How to love your daily commute

Survive commuteI copied the title of this post from a recent article by Oliver Burkeman. I’ve commuted for almost all of my working life. Currently, I drive 30 miles each way, which takes about 45 minutes in the morning and an hour in the afternoon (due to increased volume of traffic).

Over the years, my attitude to my daily journey has changed. For years I tholed it – passing the time by listening to a combination of news and music.

Then I learned to embrace it as an opportunity to learn. Zig Zigler talked about the automobile university.

In recent years I’ve come to embrace it. (‘Love’ would be stretching the point too far.) My habits have changed a bit. I mainly listen to podcasts, although I still catch the news headlines. Sometimes I drive in ‘silence’ – without anything other than the noise of my car to distract me. I use the time to anticipate the day ahead or review what happened at work. I use a voice recorder (with a lapel microphone) to capture ideas as they come to me.

But, the biggest change hasn’t been adjusting my habits, but changing my mindset.

I get to spend almost two hours a day alone with my thoughts. I can choose how to fill the time. I commute through some awe-inspiring landscapes. And, I’ve accepted that some days my journey will take longer if I get stuck behind slow-moving vehicles. And that’s OK.

One final thought – a key to ‘surviving’ my commute is what I do at the end of it (both times). I stretch, exercise (a short walk in the morning; something more vigorous after work) and ease myself into the next phase of my day. I don’t rush to start working; instead I take about 15 minutes to settle into the office – making a cup of tea, filling my water bottle, chatting to some of the other early birds.

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