How to Shorten Your Commute to Work

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Are you interested in shortening the length of your commute from your home to your place of work or school?

Do you want to triumphantly arrive at your desk, workstation, or area, with minutes to spare?

Shortening one’s commute may seem like a pipe dream, but in fact it is entirely achievable.

You just need to know how and where to look at your routine in order to streamline it.

In this post, I offer several tips that will help you shorten the length of your commute.


Leave a few minutes earlier from home.

It may sound a bit strange, but leaving a few minutes earlier from your home can potentially shorten the amount of time you spend commuting.

It all has to do with numbers of people.

How can this be?

Every rush hour has peaks and valleys of activity.

Peak rush hour means more people, while off-peak hours means, you guessed, it fewer people.

Fewer people means less crowding and delays on roads and public transportation.

Ultimately, you’ll want to catch the tail end of the off-peak rush hour, before things get way too hectic. Try doing some experimentation with your routine.

Simply catching an earlier train, bus, or ferry can mean missing extremely large crowds of people. Leaving ten minutes earlier from your home may mean you miss the predictable 8 A.M. traffic snarl at the big interstate junction.

Change your exit strategy.

You probably know the closest train station stop or highway exit to your office. On first glance, this makes perfect sense; the closest stop or exit is the shortest distance to your place of work. In many cases, however, this doesn’t translate smoothly to the amount of time it takes you to travel from said stop or exit.

Depending on the physical structure of a highway or station exit, the density of office buildings, and numbers of commuters, you may actually end up taking more time to travel this shorter distance…without even realizing it.

Consider taking the stops or exits before or after your normal one. Doing so may save you several minutes that would have been spent sitting in traffic or waiting for a crowd to dissipate at a subway station.

Perhaps you could take an express train instead of the local, and walk a few extra blocks. Or, you might decide to take an earlier highway exit and take local roads the rest of the way to the office.

Seek out different travel routes and modes of transportation.

Humans are creatures of habit. Once we find one way of doing something (e.g. a commuting routine), we’re loathe to change it. You may know of one way to get to your place of work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only way.

If you drive to work, consider taking different travel routes. Make use of any combination of local roads, highways, expressways, and byways. You would use a driving or traffic app to help you plan out the quickest route to the office.

If you live in a large metropolitan area, you may have access to different bus, train, trolley, subway, shuttle or ferry lines in your neighborhood. Why not give them a try over the course of a week or month? You may find taking a different mode of transportation will actually shorten your commute.

Work remotely from home.

This is the ultimate commute shortening technique! If you work for a company that allows you to work remotely from home, you should seriously consider it. Get in touch with your human resources department, and/or ask your supervisor or boss about your company’s remote work policies.

Once you know how many remote hours are available to you, can plan out your schedule accordingly. Sure, you may not be able to work remotely every single day of the week, but having one or two days at your disposal on a regular basis can seriously save you a chunk of commute time over the course of a year.

How about you? What is your normal commute like? What are some ways you can potentially shorten it? Which of the above suggestions are you going to try out? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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