Scenario: You could take the interstate to work, which usually takes 20 minutes. Except when there’s a tractor-trailer accident. Or a baseball game. Or construction.
Alternately, you could take the backroads, which predictably takes 30 minutes every single time.
Which should you do? Backroads, probably.
Here’s why: Studies have shown that unpredictability in commutes is the thing making commuters the most stressed--more than gas mileage, more than road rage, more than ever-increasing toll-booth costs. Even if all goes well most of the time, if you’re always wondering about a backup or a stalled train, you’ll never be able to fully relax and get into that podcast or deep meditation on your bathroom renovation. And the effects of an unpredictable commute don’t go away, says science: They trickle down, causing moodiness at work and at home.
On the other hand, if you know you’re in for a journey that’s reliably ten minutes longer, you’re more likely to leave on time and actually enjoy your 30 minutes en route.
Besides, you know what they say about the road less traveled.