Trains, busses, trams, and the metro all look so glamorous in the movies. The starlet (let’s call her “Carrie Bradshaw” or something equally sparkly and clichéd) hastens—never runs—towards the platform, breathless, but never sweating, and steps onto whatever mode of public transportation is lucky enough to be graced with her size 6.5 patent leather pumps that day. She’s whisked away towards her metropolitan destination—most likely a cocktail bar or Saks Fifth Avenue—and arrives in a matter of seconds, only pausing for a moment to smile shyly at the man across from her before flitting off.
If only it were that simple.
Whether you live in the heart of the city or on the outskirts of one, chances are you’ve had to deal with the daily commute to and from work more times than you ever wanted to. And for those of you who are all too familiar with this practice you know it is often a long, irritating, soul-sucking journey to a destination you’re not too keen on visiting. While we here at Literally, Darling like to think of ourselves as miracle-workers, our powers lie mainly in drinking tea and finding pictures of small animals that are simultaneously adorable and badass. We can’t change your destination, nor the length of your commute, but we can make them both much more enjoyable. Here are a few tips to make that trip to the office, however long it is, suck a lot less and become even a little more productive.
1. Don’t start your day with your commute
Starting your morning with the dreaded commute is bound to put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day, so make time to do something you enjoy before you hop on the bus, tram, or whatever mode of transportation you use. This may be a short jog around the block, a quick journal entry, a special breakfast, or even a phone call to your mom. If you go to bed knowing you have something positive to look forward to, you’ll wake up more eager to face the day and feel as though you’ve accomplished something long before you get to work.
2. Minimize stress, be punctual.
Although you should make time for yourself in the morning, don’t be late to catching your ride. Unanticipated traffic jams and interruptions can throw trams and buses off schedule, and these delays can be very stressful—particularly if you find yourself cutting it too close to clock-in time. To avoid a long trip of anxious nail biting, allot 10 or 15 extra minutes for your commute. Worst case scenario, you get to work on time; best case scenario, your early arrival wins you some brownie points with the boss.
3. Be efficient: Invest in a city card for public transportation.
If your commute occurs more than a couple times a week, it’s worth buying a permanent city card that you can swipe upon entering any mode of public transportation, rather than using individual tickets. These cards are issued at most cities’ Departments of Transportation for a flat fee and can be recharged monthly. In the long run, using a city card can save a lot of money and even more time spent digging for coins.
4. Dress appropriately.
Comfort is key and it’s going to be a long ride. Wear clothes that travel well and won’t get wrinkled from an hour or more of sitting. If you know the bus is colder or warmer than the climate outside, dress in layers in order to adapt to the changing temperatures. You don’t have to look presentable until you get to the office, so wear comfy shoes and carry your heels. Unless you actually are Carrie Bradshaw, in which case you should definitely wear your heels at all times.
5. Treat yo self.
Just like looking put together, you don’t need to be fully awake until you get to the office. If an extra cup of coffee is what’s going to get you through the morning, bring it with you! Didn’t have time to eat before you left the house? Grab a snack that travels well—a muffin, banana, granola bar—instead of giving yourself indigestion from shoveling something down before you head out the door. If you know you’ll be hungry on the way home, bring something extra to tide you over until dinner.
6. Accessorize (but be practical).
No, I don’t mean you need to wear those diamond earrings that make your eyes pop or that chunky necklace you wore on your 21st birthday, but haven’t worn since. Instead, accessorize with a tote bag or larger purse that can fit everything you’ll need for the day: your planner, laptop, high heels, packed lunch, umbrella, etc. Make sure you can carry it comfortably and it’s not so large that it will take up a lot of space at your feet.
7. Pass the time productively.
If you have 30 minutes or an hour to kill, you might as well get something done along the way. Spend this time responding to emails you’ve been ignoring, catching up on the news, or reading another chapter in your book. Once you have something to occupy your mind, time will fly and you’ll have arrived feeling more satisfied than you would have had you stared out the window the whole time.
8. Tune out. Literally.
Create a playlist of upbeat songs or feel-good tracks that will take your mind off the long ride and keep you humming along and tapping your feet all day. Put your iPod on shuffle or subscribe to Spotify Premium to get unlimited access to songs, albums, and playlists for every occasion. Even the boring ones.
Happy traveling, Darlings!
Have a particularly dreadful commute or more tips on how to make commuting more pleasant? Tweet us @LitDarling!
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