I spend a good chunk of time each day commuting to and from downtown DC. In total, I’m usually in my car for 2-3 hours each day depending on traffic. That’s quite a bit of time when you consider that I’m usually awake for 16 hours a day and 8 hours of that is spent in the office. That leaves me with 5-6 hours to take care of myself and my family, to work on my websites, and to tackle my do to list.
As I work to find a healthy balance in my life, I can’t help but analyze how I spend my time outside of work. With 8 hours, there’s only so much you can accomplish and still feel sane. 2-3 of those hours are spent in my car and although I love listening to the radio, I’ve been thinking of ways to make the most of my commute.
Turn off your radio and enjoy the silence!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t get a whole lot of quiet time these days. Whether you’re driving to work or sitting on the train, allow yourself to sit in silence and to clear your mind.
Notice The World Around You
I take the same route to work every single day, but it’s amazing how many things I miss. Ever notice that house on the corner, the blossoms forming on the trees, or the people sitting around you on the train? Take the time to observe the world around you.
Before you start your commute, take a few breaths. I don’t know what city you live in, but DC traffic is incredibly stressful. Whether you’re sitting in traffic or working through metro delays, commutes in DC can add quite a bit of stress to the beginning and end of your day. These past few weeks I’ve made a conscious effort to take a few breaths before I start my commute. It gives me time set the tone for my drive.
I first started listening to podcasts during my long runs, but I’ve enjoyed listening to them during my commutes both in the car and on the train. Here are some of my favorites.
Jillian Michaels – The Jillian Michaels Show
Tim Ferriss – The Tim Ferriss Show
This American Life – Serial
Stephen J. Dubner and WNYC – Freakonomics Radio
Books On “Tape”
I personally have never used Audible, but I’ve heard it’s wonderful. I have a strong desire to read more but the reality is, I just don’t have the time. When I took the train into work each day I was able to get through books with ease. Now that I’m driving, I just don’t have the time to read at home. Being able to listen to books is quite possibly the only way I’ll get through a book these days.
I have purchased quite a few books on CD through Amazon and have really enjoyed them. The same concept as Audible, just in a different format.
Get On The Phone
Call family and friends
I confess, it’s far too easy for me to text friends and family instead of calling them. A phone call can quickly turn into hour long conversations, so the commute is a perfect time to talk to family and friends. My mom would probably agree that she has mixed feeling about my 6:30AM calls, but if I don’t call her then, it’s far too easy to go days without talking to her. My commute home is also an ideal time to catch up with friends, to bug my siblings, and to make appointments.
Have a Dance Party
Crank up that radio, put in an old CD, and dance! Some of my favorite moments in the car are when I’m able to just jam out! Who cares what you sound like! Who cares what you look like! Give yourself permission to sing at the top of your lungs.
Create a New Playlist
I love creating new playlists for my commutes. I create a list that will add up to my full commute and I look forward to each and every song. Most of my playlists are made up of songs I don’t hear on the radio anymore.
-Never Gonna Give You Up by Rich Astley
-No Such Thing by John Mayer
-Dream Lover by Mariah Carey
-My Chick Bad by Ludacris
-Girl by Destiny’s Child
-September by Earth, Wind & Fire
-With Every Beat of My Heart by Taylor Deane
-I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston