Easy Rider: 7 Commuting Tips To Make Getting To Work Fun and Productive

Last Updated Jul 7, 2011 1:41 PM EDT

Hate your commute? If you can't figure out a way to work from home, there are still some ways to make it better. For instance, when I got tired of the morning subway commute when I worked in a New York City office, I walked, killing three birds with one stone (my workout, my commute, and my desire not to spend rush hour being crushed by crowds).

Wherever you live and however you get to work, if your regular routine of iPod or morning show isn't cutting it, I have some fresh ideas. Here are 7 great tips from fellow riders, bikers and walkers:

1."My commute is an hour [in the car] each way. I listen to lots of book CDs, motivational speakers, and I am forever downloading free podcasts off of iTunes. Lately, I have been learning Italian on my commute, thanks to some free podcasts. But my biggest commute accomplishment is I actually taught myself to yodel!" -- Christina Hallock, Gig Harbor, WA

2."One of the biggest improvements I did for my bike commute was getting a rear rack. I had tried both back packs and messenger bags previously and would end up arriving for a meeting with noticeable sweat marks on my shirt from the bag and straps. Having my bag on the rear rack eliminated that as well as back and neck pain from carrying the bag." --Gina Kenny, Orland Park, IL

3."While commuting [to the airport and then flying], I listen to the Great Courses, college level courses from the Teaching Company. They're usually fascinating and if they occasionally put me in danger of actually learning something, I've forgotten so much recently that there should be more than enough free space in my brain that it shouldn't be a problem."--Barry Maher, Corona, CA

4. "In addition to a fully stocked, indispensable iPod, I keep fresh & relaxed with a digital recorder to keep my To-Do list up to date. Driving smart during the mad dash of rush hour on the 405 Freeway North means making the Griffin iTalk Professional my best friend. It saves me immense amounts of time at the desk & laptop as I can verbally check off things I have done for the week, log things still needing my attention, and brainstorm for projects and tasks in between."--Navdeep Mundi, Los Angeles, CA

5."I have a tendency to rock out! Music is essential. It's OK to dance a little while sitting on the bus or metro. Shake what yo' mama gave you, right? Comfortable shoes are also essential -- I wear my Vibrams."--Stephen Anfield, Alexandria, VA

6. "I like to pass the time [on the train] by writing haikus. The 5-7-5 syllabic structure is simple enough to allow for the quick generation of ideas. It also improves my observational skills as I turn the world outside my window into 'art.' A recent example: What is that creature? Woodchuck? Beaver? Groundhog? Mole? The world is his cube."--Michael Y. Brenner, Ed.D., Jeffersonville, PA

7."Buy that convertible you've been thinking about. Traffic is far more palatable when you're in the open air."--Steve Silberberg, Hull, MA

Do you have a commuting tip? Please share it in the comments section.

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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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