back to the commute

Many of us are contemplating the return to the regular commute. Perhaps we aren’t going to be commuting quite as regularly as before, but commute we will.  The current thinking seems to be pushing us towards a ‘hybrid’ style of working, with some days in the office but the majority spent at home.  Back into the grind of the commute we go.

This time it really will feel like the commute is eating into our time, time we had got used to having to ourselves.  There are many drawbacks of working from home all the time – avoiding the commute wasn’t one of them!

How can we make the most of our new opportunity to leave the house and head into work?  What could we be doing?  This is my plan.

Even though I could drive, and part of me wants to have that ‘clean’ bubble, I have always found driving to be one of life’s wastes of time.  I will continue to walk and use the train.  I have about a mile walk to the station, some of which is along the river with Heron and Kingfisher to provide a bit of a wildlife lift.  The train, when not completely rammed, allows me a simple advantage – I don’t need to use my hands to steer it.  I can do other things.  What are those things?

  • Reading.  Love a good book, got a bit of a backlog of reservations at the local library and the 25 minute train ride seems to be ideal, long enough to get some decent reading done without me getting so engrossed I miss my stop.

  • Podcasts.  Again, a bit of a backlog.  Of course you can listen in the car to podcasts, but you do miss the opportunity to capture any insights or ideas you might have into your notebook/phone.  I mainly listen to non-fiction podcasts so it is really useful to capture things when listening to the podcast.  Trickier to do whilst driving.

  • Admin.  I love getting dull admin done during the commute.  Somehow it seems to feel like a massive victory, getting something done in what feels like non-productive time.  Bills paid, emails sent, birthday presents sorted – welcome to a much freer evening ahead.

  • Calls.  Again, ‘you can do this whilst driving’ I hear you cry.  I’ve never really felt comfortable having long conversations in the car, even hands free.  Seems to be a lot of studies that would agree so I tend to save my calls for the walk to and from the train station. Exercise.  The great freebie of walking on the commute, a couple of miles walking a day.  Great for both physical and mental health.

I can imagine many of you will be thinking ‘that is all fine but I have to commute by car’ I have no other option! Perhaps I could point you in the direction of this post from Mr Money Mustache. I car commuted for years, you get used to it.  I wouldn’t go back to it.