Got a Long Commute? Turn It Into Quality Me Time

Get up. Get dressed. Get kid dressed. Grab him a snack. Go to work. Work hard. Get kid from daycare. Get home. Make dinner. Eat dinner. Put kid to bed. Talk to Hubby. Sleep. And repeat. Sound familiar?

Like most, our days are jam packed with the bare essentials. So when is there time to catch up with family and friends? Make doctor appointments? Write personal e-mails? Read a book? I’ve found a chunk of time to do so and it’s been a lifesaver. It’s my commute.

Since I work in downtown Chicago and live in the burbs I’ve got a commute that’s more than most Americans, but I won’t bemoan its longevity. (Around here it’s not unusual to have such a commute.) I try to take advantage of the time. Like a true suburbanite I drive my SUV 1.5 miles to the train station, (Sorry Mother Earth!) my train ride averages about 40 minutes and then there’s a two-minute walk to the office. On my way home, it’s the same thing, except once I get to my train station in the burbs, I drive 20 minutes to daycare to pick up Logan and then 20 minutes home.

I used to work during my 40-minute train ride, then I realized that meant I was working an extra six hours each week. Now I use the time for blogging and emailing. When I’m in the car I often talk with family and friends. Admittedly many are just as busy as me, so I’ve developed relationships with my friends’ voicemails, but at least we’re up to date on what’s going on with each other. It helps keep that connectivity.

After talking with my dad recently, it struck me that wow, this commute is the only dedicated “me time” that I have. I can call who I want or no one at all. I can blast whatever music I want. (Right now Eminem’s on high rotation with Lincoln Park.) Or I can just do nothing. There’s no laundry that’s begging to be folded, no meals waiting to be prepared, no demolished train sets to reassemble. It can be a nice breather.

You don’t have to have a long commute to eek out some me time.

  • Even if it’s a 15 minute drive to the office, you can listen to books. It may sound corny, but check it out just once. Kinda like Green Eggs and Ham, according to Sam I Am you never know until you try them.
  • Schedule doctor appointments. This usually only takes a few minutes and then once I get to the daycare parking lot, I write down the appointment times in my calendar so that I don’t forget.
  • Turn off the radio and drive in silence. Sounds weird, but it’s likely the only quiet part of your day. Amid the hustle and bustle, it’s nice to have a little time to free your mind.
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3 responses to “Got a Long Commute? Turn It Into Quality Me Time

  1. I can really relate to this. I often feel like the only quiet “down” time I have is when I’m on the train.

  2. Me too, I totally relate. I have about an hour commute each way- good old NJ east to west, we don’t have public transportation that runs that way, so a-drivin’ it is for me. But it is great me time, catch up time. Since my son has started preschool and stopped commuting with me, I use this time to get my news, chat on the phone (thanks Bluetooth), or ponder the newest recipes that I want to try out on the weekend.

  3. You’re onto something here! I drive 30 minutes each way to work and like the rest of my overly-organized life, I’ve found a way to make it efficient. Sure, I provide my kids plenty of examples to call me obsessive compulsive, but using the time for audio books is my new passion.

    But sometimes, when I really want to unwind, I hook up my iPod and sing at the top of my lungs. Just sometimes.

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