I think we have our best thoughts in the shower because we are free from distraction and can be fully present with ourselves. Last night my shower thought was, "I am She Commutes Out Loud, but I'm not commuting anymore and I haven't addressed that with my community. How have I not said anything about this?" I feel like I owe you all an explanation.
First, let me tell you, I really miss commuting. My commute was my sacred reflection time. Not having this built in "me time" has been really hard. However, I'm thankful to say I have adapted, but there have been several iterations and it's far from perfect.
The company I work for was one of the first in Boston to enforce a work from home policy when COVID hit back in March. I quickly realized that I wasn't going to be commuting for quite some time (I originally thought through August, my how things have changed). With this change I knew I needed to create my own "commuting" time so that I didn't stop consuming the incredible content I share with all of you.
In the beginning, I thought I would stick to my original commute times, 7-8 AM and 5:30 - 6:30 PM. My plan was to wake up, have a little coffee and settle into a comfy spot to start reading, listening or watching. FAIL. First, I found it much harder to force myself out of bed when I didn't actually need to be somewhere. Second, I found myself getting distracted by slack messages, email notifications, the rumbles of hunger in my stomach and my husband moving about our 800 sq ft. apartment. I found myself actually sticking to my content consumption time blocks 1-2 days a week and during that time I honestly felt stressed out that I wasn't doing something else.
When I had a true commute on the Boston subway system, the second I entered onto the train was a trigger for me to relax and plug in to whatever it was I wanted to learn about that day. I set myself free from everything else going on in my world and allowed myself to be fully consumed by the content. Not physically leaving my space in quarantine didn't give me that same freedom. There wasn't a physical trigger that said, it's okay for you to unplug from reality right now.
Living in 800 square feet made creating a similar trigger (like boarding the train) challenging but I knew I had to somehow recreate that feeling. So, I started going for morning walks. If you look back at the content I shared in March, April, May the majority of my posts focused around either books or podcasts, which I could listen to while walking. The simple act of leaving my space gave me the permission I needed to focus on the content I was consuming and ignore the rest until I returned home.
Last month my husband and I packed up our apartment and moved to our new home in the suburbs of New Hampshire. Having more space allows me to create those trigger moments more easily & at times inside of my home. I still prioritize walks, but I also have a true office now. Stepping into the office creates the old feeling of boarding the train.
If you're trying to build a new habit or routine I have a few pieces of advice.
Be fully present - don't let alerts, noise or other people interrupt you. You deserve at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time per day!
Don't take on too much at once - For me, I've set a goal of consuming one piece of content a day. Sometimes I take in a lot more, but sometimes I don't. As long as I stay true to the one piece, I'm continuing with my goal.
Build in trigger points that allow your mind to shift gears - for me it's moving from one physical space to another (either a walk or going into my office). This movement tells my brain it's time to do something different and I can truly focus on consuming the content & not the other things I have going on in my life.
I don't see myself ACTUALLY commuting for quite some time, but I do promise to keep up with this new way of "commuting" so we can continue to learn together from all of the great content that exists out there.