I’ve found that the way I get to work can really set me up for the day.
I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to work this out, but for most of my life, the rush to get to where I am working has always been about a single minded objective (getting there), and usually by the fastest route.
Two years ago we moved office and my routine of six years was upended. I quickly adopted a new route, a direct line along a main road. And then after a few months I was organizing a meeting which involved guiding 10 colleagues from other companies to the office. I researched a different route through the old town and along the lake. It took 5 minutes longer, but was a real joy. It also wowed my colleagues who could not stop taking pictures and comparing it to their misery of a commute to work by metro, overcrowded train or roads clogged with cars.
From then on I took this scenic route to work (see the photos below) and found myself arriving at work refreshed and looking forward to the day ahead, whatever the challenges.
The benefits of experimentation
An interesting piece of research on daily commutes in London discovered that “a significant fraction of commuters on the London underground failed to find their optimal route until they were forced to experiment”. The researchers concluded that “Encouraging ourselves to implement occasional routine-breaks could be beneficial as well”.
On my way to work this week I met a colleague who I had not seen taking my route before. She told me that she tries to take different routes to work – she likes the mix, the unexpected, the new. It keeps her fresh and stimulated. I could not agree more.
A few months ago we moved office again, back to the building I had been walking to, along the same road for six years. Experimenting again, I have now found new routes along a river and the lake, with a chance to watch the fishermen, the swans, and admire the views across the lake. I arrive at the office in a refreshed frame of mind.
I also realize how privileged I am to be able to travel to work where I do.