Right on man. Clipless pedals are definitely nice. But in my opinion, for most around town/commuting purposes, they aren't warranted. I ride clipless on my commute typically, but don't always feel the need. Sure you can go faster and put in more effort, but my goal is to get from point A to point B, not necessarily get the best workout I can get. While I'm getting a good workout, I don't want to sweat like crazy, especially on super hot days. So I usually take it fairly easy, riding maybe 60-75%. In the winter time though, I'll pretty much ride 90-100% effort, which gets me in pretty good shape come springtime.
For around town stuff, I ride a fixed gear with toe clips and Adidas Sambas; great combination.
And definitely find a route that is more enjoyable to ride, even if it's longer. You'll likely stick with commuting to work if you enjoy your ride to work. If that means taking a route that is a mile or two longer but with significantly less traffic or steep-ass hills, then do it. I have 3 routes to choose from: the short 3.5 mile hilly ass route, the more traffic ridden, slightly hillier 4.5 mile route, or the hardly any traffic, few hills, 5.5 mile route.
If I'm running late, I take the short route, if it's windy as hell or snowing I take the middle route (because there are more building and trees to block wind, and it's on streets where the snow/ice will be cleared typically), if it's nice out I take the long route. Nice having options, never get bored of riding to work.