A study conducted by Canada’s University of Waterloo discovered a direct link between commute time and well-being. People with the longest commutes have the lowest overall satisfaction with life.
Although I work from home now so I mainly commute to the fridge I can totally relate. I used to commute to work for about 30-40 minutes each way (inside the city). While some people might say I was lucky (and that will be true – some spend more than 3 hours on the road each day), I HATED it. The traffic, all the red lights, people driving like crazy first thing in the morning, not to mention finding parking. Ugh.
Your morning commute is a great time to think about how to tackle your day. Whether it’s to plan your day, review your to-do list or set positive intentions for how you want this day to turn out.
This is a good time to prepare yourself for an important meeting you have today, build your confidence for a tough conversation, give yourself a pep-talk or just think up different scenarios for how this day will treat you right.
I’m a firm believer that the way we start our day has a huge effect on how the rest of it will look like. Say to yourself ‘you’re going to have a good day’, that ‘good things are going to happen to you today’ and smile. Sounds silly but it works. I promise.
If you want some advanced stuff try out these 17 Morning affirmations.
God knows how much time I spend on the internet, scrolling down mindlessly throw Instagram. Therefore, I understand how sometimes it feels like the only thing you can do first thing in the morning or after a long day at work. But you do have all this “free” time you can use for anything, so why not use it as an opportunity to accomplish something, right?
You could read (if you’re not driving), listen to a podcast or an audiobook, use the time to learn a language with apps like Duolingo or use an online learning platform like Udemy to learn a whole new skill like web design or stock trade without a lot of time or money.
Recently, I’ve discovered an app that has changed my life (well, the way I consume content). I love to read and I LOVE books. Moreover, I don’t even own a Kindle because I like the way books feel, I like turning pages and even folding the little corner of the page. That’s why this may sound like it goes against everything I believe in but…
Besides reading for fun (reading at the beach is literally my favorite thing in the world), I also read A LOT about personal growth, self-improvement, psychology, career, productivity, motivation, developing personal skills etc. So I consume a lot of content, or at least I try to and it’s not an easy thing to do in our hectic lifestyle.
This is why the app Blinkist is a game-changer for me. Their team reads books, pulls out the key insights, and explains them in an easy-to-digest, 15-minute book summary.
It’s not going to replace the joy of reading a novel but it’s perfect for quick knowledge when you’re on the go. Plus, you can access all titles offline so it’s perfect for traveling.
When we finally get home after a long long day of work it may be hard to unwind – we have all these things we want to do, family commitments, chores etc. But on our way home we have this “spare” time (with no children or chores around), we could use for ourselves.
On some days you can use the time to learn and grow and on some days you just need to shut down, and that’s ok. On these days just turn off your cell, don’t use the time to make one more work call or answer an e-mail… just relax.
Maybe put on some soothing music. I personally like to sing (obnoxiously loud) in my car – but this only works if you’re driving and driving alone in my case hahaha. Set a relaxing mode on your way to work and clear up any negativity from the day you had on the way back.
Calm your body and mind as preparation for the craziness at work (or back home). Try these Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief.
One of the (only?) perks of taking public transportation is people watching. Not in a creepy way yeah? It’s just a great way to zone out from your own head. You could even make a game out of it – try coming up with a background story for each person (where did they come from or where are they going) or just rank their outfits.
Spending a lot of time alone in the car is not only boring but research shows it can also cause feelings of isolation and general unhappiness. I know that scheduling may be challenging but try to share the drive with someone, at least a day or two a week. You can use the time to chat up, pick each other’s brain (if it’s a co-worker) or just spend quality time together if it’s a friend or your partner. Bonus points on saving gas and the earth 😉
If you take public transportation, you can also schedule the ride with someone (just meet up at the bus/train station) but you can also take the time to message or call all the people you “don’t have the time to talk to”. I used to take advantage of the time commuting back from work to catch up with my mom and see how her day went or text all the people I didn’t have time to talk to during the day.
Exercise Your Brain by finding a Different Route to Work. Picking a different way to get to work can get your brain to do things it’s not accustomed to doing during your routine, not to mention the new stimuli you’ll see on the way. If you’re using public transportation, try getting off a stop earlier or later than usual and walk the rest of the way. Not only will you get the novelty of a change in scenery and some fresh air you’ll also enjoy the benefits of a little exercise that will surely improve your mood.
So commuting isn’t all bad, it just depends on the way you use your time. I actually sometimes miss walking to work and the separation commute gives you from “work mode” and “home mode” (I now realize I should definitely write a post about leisure time for freelancers LOL).
Did you enjoy this post or feel like you have something to add? I’d love to discuss it with you in the comments below!