If you’ve ever wished for a few more hours in the day to accomplish more or fit extra fun and relaxation into your life, you’re not alone. For many of us, the drain on our time is caused by the commute to and from work. Hours are wasted sitting behind the wheel, often in frustrating traffic. Not only do long commutes make us feel unproductive, but they’re stressful because we’re often hurried and spend most of that time in the car worried or anxious about everything else we’re missing out on or should be doing instead.
Trading in the long commute for a more balanced lifestyle could give you back the time you want to spend more time with family, chat with your spouse, catch up with friends, read a book, watch a movie, work out, or do just about anything other than moving your right foot between the gas and brake pedals. What are the options for achieving more of what you want?
For most careers today, technology makes many functions of the job easier and more efficient, but the convenience of mobile devices also allows you to be reached any time of day, any day of the week. It can be difficult to feel pinned down and unable to disconnect. But more professionals are using that to their advantage. Workers who can do their jobs virtually are spending more time working remotely, swapping their cubicles for a home office that allows them the flexibility to have lunch with their kids and attend school events or watch their kids play sports.
Those who must be physically present at work, such as healthcare or hospitality professionals, don’t have the option to work from home. Getting more creative in structuring their schedules might result in being able to reduce the frequency of their commute, if not eliminate it. Companies and organizations have begun to put initiatives in place to support their employees in achieving a better work-life balance. Flexible schedules, incorporating fitness programs or equipment within the workplace, and social events help.
Still can’t avoid being a commuter? Try changing your mindset. The time alone in the car is leisure time for you to listen to music, an audiobook or podcast, enjoy the scenery, or decompress without distraction. If you live close enough to bike to work, that’s a great way to get some physical activity and alter your routine a few days a week.
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