Wi-Fi gives me an excuse to keep the laptop put away.  Here are some of the things I enjoy doing with my commute:

  • Listen to audio (and not just music). When I was younger I had longer commutes than I did now, which led me to be a bit adventurous and delve into the world of podcasting.  As such, I balance my listening time between music and comedy-driven shows like “Never Not Funny,” “WTF with Marc Maron” or “Girl on Guy.”  I also have become addicted to a British radio show, “Just a Minute,” that is great audio listening for the commute (quite a few episodes are available on iTunes in the audiobooks section).
  • Read books. The first months of the commute I was chewing through books faster than I could purchase them. (Thank goodness for the 3G version of the Kindle, thanks to no Wi-Fi!) Given the trains are generally relatively quiet, if you’re able to read while a vehicle is in motion, it’s a great place to do it.
  • Catch up on TV shows. When I got my iPad it became an option, and although I didn’t get into it as much as I thought I would, sometimes I just get so hooked on a show watching on the train keeps me going instead of having to wait until I get home.
  • Puzzle books. During a long flight when I was young, my father purchased a puzzle book from the newsstand to keep me occupied.  This has become a de facto option for me more than 20 years later. Currently, I’m favoring Japanese logic puzzles from Nikoli; they tend to be challenging, yet quite satisfying when I break through a tough spot. The puzzle magazines produced by Dell, Penny Press and GAMES Magazine are also regular stand-bys for me, and are readily available in most newsstands. I also have apps for the iPad that fall in this vein. I tend to favor math and logic puzzles, as opposed to crosswords, but it depends on the day.
  • Nap. Given the long days, sometimes that extra little sleep makes all the difference.  It’s particularly enjoyable when there’s train delays; sometimes I even hope for them!

How do you keep yourself occupied during your commute? Share in the comments!