How To Kill Your Commute

Post Image


It’s “When Is The Day?” Wednesday.

This week, I’m curious to know How do you creatively use your travel time to reenergize or minimize it all together?

I don’t know why, but this past week has been all about travel and transportation for me. In the last 7 days, I had two roundtrips to Portland and Los Angeles for Daimler (own Mercedes-Benz) and another corporate client. And last weekend my wife and I randomly went to the New York Transit Museum.

Whether you drive, fly, or take public transportation, travel to, from, and for work is a huge part of our lives. That’s why the 40 hour work week is a myth. We have to add in our commute. When you do that, most people’s work week is at least 45 hours.

Workaholics tend to spend their commute thinking about work or working. A workaholic’s mind is always at the office, even if they are physically somewhere else.

On the way to the office, I find myself thinking about what I need to do once I get there. And on my way home from the office, I find myself beating myself up for what I didn’t accomplish. It’s a ping pong game of thoughts bouncing around my mind. That extends the work day and it’s work time that most people don’t get paid for.

Today, I ride my bike to my office daily. So I hug 2 bears with 1 arm (lol) with my commute. I get to work and get to exercise. But even though I’m exercising, my my mind is still on work. So my new experiment is setting aside a 10 minute space at the beginning and end of the my work day to get everything out of my head and on to paper so I can leave my mental ping pong paddle at work. 

I’ve found that as my mind learns to trust that this space will be there, it allows me to enjoy my bike ride. Enjoying my bike ride means riding as if I was with friends rather than being in a rush to get somewhere to do something. It means focusing on my breath and my legs, observing nature, people watching, finding new stores and routes to the office. Workaholics need boundaries and closure or else work will find its way into any nook in our lives that it can. 


Blue collar workers leave their brooms (<= generalization) at work. White collar knowledge workers can’t leave work because the information follows us everywhere we go. That’s the main reason I stopped reading business books during my leisure time. Reading became work instead of leisure. Intention is the difference. I’ve tried to leave my lap top (aka my white collar broom) at the office, but I haven’t committed yet. I would also have to leave my “smart” phone and the internet. Wish me luck on those two. I’ll need it.

In regards to shortening my commute, when I lived and worked in Los Angeles for a non-profit, I had to deal with the 10 and 405 freeways everyday. No matter what time of day it is, the 405 freeway can multiply your commute by 4 o’ 5 times. Google Maps would say 15 minutes one-way, but morning traffic could turn that drive into an hour. When you add up a 2 hour daily commute, that’s 10 hours per week getting to and from work.

That was a waste of time, so I got creative with my work schedule. I shifted my work schedule from 8am-5pm to 6am-3pm. Not only did I avoid traffic in the morning and the afternoon, I got to the office 2 hours before everyone else and had the peace and quiet to really focus. It made a huge difference in my productivity and quality of life and the fear of traffic (aka wasting my life) actually forced me to get to work and leave work on time.

I’m interested to know your struggles or successes with protecting or not protecting that time for yourself. Comment below or email me. Your comments will inspire me and others.

Thanks for listening,