Your Commute!

At the beginning of every day there is a commute, a routine that we go through before we start the day – before we start at work, at school, at leisure or at play. Everything we do before we start is therefore in essence part of your commute, the preparation before action. How well do you manage your commute to action?

I would love to say I have the best commute in the world. I know there are good ones and I have experienced better ones – the opportunity here is to set your state by putting the right commute in place to enable you to be in the best place mentally and physically before you start whatever it is you do.

Consider the teenage child who refuses to go to bed in the evening, wants to just finish that game on their games console, see the next episode of their latest box set and then after that either refuses to briefly read a book so they can switch their minds off before going to sleep or reads 3-4 chapters and ends up turning their light off an hour or more later than you would have liked. How are they mentally when the alarm goes off at 6.30 or 7.30 the following morning? Aside of all the research that states sleep patterns of teenagers mean they are better starting their days later in the day, this scenario has manifested an ugly commute to school. They are self sabotaging their brilliance by their action the night before, you could call it a lack of maturity but I prefer self sabotage.

How does self sabotage of your performance of your day manifest itself in your world? I categorically am not suggesting that we should all go to bed on time, eat the right things every day and only drink alcohol occasionally, that would create a potentially very dull existence for many of us. Starting our journey with a self-inflicted bad mood already going on is within our control and how we balance that is up to us.

Whether you have teenagers or not you can relate to part of this example. Your commute may be very different, maybe it’s a 1.5-hour drive along fast flowing motorways where driving hypnosis takes over or worse, it’s full-on rush hour driving where the journey is only a small number of miles but it’s all stop start crawling through congested streets and roads. Is that your idea of hell or would that be the bus, train or underground where you spend multiple journeys with your face mushed into somebody’s armpit having paid an exorbitant price for the privilege.

Everyone’s commute is different – trains, planes, bicycles, walking or automobiles – we all have to take action to get to where we need to be, and we can control a great deal of what goes on in our state of mind during that journey. However what we can’t always control is the time we need to be somewhere at the start of the day so we can choose how we get there.

The best commute I have ever had to work was 14km long – I was living in Perth in Western Australia – my whole journey was one of the most stunning bike rides you could ever ask for. I travelled from south of the river towards the centre of the city and then out again – always on a bike path and always alongside the beautiful Swan river. Why did I move back to the UK if that was so great is another story for another day, let’s be clear I haven’t managed to replicate that work commute since. My learning from this experience has been that I do not do rush hours – I am either an early bird or a late bird. If I have meetings in different parts of the country I will more often than not arrive before rush hour and can be found making use of a coffee shop and getting my head ready for the day and the meetings ahead.

The word commute makes us think of the ugly long unpleasant journeys, it doesn’t have to be like that. Whether your commute involves many miles or hours of travel or it’s just a question of strolling across the landing to your home office, how you mentally prepare and then in turn arrive is down to you. Many people listen to podcasts and audio books if they are driving or read a book if on public transport. The key is preparation – your commute to action – what you do to help you get ready for the day ahead?

Of course, I do drive in rush hours, get caught in journeys on the overcrowded tubes or stuck in endless traffic jams, there is no perfect solution here – my choice is to take control where I can and accept there will be times when it doesn’t go according to plan. 9 times out of 10 I turn up smiling on the inside and on that one occasion when it all goes wrong I get to whinge and moan like everybody else, just not for very long though. Take control of your head space so you can put your best forward more of the time most of the time, it is in your control!

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