The Benefits of a Fake Commute

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You’re lying awake in bed. It’s 5:48 a.m. on Monday. You hit snooze twice on your alarm already, but this time the phone wins. You grab your phone and immediately look at all those notifications. “I guess it’s time to get up and get to work,” you tell yourself as you rub your eyes, get out of bed and immediately walk over to your home office. Next thing you know, it’s 2 p.m., you haven’t showered or eaten, and you feel exhausted. 

Sound familiar?

We didn’t sign up for this career to work 9-5, Monday to Friday. A standard work schedule is not why I started my career in public relations and is likely not your reason either. 

However, the trend of blending work and personal lives has been accelerated significantly due to the pandemic. And work life is winning.

Because fewer of us are spending time in cars, buses or trains heading to and from a physical office, we no longer have a natural ramp up or wind down to our workday. 

Trying to transition from work to personal life every day will continue to serve as a challenge for the foreseeable future.

It’s why I was drawn to recent articles talking about the German word Feierabend, roughly defined as “the time after work is done and a period of leisure and rest begins.” Essentially, we are creating a “fake” commute.

So let’s work on separating your personal time from your work time, within reason. It won’t always be perfect. There are times you’ll still have to join that 6 a.m. conference call or respond to that email at 9 p.m.

How can we start our day right? Here are three suggestions:

  • Drink a big glass of water. Among other things, a cold glass of water gives nutrients to our cells, especially for our muscles. This helps reduce muscle fatigue and increases energy.
  • Get your body warmed up. We’re about to sit all day so let’s give our muscles some love. Our bodies need time to wake up and get the blood flowing. Some simple body weight movements like leg swings, arm raises, lunges, trunk twists and squats will be helpful for our flexibility, and are good for our back. 
  • Spend at least 15 minutes walking around your neighborhood or pacing in your house. 

What about after work? Here are three suggestions:

  • Wrap on a high note and write down one thing that went well. We tend to focus on the negative. What’s one thing that went right, and more important, why? 
  • Write down your three big priorities for tomorrow. Noting these will help with, among other things, reducing the time you’re lying awake at night thinking about work.
  • Incorporate some physical activity, whether it’s walking, running or biking around your neighborhood. Make it fun — involve family and friends in person or virtually, set it in your calendar and make it a part of your wind down. 

As business leaders and trusted advisers, this is our opportunity to show how we are prioritizing our well-being. 

Encourage your teams, colleagues, managers and clients to join you in instituting this approach. 

What I shared above are just some examples. What about you? What will your “fake commute” look like? Let me know!

Have a wonderful February, everyone. 

Be safe. Be kind. Be well. 

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