Who doesn’t like to have some extra time on their hands? If we could choose, would we design our agenda that same way we are doing it now? Or would we pass up on certain activities, such as work meetings and other commitments? There are a few things in life under our control and several others that aren’t. It is not under our control how the government designed the road system, nor how many people decide today to travel by car. However, there are many actions that you can take to save precious time on the roads, which later you can invest on other more enriching activities. Here we share with you 11 ways to avoid or save time on a commute:
  1. Work from home:
We see it lately everywhere. Working from home has become the beacon of modern businesses. However, what if this is not an existing company policy? You can negotiate working from home. Talk to your manager about your results of the past few months. Explain about the exact amount of time you would save if you worked from home one or a couple of occasions a week, and the impact this would have on your productivity and happiness. And if the word “happiness” might sound too sappy for your manager, you can try using the word “work morale.”
  1. Carpooling or “dear colleague, could you give me a ride?”:
Carpooling is a lot easier than it looks. You don’t necessarily need to meet at a carpooling spot or to align agendas to achieve it. Talk to a colleague who you trust and who lives nearby. Discuss a plan to share gas costs and the best times to beat the traffic together. Probably you can arrive before or after the rush hour. The same applies to the time you pick to leave the office together.  And, remember that carpooling does not need to happen every day. Just by doing it once or twice a week, you will already save quite a lot of time.
  1. Start work early:
Start work early, leave before the rush hour or right after it. As long as you accomplish your results for the day and work the agreed number of hours, playing with your start and end times of your work day shouldn’t become an issue. According to a 2015 study by Eurostat, the average commuting hours in London per person is 110 hours per year, followed by Stuttgart and Antwerp (at 73 and 71 respectively). Imagine what you could do with these extra hours!
  1. Complete tasks in batches:
Which tasks, aside from the work-related ones, do you need to accomplish this week? Are some of them related to each other or could some of them happen in proximity to one another? Making lists and grouping tasks can help you save time, according to Tim Ferriss, a productivity author. According to the author, making “what-not-to-do lists” is also a big time-saver.
  1. Combine activities based on location:
Once you have batched your activities, you can go one level further and group them according to location. Technology can help you achieve this. Mobile apps such as TimesUpp match your agenda with current road conditions, to offer you a thorough planning for the coming weeks, alternative routes and help you save time on the road.
  1. Work fewer days a week:
If the options to save on commuting time are not possible due to work commitments or company rules, you could consider working fewer days. Another possibility is working the same number of hours but on four, instead of five. One last resort is working part-time. Could you image having a long 3-day weekend every week? According to research published by Glassdoor.com, with data from 2014, more than 20% of the total working population in the Netherlands works part-time, and 15% does the same in countries such as France and Finland.
  1. Use public transportation on some routes:
In several European large cities, such as London, Munich, and Paris, using public transportation is a time-saver. Their buses, metros, and tramways are not necessarily uncrowded, but their network is vast.  In many of these cities, public transportation is quite cheap compared to the cost of owning a car and parking it.
  1. Use the bike for some other routes:
In main cities such as Berlin, Paris, and Amsterdam, it is faster and nicer to travel by bike. Travelling by bike has several benefits, according to Forbes Magazine, such as an increased level of serotonin produced by sun exposure. Riding a bike to work reduces the chances of early death by cancer or heart ailments by 40-45%. It also has a positive impact on the reduction of air and noise pollution.
  1. Committing to less (or the “Essentialism” principle”):
“Less is more” dictates the well-known saying. According to the productivity expert George Keown, author of the book Essentialism, “if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” The less you commit to, the less you will need to commute.
  1. Become a freelancer:
It might sound extreme, but several professionals opt to become a freelancer to save time doing activities with little value. According to a McKinsey study published in 2016, 20-30% of the European workforce in the EU-15 is made up of independent workers. The EU-15 is made up of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.
  1. If you are a company worker: Moving closer to work
Another option that might make your life easier is just moving closer to work. According to a LifeHacker article, you can calculate your cost of commuting as follows: Cost of gas + Cost of having the car in tip-top condition + Time spent on the road (this expense can be calculated based on your per-hour salary). By adding it all up together, the cost of commuting becomes more tangible (and possibly quite high).