Repurpose your Commute

Today I want to talk about commutes. The wonderful thing about working from home, of course, is that you’ve reduced your commute time to less than five minutes. But commutes are valuable parts of the day by helping:

  • maintain a boundary between work from home so that work doesn’t overrun your home life
  • you transition from work to home
  • keep your entire day from blurring together by separating it into distinct parts

So, let's keep the routine of a commute, but substitute something way more enjoyable than rush hour traffic. Before we get into the specifics of what you commute could include, let’s breeze through the parts of your routine that AREN’T your commute.

Morning

  • Keep your pre-commute morning routine roughly similar to what it was before
  • Then do your morning community activity
  • Keep your ‘getting to work’ routine roughly the same. Don’t forget to take some time to connect with your co-workers on your company Slack (or other tool of choice)

Evening

  • Tidy your work area.
  • Make notes of where you left off.
  • Note any priorities for tomorrow.
  • Close everything up. You’re DONE.
  • Do your evening commute routine.

Some of the example ‘commutes’ below you might find better for the morning and others the evening. I highly recommend picking at least one exercise ‘commute’ per day. Not only will it keep your mental health stronger during these stressful times, but it will help keep you healthy in the event you catch COVID-19.

Listen to yourself and understand what you need at the end of the workday. Don't force, for example, a social commute if you're wiped out from meetings that day.

Exercise

  • Take a walk, listening to podcasts, music, or audiobook similar to your normal commute
  • Kick a ball around in the yard with your kids
  • Find a 15-20 minute exercise routine on YouTube and repeat it daily
  • Walk or drive to the park (with your sanitizer) and play for a bit
  • Go for a run, bike, or dust off that exercise equipment that’s grown a little lonely
  • Do a no-equipment HIIT workout like this one

Peaceful

  • Meditate using an app like Headspace or Insight Timer
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Brew a cup of tea and sit outside with a book
  • Color

Social

  • Schedule a phone call or webcam conversation with a friend for each day of the week
  • Start an actual email thread with an old friend
  • Call an older relative of friend that you haven’t spoken to in ages
  • Throw a virtual happy hour on Fridays

Fun

  • Start playing a new game on your phone
  • Play hide and seek with your kids, partner, or housemates
  • Play video games with your family and friends
  • Crack open a jigsaw puzzle (also great for conference calls!)
  • Have a dance party in your living room

Brainy

  • Work on learning a new language using an app like Duolingo
  • Listen to a podcast like Futility Closet or Stuff You Should Know
  • Solve a Sudoku, crossword, or other brain puzzle
  • Sign up for a free course on something that’s always interested you on Coursera

Creative

  • Play that instrument you’ve been neglecting
  • Crochet, knit, or sew
  • Build a model or play with legos
  • Draw or paint

At this point, you should have enough ideas to find whatever will make for a pleasant commute that scratches some sort of itch that your work doesn’t.

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