Wake up at 6.15 am, lie there and negotiate another 15 minutes of sleep with yourself, press ‘snooze’, eventually roll out of bed, shower, get dressed, apply copious amounts of aftershave and leave the house at 7.05 am. No, this isn’t an instructional manual on how to be a 9–5 human, it’s just my morning routine!
The first 50 minutes of my day are spent basically insentient – it’s as if I’m sleepwalking and catching up on some of the time I really should’ve spent in bed the night before. Once I leave the house and feel the first bit of cold air on my face, however, I begin the most productive–and important–80 minutes of my day: the commute.
Feared and despised by many, the morning commute can be a complete drag – who really wants to be surrounded by dozens of smelly, sombre strangers for a prolonged period of time on a packed bus or train?
What’s lost on many is the opportunity this ‘dead time’ provides. For me, I love my journey to work. It gives me a chance to start the day how I want, whether that involves reading the news or a recap of the weekend’s AFL games, a book, practicing mindfulness or just staring out the window whilst listening to–and getting to appreciate–new music. It’s an opportunity to do something sedentary that makes me happy, without the associated feeling of guilt I would get if I was doing this in place of something on my feet.
How you choose to spend your commute is purely a matter of personal preference, but the key is to enjoy the time to yourself.
Here are some other great habits you can get into:
Set yourself a learning goal
Ever wanted to learn a foreign language? Why not use this blank part of your schedule to start small and begin learning the fundamentals. According to research conducted by the US Foreign Service Institute, it can take as little as 480 hours for an English speaker to learn the basics of an entire new language. If you’re spending two hours commuting to and from work each day, you could tener fluidez en otro idioma cuando llegue el próximo año fiscal (become fluent in another language by the time the next financial year comes around) – or you could just follow in my footsteps and hone your Google Translate skills – no judgement here.
Plan happy things
The weekend is never too far away – start thinking about what you’re going to get up to on Saturday. Maybe it’s planning a day trip, organising a catch-up with friends or family, buying tickets to an event or arranging a time to exercise. It might even be time to start researching your next holiday…no harm in investigating potential flights and accommodation!
A great way to block out the chaos around you is by participating in electronically-guided meditation. Amongst many other benefits, meditation can help reduce your stress levels and increase your ability to concentrate, just what you need before a busy day at work. Here are some great free meditation apps recommended by Healthline.
Reading not for you? How about giving podcasts or audiobooks a go. Podcasts are often much more consuming than music, meaning that your thoughts are usually confined to the words of the presenter. This is a great way to focus on something uplifting, humorous or insightful whilst distracting you from your stressful or uncomfortable surrounds. Try one of these 15 podcasts for your next train ride to work and see if it makes a difference to how you approach your day.
These are just a few of the countless ways you can get more out of your trip to work, and I’m keen to hear some of your strategies for starting your day off on the right foot. Let’s continue the discussion – you can reach me on LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time.