I truly believe that mommy-time should be a non-negotiable. That said, I also know how difficult it is to fit in. Kids, a husband, friends and work, all compete for our attention. There are not enough hours in the day. Adding mommy-time as another item, on the already too long “to-do” list, seems almost laughable.
Despite our best intentions, making mommy-time happen is hard. But it’s important for our own personal health, happiness and sanity. The good news is, I bet there’s a bit of time you have each day you are not taking full advantage of.
Many of us working moms have some kind of commute, whether it’s 15 minutes on the subway or an hour in the car. I consider this time very precious. Often it’s the only time we get to be truly alone. I could complain about my long and tedious trip to the office. I don’t. I cherish it.
Your commute is your time, time you can take advantage of in the following five ways.
You commute is the perfect time to plan out your day. What are you going to accomplish? What needs to come off the to-do list today? As you know I’m a big believer in setting goals. While driving to the office think about what needs to get done first. Walking into the office with a prioritized plan will make you feel more prepared and ready for the day.
While driving home think about how you want to spend your evening. There’s always homework, housework and preparing for the next day. What needs to actually get done and what can wait? Making a clear plan of what you will do when you get home, will make you more productive, less stressed and in bed at a reasonable hour.
I have a confession, I’m a self-development junkie. I love reading books and watching inspirational movies that are going to make me a better person. The problem is that while driving I can’t read or watch anything besides the road. That’s where my “mobile university” comes in. I love, love, love to listen to audio books and podcasts when I drive. I believe it’s the best use of time.
Instead of siting and stressing about how long you have been in the car for, how late you are going to be, or mindlessly listening to the radio, you can use this time to learn and grow. If your interest is self-development, health or history, there’s a book or a podcast for you. It takes the otherwise wasted time and turns it into productive time. I have a monthly subscription and love using audiable.com for an endless selection of books.
Call a friend
I’m not sure if it’s just me, but every time I pick-up the phone someone needs something. The house could be completely calm and quiet and as soon as mommy has to make a call, it turns into a noisy circus. The circus can’t find you in the car.
It’s the perfect time to connect and chat and not be interrupted, while also focusing on your driving of course. I have learnt over the years that friendships must be fostered and in order to do this you need to devote a certain amount of time. The daily commute is usually the perfect time to connect with a friend.
A big problem with not having enough time is that our minds get stuck on the hamster wheel, running around and around on the same things. Stressing about the same stuff. Your commute is the perfect time to reflect on those things that have been bothering you. To address a problem that just won’t go away. To put together a plan. To develop some goals.
Before starting your commute, decide what you want to focus on. A problem with a colleague. A disagreement you had with your husband. Your five year plan you never have time to create. Instead of letting your thoughts drive the commute, take control and drive your thoughts.
Spend the time actively thinking through a problem or a situation and actively trying to come up with a solution or a plan. This is the perfect time to be alone with your thoughts but just make sure you don’t let your thoughts take charge. Put yourself in the driver seat and all your negative and pattern thoughts in the passenger seat.
I always do one of these four things on my commute to and from work. When I arrive at the office in the morning or at home at night I say this silent prayer “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.” Then I list five things I’m grateful for.
Practicing gratitude is always important especially at the start or end of the day. It’s also a good way to end a commute that could otherwise be annoying or stressful. Often we get so “busy” that we forget to stop and give thanks. Increasing gratitude can help improve our physical, physiological and social wellbeing.
Whether it is planning for the day, getting inspired, or actively reflecting, I use my commuting time wisely. How do you make the most of your commute? I would love to hear your tips below.
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