According to the U.S. Census, 4 million drivers travel 90 minutes or more each way to work. These individuals are now classified as “super commuters.”1
If you're one of them, how can you make the most of the many hours spent in your car? We talked to Amica's own super commuters, who shared their secrets for maximizing productivity and enjoyment during their long drives each day.
Stock up ahead of time
"Before I leave home, I make sure I have everything I need for the day," says Meghan Steines, an adjuster in Amica's Hartford Regional Office. Her daily checklist includes not just her work gear — such as a phone charger, laptop or portable printer — but also water and snacks.
Nate Matko, a supervising adjuster in Amica's Southeastern Massachusetts Office, takes it one step further: "My commute can vary from 10 minutes to eight hours, depending on where I'm going, so I always have a case of water in the trunk."
Best to-do list apps of 2018:1
- Any.do (for iPhone)
- Gneo (for iPhone)
- Remember the Milk
- Google Keep (Web)
1The Best To-Do List Apps of 2018, PC Mag, 2018.
Fine-tune your tech
Best navigation apps:1
- Google Maps
- Apple Maps
1The Best Navigation Apps for iOS and Android, Digital Trends, 2019.
"There's a big difference between having something right there that's easily accessible, versus just being tossed in your cup holder," he notes.
Best music streaming services:1
- Amazon Music Unlimited & Prime Music
- YouTube Music and Google Play Music
1Best Music Streaming Services, Consumer Reports, 2019.
- The Daily (The New York Times)
- This American Life (This American Life)
- Stuff You Should Know (iHeartRadio)
- Up First (NPR)
- TED Radio Hour (NPR)
- Planet Money (NPR)
- Pardon My Take (Barstool Sports)
- Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! (NPR)
- Fresh Air (NPR)
- The Ben Shapiro Show (Daily Wire)
1Top Podcasts, PodTrac, 2018.
Connect with others
Commute time doesn't have to be wasted time, as long as you use technology that puts safety first. Justin Koutros, a senior adjuster in Amica's Hartford Regional Office, reaches out to clients and responds to voicemail with a hands-free device during his drive. When Matko embarks on a particularly long drive, he calls his extended relatives. "Those are the times I best connect with my family," he says. "I live several states away, and they appreciate [having time to talk] whenever I have a long commute ahead of me."
Take the scenic route
On your morning commute, you usually just want to get where you're going. But on the drive home, consider trading the highway for more scenic byways. "I look at different routes depending on the time of year," Matko says. "If it's fall, I sneak through a wooded area, if it doesn't add too much time, just to kind of mix up the travel."
Paradis agrees that the drive back from work may offer more flexibility. "Sometimes, I will get off a few exits earlier and take the back roads knowing I really don't have a destination other than home, so there's no real set time for me."
Appreciate the little things
Every now and then, making a small upgrade or change in environment can be all that's needed to improve your mood while commuting.
"Driving can be stressful, so try to focus on those things you can control," Steines recommends. "I just put a new air freshener in my car, and it makes my ride a bit more relaxing. Just having those little things helps overall."