As a long time commuter, I know it’s easy to dwell on the negatives of commuting: the cost, the time, the delays, the horror of being rammed next to a stranger closer than you get to most relatives… I will openly admit that the one thing I really wish I could change about my job is my commute. But…it’s not all bad. Since returning from Maternity Leave I’ve reached a new level of commute-appreciation. So next time you feel anger at having to spend in excess of an hour / day on a train for half your salary, bear these things in mind:
- Uninterrupted reading time: How often in life do you find yourself with a clear half an hour to read with no-one crying, nagging, grovelling for a biscuit or knowing deep-down that you should be dealing with the washing-up/ironing/dusting/folding/insert another chore from the never-ending list here. Even now I only commute three days a week, I can get an amazing chunk of my book read in my half hour train ride!;
- Distance from work: If you’re like me, you’ll have left the office countless times in a fluster and stress thinking how you really must finish something off when you get home. In those scenarios, 9 times out of 10, I get on the train, read my book and then by the time I get home and do all of the usual evening activities, the issue doesn’t seem so pressing and leaving it until I am refreshed in the morning is suddenly the most sensible option. Of course in those other 10% of scenarios…
- Time to catch-up on work in peace: I wouldn’t personally be able to write a presentation or a big document on the train, but when time is short or I need to catch-up, my train journey is 30 uninterrupted minutes where I can tidy-up my emails or catch-up on necessary reading;
- Chat with friends: I discovered last month that one of my Mum-Friends gets the same train home as me every Thursday. When we discovered this we were terribly excited because it meant we could chat for the whole journey without toddlers reaping havoc. I have seen many other people who have train friends or who use the time to drop a quick call to someone (although I obvious flash the odd glare to phone-callers who just seem to work through their phone book in desperation to spend the whole journey talking to someone…anyone). If you are lucky enough to have a train friend for even one journey a week then relish this time interacting with an actual person!
- Don’t stop movin’: I walk a fair amount on my commute alone, even now that I drive to the station. There is the car to the station, station to end of platform, train to underground entrance, the miles from the underground entrance to the actual tube platform, the tube platform out to the big-wide-world and then through the hustle-and-bustle of Victoria to my office. Then at the end of the day I do it in reverse. It’s hard to get in that many steps without thinking about it on my ‘at home’ days. Don’t underestimate the health benefits of being on the move all the time!
There you have it – 5 great positives about your commute. So next time there are delays, remind yourself to stop whinging*!
*Yeah, I know, I’ll still whinge as well, but we’re only human!