The worst feeling in the world is waking up Monday morning and bearing the crushing weight of knowing your work week is starting. The painful knowledge that you will soon be getting into your car, bus, bike, shoes, whatever! Then going towards a place that requires you to be away from home for 8 hours or more. And the first step is the commute to work.
Your Commute To Work – How To Make It Fun
I am fairly lucky in that my commute is only about 15 minutes each way. I would get into my car and turn the radio to 95.5 because every morning that radio host prank called people. To me, this was what I started my morning drive with. Some of the jokes were funny, others just dumb. This routine was semi entertaining, but was it fun? Not really.
My work recently hosted a companywide steps challenge. I was a month into the competition and I wanted to step up my…step count. One way I thought about doing this was riding my bike into work instead of driving.
It was summer at the time so I thought to myself, what do I have to lose? Pulled up google maps, went to the bike route options, and before I knew it I had my route planned.
A couple days go by, each day slowly building my confidence to get up the courage to finally try it out. The day finally comes! I bungee corded my backpack to the bike and took off. After a sweaty 30 minute ride, I went to the bathroom and changed into my work clothes.
Something was different that morning, I walked through the doors, the same old doors. Today though, I felt a crack on my face. This was my smile, I realized I had fun!
Your Commute To Work Makes Getting Up Easier
Walking through that door with a smile on my face had an impacting result I couldn’t have anticipated. I was more cheerful, I engaged in more meaningful conversation with my co-workers that morning instead of just saying “good morning”. Trust me on this, I am not Mr. Sunshine in the mornings or even at all really. I am actually more of an introvert. If having some fun in the morning lets me peek my head out my shell just a bit more then I know I’ve found something good.
It gets better still. That night I found myself looking forward to the next day. Anticipating the ride to be and the “free exercise” I was getting on my commute to work.
Side Tangent – Try Biking to Work
Just do it! Biking really is quite fast. Let me break my scenario down, see if it can apply to you.
Drive time: 15 minutes each way.
Bike time: 30 minutes each way.
Commute difference: 30 minutes.
Total Exercise time: 1 hour.
Effective Exercise time (Total – Commute): 30 minutes!
For an extra 30 minutes out of my day, I am getting 1 hour of exercise. I get home and don’t feel like I need to exercise anymore. Why? Because I already did! Need motivation to work out? Nothing like having to be somewhere to motivate you to keep doing it.
I haven’t mentioned it yet, but let’s not forget about the cost savings. I included this last because the exercise component is more important to me than the cost savings. Even though I drive a Prius, I only save at most a dollar a day by biking. How much could you save if you adjust your commute to work?
Fun Improves Mental Well Being
Rinse and repeat for a couple more days and a small change starts happening. Yes, my legs are killing me after a few days but that’s not it. A small mindset shift started shaping itself into something good. This continual increase in happiness increased my satisfaction at work, improved my relationship with co-workers, and made falling asleep a whole lot easier.
Why was falling asleep easier? Physical exercise everyday is one reason, but the defining factor is I was looking forward to another morning of riding my bike. My old commute to work routine had me wanting to stay up till the last possible minute to squeeze every last second out of the day before I had to do it all over again.
Sound familiar yet? I can’t be alone on this.
Fun Factory – Ideas for All
Everyone might not have the option to try biking, so here is my list of ideas that would still be fun.
- Listen to a podcast. Use this downtime to enhance your learning, listen to something fun or catch up on news.
- Listen to audiobooks. Heck, even if I can read a book I often like consuming my books over audio anyways. You can listen to your favorite stories while trotting across town.
- I only half recommend radio, I feel it’s easy to auto-tune it out and it’s something so normal that it has a hard time getting me excited to go do it.
- Take public transit AND THEN use that free time to do pretty much anything you want. I did this for my internship when I had a hour long commute in traffic each way. Instead of driving to work, I opted for the bus. It was so nice being able to do homework, read, or even play some phone games when I needed a mental break.
- Walk, run, skip, frolic, moonwalk, dance, backflip, cartwheel, scooter, rollerblade, jetpack into work as long as it’s, FUN!
Essentially, do something during your commute to work that you would normally do on your free time. Maybe there is something you’ve been wanting to do or learn but haven’t had the time for? Use this time to start making baby steps to achieving that goal. There are many audio formats that can help you make progress to those sorts of goals. For example, I had no idea how to blog, but in my commute time I listened to podcasts and eventually built up the confidence to start my own blog! I am still learning, but luckily, I still have my commute time.
Start Having Fun
It’s simple! Stop thinking about it and decide on the first thing that comes to your mind. Did you read “bike” and think, oh I could try that? Well, then try it. If it isn’t fun? Then you know to try something else that could be fun.
Adjusting your habits in small ways, with this simple life hack, will do more than make your commute fun. It will make your life more fun.
If you are still reading this (19 fun’s and counting!), do something right now and share what your fun “thing” will be. There just so happens to be a comment section below. Who knows, maybe the fun thing you share could be my new fun thing or someone else’s.
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…It’s fun, I promise!
I’m pretty sure podcasts and audiobooks saved me from going insane when I had a 1+ hour (one way) commute in southern CA. I would find myself looking forward to getting in the car so I could find out what happens next in a book or show… it took a bit of the sting of stop and go traffic!
I can relate, when I had my 1 hour commute each way I made it my priority to keep myself entertained. It does have a nice side effect of making the 1+ hour not feel quite as long.
I carpool with Mr. Kiwi, it’s great. I don’t have to drive when I’m still groggy and he doesn’t have to drive after a long day of work. We’ve biked a couple of times, it only adds 20 minutes each way to the commute, and I definitely agree that it helps to put a smile on my face. I just can’t get over the whole 45 minute commute+shower (excuses, I know!). (We currently drive 15 minutes, walk 10 minutes.)
I love that idea. If HerFI and I worked in similar locations that would denitley be an option to consider.
Don’t fear the extra biking time! You could use biking as a replacement to some excercise you already do after work. Might actually save you time overall.