In seeking work-life balance, a major “Happiness Stumbling Block” can be time spent in the car, in traffic (especially if you live in the Los Angeles area).
I see this most prominently with my husband. He has a long commute, and was lamenting last fall about what we could do if he had the time he spent in the car for something else. Full disclaimer, the commute is a strategic choice: to leave by the beach, which he feels is a huge boost to work-life balance. Still, it got me thinking: how could that time be transformed from annoying and wasteful to, at the very least, productive, maybe even enjoyable.
Around that time, I was also contemplating how to embrace nighttime walks when I was tired after a long day at work, which were often cold. I wanted to do right by my pup and give him long walks, but I also found myself rushing to get back home and do all the things I needed to do every evening. (I wrote about this last month too). That was when I found the solution to both our quandaries: Podcasts.
I know, I’m a bit late to the game, but not that late actually. It feels like the podcast market is just exploding, or perhaps I feel that way because two of my favorite women writers started ones last year: Elizabeth Gilbert and Gretchen Rubin. I had been seeing posts on social media about them and was eager to listen. So, I suggested the idea to my husband, who often listens to Serial and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Star Talk. And I began my Podcast journey with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons every evening as I walked my dog.
Work-Life Balance Tip: Is there time you have to spend driving (or doing something else) that you feel is wasted? Find a podcast you enjoy to make the most of it.
Then, I decided to take it a step further. Even though I don’t quite have Nadim’s commute, I still do spend A LOT of time in the car– more than I want to. So at the beginning of February, I decided to play “Happier” with Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft every time I had a drive longer than 10 minutes. I am now averaging a podcast per day, to catch up, and I can’t wait to get in the car.
Every evening, or morning, when it’s time for me to drive to my work out, or run errands, go to the supermarket, take my dog to the vet, I play “Happier.” And now it’s become precious time that I enjoy. (Interestingly, Elizabeth Craft talks about this in one of the episodes.)
Already a big fan of Gretchen Rubin’s work, I love everything about the podcast from the “Try this at home tips,” to advice on knowing myself better, to being mindful about when I make mistakes with “Happiness demerits” so that I can reflect on them in hopes of doing better next time, to the casual conversation between two sisters.
It’s going to be bittersweet when I’m all caught up in around a month’s time. It’ll be fun to listen to the latest episode in real-time and join their conversation online, but I also won’t have a stock to listen to every day.
Work-Life Balance Tip: Not only is this podcast a great way to reflect on happiness, habits and work-life balance, it’s turned what would otherwise be a waste of time into something I look forward to every day. I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about and experimenting with balance, making the most of things and working hard to be happy.