I've been commuting in Washington, D.C. for almost 2 years now. I watch thousands of people running to catch trains, waiting in lines for a bus, or sitting bumper to bumper in cars. Looking outside the metro's window at the number of people trying to get to their destinations - seemingly all at the same time.
Did you know the average one-way commute time in the U.S. is 26 minutes? It's true, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau if you commute to a full-time, 5-day-a-week job, roundtrip, that adds up to 4.35 hours a week and over 200 hours (nearly nine days) per year! Raised in Connecticut, I knew traffic was bad in our area, but it looks like the entire East Coast (plus California) has some of the worst commutes in the country, with my new home taking top billing:
- Washington, D.C. (44 minutes)
- New York (35 minutes)
- Maryland (31 minutes)
- Massachusetts (31 minutes)
- California (29 minutes)
Commuting is tough and it definitely isn't for everyone. I find that the best way to make the most of it is to be prepared for just about anything and to take time for myself.
At Piper and Dune we want you to save time and make the most of your commute. Pack early, pack light - schedules change on the fly, trains are delayed, weather is always a factor... Forego the heavy tote bag you’ve had for years and go for a sleek leather backpack, leather satchel, oxford zipup or other crossbody bag that keeps your hands free. If you weather proof a leather bag, it will be your best friend for years to come. If you are lucky, someone will give you one of these timeless bags for your college graduation or birthday!
Packing your bag: leave these items in your bag each night- headphones, a pair of gloves, lip balm, a mini umbrella, phone charger and sunglasses, in there each night so you won’t forget them come 6am. The night before, stock up your snack reserve – you never know when the hunger might hit. Try a “Perfect Bar” they are seriously so filling in a pinch and always curb my appetite! Be sure to fill your Piper and Dune Que Bottle with water and put it in your bag. These bottles are great; once they are empty, just collapse them into a small hockey puck size- they don’t take up space and they aren’t heavy to carry like your old Stainless Steel water bottles.
Ultimately, commuter time is all yours. My mom used to tell me her one hour commute in the car was the only time she was alone during the day and she would frequently ride without the radio on, in pure silence. She said it was the only time in her day when she could think quietly and mentally organize her thoughts. Use the time any way you want -entertain yourself and reflect. On the way to work I typically listen to quick hitting news recaps, or use a meditation app. Getting your brain going is the best way to start a day. On the way home I prefer to sing-along to my favorite songs. I call a loved one, or use Siri to help me set my priorities for the next day. Having a to-do list set for the next morning always puts me at ease. Reviewing the calendar during these spare moments is invaluable. Bottomline, change your mindset from dreading your commute to using it to make yourself happy.
Explore What Excites You!
Sarah and The Piper and Dune Family
P.S. “My Dad’s advice is to be safe, put your phone down, look forward and don’t walk into a pole, lol!”