October 10, 2012, 6:12 am

Why I Miss My 1 Hour Drive To Work

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career,Productivity
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I never thought I would say this but I miss driving 1 hour each morning to go to work…

highway

For those who have been following TFB for a while, you know that I used to work in downtownMontrealand drove 1 hour each morning to get to work. I did that for two years all because I had fallen in love with a house 85km away fromMontrealand decided to make the move in order to improve the quality of my lifestyle. It was the perfect place for my family as we had enough space for everybody; 2 minutes away from an elementary school and 2 minutes away from all the major stores.

 

In early 2012, I was blessed and found the perfect job for me only 6 minutes away from my new home. No more waking up at4am, no more freezing in my car for 20 minutes during winter, no more traffic. It seems like it was the perfect “ending” for my career. I can work here until I retire and it would be just perfect.

 

Perfect? Are there such things as perfection? Sadly enough, there isn’t.

 

Why I Miss My 1 Hour Drive to Work

 

First of all, I love driving. Then, being in my car for a little over an 1 hour each morning and every evening wasn’t a pain for me; not at all. Also, my ride didn’t include much traffic. I was enteringMontrealbefore6amand leaving at4pm. The whole ride was driven on the highway where nothing stressful happens. This is why I enjoyed driving to work so much. But there is more than the simple joy of driving my car. The real reason why I miss my 1 hour drive is because I’m losing something in my routine; relaxation time.

 

On my way to work, I didn’t have to think about anything for one hour. It was relaxing as my brain could drift wherever it wanted to go. I was thinking about so many things and so little both at the same time. It was the perfect time to let creativity emerge from that. My best ideas usually came during these moments.

 

On my way back home, it was a great time to completely disconnect from work. Here again, I was relaxing, laughing at funny jokes played on the radio and… all the while getting even more ideas.

 

Why It Is So Important?

 

The whole point of having some time alone in a day is perfect to allow for the rearranging of your thoughts. It’s unproductive as I was taking 2 hours out of my day to do this but my thoughts had never been clearer. I never felt that I was buried by tasks or projects. I had time to manage them, think about them and solve my problems in my car. This was my own little world.

 

Most people wonder why I’m able to run so many projects at the same time without burning out. Being alone in my car was part of my secret recipe. It was also a great way to evacuate the day’s stress before seeing my family. If I had a bad day at work or something worried me, I had the time to vent and find potential solutions before talking to anyone who matters to me. This way, my family was never impacted by my job. When I got home, I was with them 100%. And that is really important to me.

 

But now it takes me 6 minutes to go to work. In terms of energy and time management, this is the perfect scenario. But I can’t solve my problems or disconnect from work in 6 scant minutes. I have to find other ways to compensate!

 

Other Ways I’ve Found to Compensate

 

The first need I must fulfill is the need to vent and evacuate. This is very important to release what frustrates you and what annoys you inside your mind. If you have a problem, you need to find a way to get it out of your head. After that, finding solutions will be like helping a friend; it’s always much easier when it seems to be someone else’s problem you are solving!

 

Working out in the morning is a fantastic way of doing that. Each morning, I run 3 miles and do some weight lifting. Now it’s the first thing I do when I wake up so it kind of replaces my 1 hour drive. I used to go to the gym when I was working inMontrealthough. So I fulfill my need to vent, but I’ve truly lost 1 hour/day to do it. I’ve also added one activity to my schedule; I’m now playing soccer once a week. It’s fun as it enables me to run as fast as I can and push my heartbeat to another level. Since I’ve never played soccer before, it’s a great challenge for me!

 

I used to start working the very first minute I entered my office. After all, I had a 1 hour drive + 1 hour workout to wake me up. It’s about time to get to work! Now, I come into the office early, when nobody’s there and take the time to drink my coffee while reading the news. I do that for 20 minutes or so instead of 1 hour but the effect is the same: I let my brain wonder wherever it wants to go.

 

At the end of my day, I don’t have that many options left to disconnect. If I finish at5pm, I know that by5:07I’ll be kissing my wife and kids. So I’ve decided to do the most “interesting” or “relaxing” tasks at the end of the day. I try to start doing something I really like about my job around4pmso I know that I’ll be leaving with a smile and won’t need to disconnect.

 

How do You do It?

 

I’m curious, do you take the time to disconnect from work before you head home? When do you allow yourself to relax and get lost in your thoughts?

 

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Comments

Hey, I feel the same way. I used to have a 35 minute train ride into montreal and it was the perfect place to do some writing, planning, reading, learning, etc. Now I don’t have that, just a short 10 minute transit ride at my new place. I do have a 15 minute walk, but no way to do work so I listen to books and podcasts.

I remember reading or maybe when we met at lunch, that you did a lot of writing on bus in the early days.

Years ago, I switched from an hour commute to a 10 minute one. I could go home for lunch and did occasionally. I found I needed to decompress at the end of the day, so I never could just jump in the car and leave. Now I commute about 12 minutes and can leave right away. Different kind of job!

I think you might be one of the few people who enjoy driving an hour. I like to wind and relax after when an enjoyable and interesting book. Sounds nerdy, but true. Also, watching a comedy!

Totally feel the same. I like my 30-min. drive home. Great to unwind!

by: The Financial Blogger | October 11th, 2012 (6:00 am)

@Alex,

I used to take the bus to go to work when I was living in the subburbs. This was the perfect timing for me to write blogs (roughly 35-40 minutes bus). I really enjoyed that part too :-). Unfortunately, taking the bus once I move further was not an option.

@Orneall,

I was basically born in a car (I use to deliver bread when I was 16) so yes, I truly enjoy driving :-D

@My Own Advisor,

As long as you don’t get too much traffic, I think a little drive can only do good!

I have a roommate at my apartment who is usually home when I get home, and I often need a few minutes to not talk to anyone once I’m done with a long day. Because it only takes me about 7 minutes to get home, I usually end up sitting in my car for 10-15 minutes just listening to music or thinking. It helps me relax and calm down and just have a few minutes to myself. I definitely understand where you’re coming from.

This post is timely, because I just went from working from home to a 1 hour train ride to work. Now i’m back to working from home. The train ride allowed me to relax and get ready for work. When I work from home, I wake up and I’m working instantly. I also read while on the train, I rarely do that home. In essence, my commute made me more efficient.