I never thought I would say this but I miss driving 1 hour each morning to go to work…
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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