Do you ever feel that you’re rushing from one thing to the next? Perhaps your children’s social lives put you in a perpetual spin? Maybe you feel obligated to go to a particular hairdresser, doctor, dog groomer, dentist (and so on) just because you remain steadfastly loyal?
Some people are perfectly happy to travel significant distances to access certain services and I don’t blame you, if you are one of them. However, for day-to-day or regular activities, an alternative approach could help you slow down, simplify your routine or make a necessary chore feel a little less onerous.
Episode 137 of Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast made me see how important it is to consider convenience.
In this particular episode, Rubin and her sister and co-presenter, Liz Craft, explain how using particular services that are close by can provide a significant happiness boost.
By coincidence, we’d recently made a family decision that fitted well into the category of this particular ‘happiness hack’.
The story of my morning rush
Since our daughter was very small, I’d always taken her to nursery (then school) myself. This was our routine and we enjoyed this time together.
During her primary school years, the journey to school was on the way to my workplace, so this worked well. Once the secondary school years arrived, we continued the drive to school, as my place of work had changed and was now just a few miles further on from my daughter’s senior school.
In the early part of those secondary school years, we could leave as late as 07:50, drop the dog off (if he was going to doggie day care) and I could still be at my desk for 08:45.
Then I changed jobs again.
At first, in my new role, I could still play ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ and manage to be at my desk by around 08:30. But then the traffic started to get busier. And busier…. Plus, changes to parking arrangements at work meant that we needed to start leaving the house even earlier to arrive on time and find somewhere to park.
By the end of this busy phase, we were leaving home at 07:10 and I was arriving at work already feeling worn out and somewhat frazzled. Plus, our teen probably wasn’t getting as much sleep as she needed. And teenagers need a lot of sleep.
Enter the school bus
In the early days, the school bus was a potential option, but it was terribly inconvenient.
Its route involved various pick-ups, including a detour into the city centre, before it finally journeyed to its destination. This wasn’t ideal and the cost seemed prohibitively high in view of the drawbacks.
Then, the service changed, so our small town became the penultimate stop before the onward bus journey to school. Even better, the service now departed at 08:00 from our local stop, so this looked like a much more attractive option altogether.
Try this at home
At the start of the new term, my lovely husband suggested we try the bus. It would enable me to spend a lot less time in the car (as well as less time in traffic), plus the cost of the termly bus pass would be counterbalanced by the saving in fuel.
He was right.
I cannot tell you how much less stressed and more happy I feel as a result of this change. I am now able to drop our daughter at the bus stop and be at my desk within about 20 minutes. The previous round-trip could take as much as an hour.
I’m sure that our teenager would much prefer to be driven (who wouldn’t?). But this arrangement is a common-sense, practical solution to a problem that did need to be solved. And, now that our teenager is heading towards her 16th birthday, I also remind myself of an old mantra:
Independence is not neglect.
It is clear to me that choices that were once convenient don’t always remain so. And that’s worth thinking about.
What change can you make through considering convenience?
Convenience can make a big impact if you want to simplify your life.
As Rubin suggests in the podcast episode, “Making something more convenient will make it more likely that you’ll follow through.”
So consider this:
- Is there a gym close to your place of work or home? You’ll be more likely to go, if you choose this option.
- Can you walk or cycle to your workplace to combine exercise and transport?
- Could you switch to a service provider that offers a late opening or a more local service, thus saving you precious time and resources?
Just try it!
Perhaps, like me, you’ll find a surprising amount of value (even beyond what you might have hoped for) through considering convenience in your daily choices.
And if you’ve made a convenient choice that has created more space in your life, please do share by replying below.
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