What Could You Do If You Weren't Commuting?

Last Updated May 2, 2011 4:25 PM EDT

The average commute isn't that bad -- about 25 minutes each way. That's just 250 minutes, or a bit over 4 hours in a 168 hour week. Still, studies find people rate commuting as the absolute low point of their days. Most people would rather be doing just about anything else.

So, here's the question: if you didn't have to commute, what would you do with the time?

A survey done by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Workforce Institute asked roughly 1000 Americans that exact question:

  • 50% said they'd sleep later
  • 42% would relax
  • 33% would spend time with family
  • 28% would exercise
Fortunately for opportunistic types, there are ways to do some of these things during your commute. Want to catch a nap? Carpool with a co-worker, and trade off who gets to sleep each morning and who gets to drive. Relaxing is quite possible if you can take a bus or a train -- a perfect stretch of time to read every morning. Even in the car, though, you can listen to soothing classical music rather than drive time shock jocks. As for family, do any other family members go to school or work remotely near you? It's worth going a bit out of the way to turn a commute into daily quality time. Even exercise can be squeezed in if you park in the far corner of the parking lot, or get off the bus one stop early.

All these activities would be easier to squeeze in, however, if you could work from home. So if you're looking to get up the courage to negotiate for telecommuting once a week or so, start fantasizing about what you'd do with that extra 50 minutes. It may give you just the boost you need.

If you didn't have to commute, what would you do with the time?

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Photo courtesy flickr user, Young In Panama