Choose Your Commute Wisely: It Has a HUGE Impact on Your Happiness

Why it’s useful

Have you commuters found any really good way to pass this commute time?

When I started my company in 2001, I worked out of my house. My office was in a separate space inside the house, so I had ZERO commute, but I still had some distance between my life and work.

Around 2004, I leased an office space about 6 blocks away my house so I could hire my first employee. My commute was under 5 minutes. In 2007, I moved about a mile up the hill and my commute approached the 10 minute mark. That 10 minutes could be 15 if I got stuck behind a bus or garbage truck on the way down the hill, but not really anything to complain about.

Then in early 2016 we moved our office 7 blocks from 1400 Shattuck Avenue to 2150 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. As a result, my drive time increased about 8-10 minutes. I also went from easy parking to more difficult parking and added a 7 floor elevator ride to my commute. Now my total time from the front door of my house to the front door of my office is 20+/- minutes.

This last move has been a difficult adjustment for me. It seems utterly ridiculous that a 7 block move would double my commute time, but that is what traffic and parking does. And, if I’m driving at 9:00 a.m. (when EVERYONE else is driving and all the pedestrians are crossing the street at the same time,) I can easily add yet another 5-10 minutes.

I don’t mind driving my kids around, but I don’t like driving to work. It stresses me out and it reduces my happiness. I shouldn’t complain. I know I have it better than many folks in the Bay Area. I’m even grateful for my 20 minute commute relative to some of the more insane commutes I know of – I have a friend who bikes to the train, takes the train for an hour and then bikes to the office for a 90 minute commute EACH WAY. He’s in fantastic shape, but ouch!

Despite my gratitude for a relatively short commute, when I have the opportunity to reduce my travel time to the office, you can be sure I will take it.

But for all my griping, according to Christopher Ingraham’s Washington Post article, my commute is a little bit less than average. The average person’s commute to work is 26 ½ minutes. This means the Average American spent more than 9 full days getting to and from work last year. That is 216 hours in the car going to and from work.

Have you commuters found any really good way to pass this commute time?