A Practical New Year’s Goal: Making the Most of Your Commute to Work As a Visually Impaired Person

Picture of older woman using white cane, getting on bus

Many would say the most significant inconvenience for workers with visual impairments is limited transportation. Yes, it would certainly be easier if you could simply drive yourself to and from work. I’m sorry this isn’t an option…I hate that it’s not. Perhaps self-driving cars will be a safe, yet expensive, possibility of the future. For today, the reality is walking, carpooling, or public transportation.

If you live close enough to work that you can walk, what a time-saving option! Many envy you, I’m sure.

If you catch a ride with your spouse, parent, friend, or coworker, you have the opportunity to get to know one another well: a wonderful benefit. However, this rosy situation can get thorny real quick if the arrangement is not beneficial to both parties. Relationships that aren’t reciprocal usually don’t last too long. So trade rides to/from work with your spouse for dinner prep and cleanup; trade rides with your parents for pet care, lawn care, and gas money; trade rides with your friend for daily coffee, weekend entertainment paid by you, and gas money; trade rides with your coworker for substantial gift cards for gas and the occasional gift card for a restaurant to be used with his/her spouse.

Now, if, like most, you rely on public transportation, not only are you likely saving money (substantial gas gift cards, weekend entertainment, daily coffee… this adds up quickly!), but you also have the opportunity to leverage the commute time (and what better new year’s goal is there?!).

But how?

  • First, take a few minutes to decompress from the day. Sit quietly and breathe deeply, play a few relaxing songs, or even take a mini nap [just don’t forget to set an alarm or you may miss your stop!]. Beating work-related stress is vital to your mental health—don’t wait until the stress has compounded, the commute to and from work is a grand time to incorporate de-stressing activities into your routine.

  • Reflect on your goals for the next day of work. Prioritize and record them. You’ll be more prepared for the day ahead and have an easier time “leaving work at work” when you have a plan.

  • You may feel the urge to peruse social media. Do it, and while you’re there, send a few messages and intentionally connect with others in effort to expand your social network.

  • A commute can be an ideal time for remaining current in your career field. Read publications, watch tutorials, follow relevant blogs, or take an online course.

  • Work on a hobby. You could read, write, plan a creative project, watch a show, play a virtual game with a friend, or write a computer program. [What other hobbies are bus-appropriate? Write your suggestions in the comment section!] Remember, there are work-related benefits of hobbies!

  • Of course, you can always work during your commute. Make a phone call, return emails, produce material, mentally rehearse a speech, and catch up or get ahead.

I hope it is evident that though public transportation may not be your first choice, it is not without benefits. This year, commit to take full advantage of them.

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