morning commute

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Just about everybody who wakes up early and battles traffic just to get to work feels discouraged at times. A recent study from Princeton University that tracked the moods of Texas women throughout the day found that they were most unhappy during their morning commutes.

But these trips don't have to feel like a maddening waste of time, even if your journey is epic. "I've got quite the commute—three hours!" says James B. Bunn, chief marketing officer at Brahmin, a handbags and accessories company. Bunn drives from his New York home to Brahmin's Massachusetts headquarters every few days. The key to surviving—and thriving—is strategy. "Over time, I've learned to turn it into a time for me to accomplish a lot," he says. Though the most commonly accepted way to do that is to talk with colleagues or connect with friends, using a cell phone—even a hands-free one—increases your risk of accidents. Our advice? Skip the calls and try out these five other ways to increase your work and personal satisfaction.