How do you survive a long commute? People do it, because USA Today reports about 8 percent of the nation's workers take an hour or longer to get to work. Nearly 600,000 full-time workers endure 'megacommutes,' defined by new U.S. Census data on commuting as 1.5 hours and 50 miles.
I asked seven people with hour-plus daily commutes how they make the most of their time.
"On a good day, my CT-NYC commute is 1.5 hours. On a bad day, 2 hours and counting! My favorite way to pass the time is to listen to radio stations with call-in contests. Thanks to hands-free speed dial and, most important, redial, over the years I won an office visit--yes for a full hour, from the rock group Sugar Ray and tickets to a private Sheryl Crow concert! My most disappointing miss...I came in second for an all-expense paid trip to the Superbowl!"
Julie Davis Canter, author of Waddley Sees The World
"I'm learning Spanish! I commute an hour to work via train/subway and it's the perfect length of time to squeeze in practice - especially because I might not normally make the time for it otherwise! I've been thinking about learning Spanish for a while, simply because I believe it is useful to have a second language – especially one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. Since I spend two hours out of my day getting to and from work, I wanted to make good use of the time, so I decided to commit and it's been working really well so far!"
Ashlee White, Account Coordinator, MWW
"I commute into Boston every day for work. Door-to-door, pending any delays, each one-way trip for me is about 1 hour, 40 minutes. My commute involves driving (car), commuter rail, subway, and walking. To make the most of the time I write cards - I still send birthday cards, anniversary cards, etc., so I'll fill them out and address them on the train. I always keep stationery and stamps in my bag and an Excel file of all my contacts in my Google Drive, which I pull up on the Google Drive app so I can easily fill out the recipient's address and drop off the card in the mail once I get to work.
I draft to-do lists, shopping lists, and clip coupons in the morning ride so I can easily go directly to the food store or run errands after getting off the train at night."
Meredith D'Agostino, Account Director 451marketing
"My typical week starts with an early Monday morning pick-up at my apartment in New York City. After a ride to the airport that can take anywhere between 20-45 minutes, I wait for about 15-30 minutes at the gate and read or relax. When on the plane I am either sleeping or working on my computer, depending on the week. After arriving at the destination airport, I either rent a car or take a taxi to the client site. On Thursdays, I generally arrive back in New York in the early evening and take a taxi back to my apartment. On the Thursday flights I will either read or get some work done, again depending on the week. In total my weekly commute is 8 hours."
Sander van den Bergh, Senior Business Analyst
"I live in Valencia, CA and work in LA off the 405 freeway. This means my commute in the morning is at least an hour and a half and an hour to two hours in the afternoon. This means my daily commute can be anywhere between 2.5 and 3.5 hours. If there is an accident or it's rainy that day my commute can reach 4+ hours. I take advantage of the time by calling family members during my drive who I haven't spoken to in a while. I also enjoy listening to audio books. I can get through books in less than a week easily with my drive."
Roxanna Eke, PR Associate
"We live in Hempstead, Texas, and commute into Houston, 1 hour 15 minutes each way (longer in traffic.) I commute with my 9-year-old child, and we listen to the Broadway channel on
Sirius/XM and discuss the songs and singers. When we aren't listening to music, my daughter practices her singing for voice class or she does her homework in the back seat out loud so that I can listen and correct her if necessary."
Tobi Kosanke, Senior Geologist, Marathon Oil Company
"I have a 5-hour commute. I drive from Michigan to Pittsburgh and back every other week. I purchased an Audible account and use to learn about business or enjoy it for pleasure."
John W. Beiter, Ph.D., Executive Coach & Psychologist