Ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? Of course, you do. More often than not, the typical American family consists of two working parents and two children. According to the New York Times, from 1960 to 1980, the number of married women in the paid labor force nearly doubled, from 12 million 23 million. That trend has only accelerated in the past 30 years. It’s great to have a society of highly motivated career women. In addition, many of them are also raising a family. I know first hand, as my wife is one of them. Gone are the days when the woman raised the kids and the man focused on a career. In many households, there are two individuals with careers.
Dual income households have changed the dynamics of the family. Many of us are trying to figure out how to find the right balance. Between getting ready for work, getting the kids ready for school, going to work, coming home from work, picking up the kids from school, preparing dinner, helping with homework, working out at the gym, cleaning the house, doing the laundry AND enjoying quality time as a family, many of us are walking around exhausted! What if I told you there was a way to create some free time… Quality time to connect with your kids, to connect with your spouse, or to just decompress.
While many of us struggle day to day to find time to perform all these duties in addition to our responsibilities at our job, there is something we can do to create more quality time in our day and it is often overlooked.
It seems to me, now more than ever I hear about cases of “road rage” on the news. It now takes the average worker 26 minutes to travel to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the longest it’s been since the Census began tracking this data in 1980! Back then, the typical commute was only 21.7 minutes. The average American commute is now nearly 20 percent longer. Doing the math, that is 52 minutes a day, five days a week and roughly 49 weeks a year (an average 23 vacation, sick and holidays make up the rest according to the BLS). That is a little over 212 hours spent commuting, just getting to and from work. A full 50% of us are commuting far more than that.
There are many reasons for a long commute; your company may have moved, you may not be able to afford to live near your place of employment or you may be taking care of an elderly family member. But, for many of us, it was a choice.
If you are looking for a better work-life balance it may come down to choice. Either find a great company to work for near where you want to live or find a place to live near the company you work for. Life is full of choices. For many of us, we get caught up in the day to day drama of life and forget that we do often have choices. The internet has leveled the playing field and provided more options than ever for people to find their ideal situation. If you are trying to find a better balance and find more time for you and your family, explore ways to limit your commute. You may find you have more time, are less stressed and are generally happier.