I commute about 60 minutes each way (up to 90 if I miss the train and have to bus home) and I've found it to be a wonderful way to sneak in the extra learning I don't make time for once I'm home!
It's become a sort of ritual for me - in the morning on the way to work I listen to a short podcast, then with the rest of the time I study French. I'll either load up Duolingo or throw on a children's cartoon that's available in Français. On my way home from work I spend the time reading a technical or thought-provoking book of some kind (right now I'm reading Domain Driven Design by Eric Evans).
I always have my bike with me though, and if the weather's really nice (which it often is in Austin, TX) I'll put in some good music and just bike the whole 12 miles home. That takes me an hour as well, but it's an excellent way to decompress after the workday.
The efficacy of apps like Waze relies heavily on the number of other Wazers in your commute-region: more users equals more reports equals greater number of re-routing options for the pathing algorithms. Living where I do (Northern VA suburbs of Washington, DC), there's usually better than 5000 other users near me. So, rerouting is generally pretty well optimized.
That said, if you're in IT – especially as a developer, architect, etc. – a great option is tele-commuting. I get so much more done on my work-from-home days – even without factoring in the time-suck that is driving.
If you can't telecommute, see if you can time-shift your job. Around here when you travel can make major differences to how long you're traveling. I work from 0600-1400. My nine-mile commute typically takes about twelve minutes. If I shift that by even a half hour later at either end, the nine-mile commute becomes a half-hour drive (and that's without weather or accident effects).
Some great ideas in there. I had an hour commute for about 5 years, not so bad in summer, but in blizzard conditions it was no fun at all.
I've been working from my home office now for about 9 years and absolutely dread the idea of having to drive to work again one day!
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