As a location independent entrepreneur, I can pretty much work from anywhere in the world. I love the freedom this lifestyle gives me, for example, to adjust my daily routine to fit my personal preferences.
Since I don’t have to commute or have an office to spend the day in, I can spread my work over the day and even the week. I find it makes everything way more efficient and it has improved my overall quality of life.
How my quality of life improved
Since the last couple of months, I have been living in Bahia (a state in Brazil). If I am not in Salvador, the capital of Bahia, I am staying in a small and laid-back beach town called Itacaré.
It is really like living in paradise here in Itacaré; there are beautiful beaches, that are great for surfing. The town is small and you will find everything in walking distance. And since there are just a few streets, I keep on running into the same people all the time.
I see those people working all over town, as surf instructors, in stores, in hotels, bars or restaurants. I run into them in the streets, on the beach, walking around with their surfboards, or at the sunset point where people meet up by the end of the day.
And today I realized something; most of the people here don’t commute as well. They do everything here in town as I do now.
And I also realized that everybody exercises a lot.
I see people surf, train capoeira, work out on the beach, run. There are several yoga classes and there are 5 capoeira groups. And at the end of the day, people go to the beach to play beach volley or football.
Not having to spend time traveling to and from work gives people so much more time to exercise. And yes, I am doing a lot of exercise too since I moved here.
How exactly can you gain 20 hours a week by skipping the commute?
Well, let’s see how I calculated this. Let’s say your commute is about 2 hours a day in total, that is 10 hours a week.
But on top of the actual commuting time, skipping your commute gives you another indirect timesaver: you can work fewer hours for the same results by changing your work routine.
The 8-hour workday is based on the optimized working time in a factory. It is definitely not ideal for innovative people that need to be creative and productive as digital workers are today.
Studies suggest 8 hours in an office only leads to 6 productive hours a day. Add the 2 hours commuting on top and we could say that we lose 4 hours a day, spending being at work or traveling to work that we are not actually working at all.
That is 20 hours a week of time that we potentially could spend differently.
20 hours that we can spend exercising, being in nature, enjoying time with our family and friends, sleep more, cook healthy food, be active in our community…
So, what does my personal routine look like here in Itacaré?
After waking up (no alarm!) I have breakfast and I work for maybe 4 or 6 hours, usually until around 2 in the afternoon, then I have lunch and go for a swim.
After that, I relax a bit on the beach, while studying Portuguese. 3 times a week I have a capoeira class at 5 pm, and the other days I try to train a bit by myself or have an occasional yoga class.
I usually work 1 or 2 hours in the early evening, before having dinner and meeting up with friends. In the weekends I might work 2 -3 hours in the mornings and then spend the afternoons exploring the beaches that are a bit further away.
And I love this routine.
It gives such a good work/life balance and it improves my quality of life big time. I have never exercised so much, spend so much time in nature, with friends, or have felt more in sync with my natural rhythm. I find that the time that I would spend in my corporate life commuting (or in an irrelevant meeting) is very well spent doing exercise.
Doing regular exercise also gives me more energy and focus for the rest of the day. And working in several time slots helps me to be more focused and productive.
It is so different than the life I lived when being tied to the office; waking up by my alarm too early, hurrying to work, being stuck in traffic, hurry home in the evening, then cook something quickly or order in. And after dinner there would be hardly any energy left to exercise, to meet up with friends, to study or for doing something creative.
With all this extra time, you could also do something else instead of exercise. You could learn a new language. Spend quality time with your family and friends. Cook. Volunteer. Be active in your community.
What if more people would skip their commute, what would life look like?
When we work remotely, we are more flexible to adjust our schedules to be as efficient as possible and have a better work/life balance instead.
If the quality of life of your employees would improve by spend less time commuting, and they could be and more time exercising or doing other things that are important for them.
Expect the following: your employees would be happier. They would be healthier. They would be more present, more focused and more productive.
For society as a whole; people would become healthier, more educated and more creative. There would be less money being spent on health care. Less commute would benefit the environment. Parents would spend more time with their children. More people would be volunteering.
Call to all employers:
If you want to improve the quality of life of your workforce and make the world a little better, make sure to let them skip their commute at least a few days a week, and support them in finding their own natural rhythm.
So, how about you?
What would you do with all this extra time if you could skip your commute? And what would your ideal routine look like?