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Three ways to improve your commute

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I am now driving the boys to and from childcare every day. I spend 25-30 minutes each way thanks to a major freeway nearby being under road construction for the foreseeable future, so that’s nearly two hours a day in the car. Obviously, the commute is better when I have a cup of coffee or a nice La Croix, but something just wasn’t right and I couldn’t imagine going on like this. Instead of just feeling bitter about the wasted time (as I did the first week), I finally found some ways to improve my time in the car each day.

Part of my problem is that simply listening to music, while fun, wasn’t productive at all and felt like a waste of time, just as much as driving did already. I’m a doer. I feel like I should constantly be accomplishing something. This trait can be positive (when on deadline) and negative (on vacation, for example or on the weekends when I should really just focus on my family). I can rarely stop checking things off of my to do list. It’s a bit of a burden, really.

After a week of frustration with the time spent in the car, I knew I needed to find something to make this time less of what I considered to be a waste. I found a few great ways to pass the time that were not only enjoyable, but were also productive in a way.

First, I try to enjoy the boys on the way to and from school. We sing to our favorite Pandora station. We chat. We laugh. Ezra is mostly over his screaming carseat hating days. Thank goodness!

The other hour (after dropping them off and on my way to pick them up) needed to be filled with something.

Here are three ways I’ve improved my long commute:

1. Make any phone calls you need or want to.

I often call my grandma, my mom, my uncle or my husband. They are four of the five people I talk to on the phone. The other is my brother who is still at work during these drives.  As you know, talking on the phone with kids is nearly impossible. And for me, talking while at home working is not productive. It’s a poor use of my child-free time when I have work deadlines to meet. We have the Blue Tooth option in both of our cars so it’s pretty safe and easy. I’ve scheduled doctor’s appointments and other things this way as well. My husband and I tend to use this time to talk through any logistics or things we prefer not to chat about around the kids too. This works best when he is driving as well. Just remember to dial before you start driving. :) Safety first friends!

2. Audiobooks.

My husband has been talking about them and listening to them for months (possibly years) but I didn’t buy into the concept since I didn’t drive all that much. Well, audiobooks are my new addiction. I LOVE that I can take in information or stories while driving. My first two audiobooks are my favorites so far. I highly recommend Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, a book on habits, how to create positive ones and how to work within your own personality type. I’m obsessed. It’s been so good and I’ve already taken some of her incredible insights and put them into action in my own life. The other one I’ve listened to is No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury. It’s a great option for parents looking for a positive approach to discipline with their young children (mostly toddlers). I have actually caught myself feeling just a touch sad when I arrive at my destination, wishing I had a few more minutes of the audiobooks.

3. Podcasts.

I really only listen to one each week right now, but I have several that I hope to listen to soon. The Lively Show is focused on “designing a life and business with intention.” Jess Lively offers a fresh approach to many topics with many focused on creative entrepreneurs, but there are also quite a few for anyone trying to improve their lives, finances, careers and more.

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