My commute to the office is between 35 minutes and 75 minutes. I commute into Atlanta from the burbs. Atlanta is known for many things, and traffic is one of them. For the morning commute, 7 am to 9 am is slammed, every day, and sometimes on weekends. Who would do that kind of commute willingly? And, who would love it? I would, and here are four reasons why.
Commuting is a great learning time
My wife and I are in the process of adopting from China. Our new son is ten and speaks Mandarin. I spend the first part of my daily commute listening to an audiobook or course to learn Mandarin.
While driving, I cannot give learning 100% of my attention, so it takes a little longer to learn something. But, because my time in the car is so consistent, I find I’m picking up Mandarin more quickly than I expected.
Commuting helps me stay current
After about 25–30 minutes of driving and listening to a Mandarin course, I’m ready for something different. That’s when I switch over to podcasts. I love to listen to news podcasts first. Then, sometimes I’ll switch to a tech podcast to keep up with the industry.
I find that podcasts are great for getting a lot of information quickly. By taking 20 minutes of my commute to listen, I’m typically well informed without being inundated by the day’s headlines.
Commuting helps me keep up with friends
Often on my commute home, I call friends or family (hands-free, of course). It’s a great way to stay in touch. I have five (almost six) kids, so making a call to a friend at home is at best short, and at worst, interrupted 15 times. Talking on my commute home gives me uninterrupted time to have more in-depth conversations and connections with the people that matter to me.
Commuting helps me change from “dad mode” to “work mode” and back
Going from wrangling kids to being prepared for meetings with clients and back takes a few mental gymnastics. Having time in the car between home and work gives me time to make that shift. Once I’m at work, I’m fully ready and in the right headspace to conquer the day. And, once I’m at home, I’m ready to be dad. Having that buffer time can be helpful.
Commuting is not easy. Traffic, people, accidents, and the cold of winter are not always fun to endure. But, I figure, if I have to commute, I should make it the best, most fruitful experience it can be. I don’t want to endure my commute; I want to embrace it, enjoy it, and benefit from it.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider signing up for my weekly newsletter. Every Friday, I’ll send you an email with interesting things I’ve read, seen, or written that week. You will gain leadership insights, fun learning, and productivity hacks, among other things.