The Daily Ritual
Every morning, the struggle to get out of bed, get dressed in business casual, and deal with either traffic or public transportation to reach an office building somewhere is a ritual many people go through. It’s often accompanied by a morning coffee or a podcast on the commute. Yet, have the minutes and hours spent on this routine ever been considered?
Consider a clock, where each tick represents a minute in a day. This amounts to 1,440 ticks per day. Then think about how many of these ticks are consumed by commuting and preparing for work. According to a 2018 study, the average American commute time was roughly 26.9 minutes one way, which is nearly an hour round trip, and that’s just the average. Some brave individuals spend much longer in transit.
Furthermore, the preparation for work is no less of a time consumer. Ironing shirts, preparing lunch, grooming, and mentally preparing for the day are all little tasks that, when accumulated, take up a significant part of the morning.
Yet, there is a potential way to recover some of those precious ticks: remote work. This isn’t just about the potential for additional sleep, although that is indeed a tempting prospect. It involves reclaiming time, energy, and even some peace of mind. This article invites a deep dive into this topic, challenging norms, considering alternatives, and potentially discovering how to better align work-life balance.
Taking a moment to press ‘pause’ on daily life and closely examine the costs of commuting and preparing for the office is important. In the following section, these topics will be further explored.
In the comfort of home, with a cup of coffee nearby, it’s time to challenge the status quo because it’s high time to value time more.
Commuting: The Hidden Time-Consumer
The journey from home to work is often seen as a necessary evil by some and as ‘me-time’ by others. However, it’s also a considerable consumer of time, a source of stress, and a test of patience.
In the grand scheme of a day, an hour or so spent on commuting might seem negligible. However, some simple math illustrates its true cost. Commuting an hour a day accumulates to 5 hours a week or about 20 hours a month. That’s essentially a full day each month spent solely on commuting. Over a year, that’s almost 12 full days.
But commuting is not just about time, it can also be a significant source of stress. Traffic jams, running late, uncooperative vehicles, and spilling morning coffee are all potential stressors that can start the day on a sour note. Moreover, the environmental impact of all those cars emitting CO2 is considerable.
There’s also the financial cost. Fuel or fare, vehicle maintenance, and parking fees all contribute to a sum that could be better spent on experiences that bring joy.
Yes, commuting is a rhythm many have adapted to, but it’s worth questioning if there could be a better way. Is it possible that time, money, and energy could be spent on things that are genuinely valuable? The exploration of these possibilities is indeed worthwhile.
Morning Preparations: Another Stealthy Time Thief
Delving into another often overlooked time-consumer – the morning routine before work, it’s an inevitable series of tasks that’s carried out almost mechanically prior to stepping out the door.
Consider the time spent ironing clothes, selecting an outfit that strikes the right balance between professionalism and comfort, packing a lunch, or perhaps preparing breakfast for those who are early risers. Not to mention grooming – combing, shaving, makeup, and more.
Then there’s the mental preparation. Preparing for meetings, presentations, deadlines. The mental load before even reaching the desk is frequently heavier than it is given credit for.
Upon adding it all up, it’s not unusual for this pre-work routine to consume an hour or more each day. That’s another five hours per week, another 20 hours per month, another 10-plus days per year. Coupled with commuting, a significant portion of waking hours is spent just preparing for and commuting to work.
Of course, these routines have their merit. They assist in transitioning into ‘work mode,’ and there’s undeniable satisfaction in looking sharp and being prepared. However, is it possible to achieve the same results without spending so much time? Could some aspects of this routine be streamlined, or even eliminated?
Visualize waking up, putting on something comfortable, grabbing a cup of coffee, and being at a workstation within minutes. Consider the possibility of replacing the time spent on ironing and commuting with a morning yoga session or a relaxed breakfast with the family. Picture starting a workday feeling refreshed and relaxed, rather than rushed and stressed.
The Power of Time Reclaimed
Reflecting on time, recall the 12 days a year calculated to be spent commuting? And the 10 days preparing for the office? With remote work, that time could potentially be reclaimed. That’s close to an entire month regained in life every year.
So, further exploration is warranted. It’s vital to assess what can be done with the saved time and why it’s important. A world where work fits around lives, not the other way around, should be envisioned.
Envisioning a Fuller, Balanced Life
Visualize an extra hour in a day. What could be done with it? Maybe read that book that’s been gathering dust on a shelf, take up that hobby that’s always been on the mind, spend more time with family, or finally start that exercise routine that’s been postponed.
Now, what if there was an extra month in a year? Because, as it’s been found, that’s what could be gained by eliminating the commute and office preparation through remote work.
Time is one of the most valuable commodities. It’s the one thing that cannot be increased, no matter how much effort is exerted. Yet, it’s so easy to let it slip away, especially when stuck in routines that aren’t beneficial.
With remote work, time isn’t just being saved – it’s being reclaimed. Control over days, routines, and life is being taken back. It’s like giving oneself the gift of time. And that’s a gift that continually gives.
With this extra time, investment in self-improvement could be made. Learn a new skill, read more books, take up a new hobby. Work on physical health, start a fitness routine, prepare healthier meals. Nurture relationships, spend more quality time with loved ones, create more meaningful memories.
But perhaps most importantly, there could simply be time to relax. Breathe. Live life at a slower pace. Because isn’t that what is craved in this fast-paced world? A moment to simply exist, without the constant rush, endless to-do lists, relentless pressure.
The Call for Change
By reclaiming time through remote work, more than just saving minutes on a clock is achieved. Space is created for a richer, fuller, more balanced life. Possibilities are opened up for personal growth, self-care, and deeper connections.
Isn’t that worth exploring? Keep challenging the norms, questioning the routines, seeking better ways. Because time is precious, and it’s high time it was treated that way.
At the end of this discussion, the realities of commuting and office preparation as time-stealers have been explored. The potential benefits of remote work have been assessed. A vision of what could be done with the reclaimed time has been dreamt up.
Concluding Thoughts: The Choice Ahead
So, what’s the next step? It leaves a choice. A choice to continue on the current path, or to dare to take a different route. A choice to accept the status quo, or to challenge it. A choice to let routines rule, or to take control of one’s own time.
No one is saying that remote work is a magic solution that will solve all problems. It’s not for everyone, and it comes with its own challenges. But isn’t it worth considering? Isn’t it worth exploring, especially if it could give back some of the most precious resource – time?
At the end of the day, it’s about more than just the hours spent commuting or preparing for work. It’s about what those hours represent. It’s about the opportunities missed, the experiences forfeited, the moments that slip by.
Because each tick of the clock is a moment of life. And isn’t it about time that the most was made of those moments?
So, as this discussion wraps up, there’s an invitation to continue it individually. Reflect on routines, consider options, question the norms. And most importantly, value time. Because, as the old saying goes, time is what life is made of.
Thank you for reading this journey. Here’s to a future where work fits lives, not the other way around.