I initiated a new routine a few years ago. A routine that didn’t include running after buses first thing in the morning.
I used to do that all the time just to catch the bus that’s within my vision.
In my perspective, I was saving precious time. Made huge loads of sense to run after a bus for at least 200 meters when I can see it coming.
Rather than waiting around at the bus stop for the “I-dunno-when-the-next-bus-is-coming” bus.
However, what I didn’t realize was subconsciously, I was inviting stress into my life each day. All because I had to keep looking over my shoulder for over 400m once I’m out of the flat. I triggered one of my psychological defense mechanism - avoidance - to "escape" from being late, I created anxiety for myself.
To ensure I miss no busses within my visibility.
And it was due to the extra 15 minutes in bed — I chose at the spur of the moment.
How I Chased After My First Bus
It was pretty normal the first time I chased after my bus. I was thirteen years old back then. One day, I didn’t hear my alarm and woke up about 30 minutes later than I usually had.
I quickly changed into my uniform, skipped breakfast and rushed out of the flat in record 10 minutes flat.
I was petrified.
Being late means breaking one of the school rules. I would be punished and getting more than two strike marks was unthinkable, given that I was brought up to obey the rules.
I panicked at the thought of the unthinkables.
That panic urged me to sprint towards the bus stop the moment I left the flat. Due to the fact I run regularly, so I caught the normal bus at the same timing I usually would have taken.
The “success” from that first experience set the foundation for future “successes”.
And I saw that as the door of opportunity to play “catch-up”.
The Opportunities In Running After Busses
Gradually it became a habit. Not just after busses, I was running after trains and flights. When I moved to London, I dashed after tubes too.
I created additional stress for myself. Unknowingly.
Instead of following the plan within a stipulated time, sometimes I spent time on non-essential and even ad-hoc activities.
That ensued in unfortunate moments, when I have to chase after time to be in time for the next activity.
And so I formed this unhealthy habit of being in constant lookout mode. Flight mode. That triggers me to start running. And the ramifications of what’s going to happen if I don’t catch that bus.
Fact is, nothing really happens when I’m one bus late. There are no real threats.
My worry was lateness for an appointment. Perhaps late for work. That I’m not keeping my commitments and I don’t keep my word. And that paints me as someone untrustworthy.
I didn’t feel comfortable with that thought.
The other worry was the butterfly effect. Example, if there was a planned 2-hour activity and I was delayed by 15 minutes (because of that bus I could have caught), the next activity would also be affected.
And the following subsequent scheduled task.
That didn’t sit well with me.
Unseen Stress On My Body And Mind
It wasn’t just the act of running — it was my mind having to deal with those new thoughts and situations that I found myself in.
Because I had to handle those new situations and worries.
My body was forced to turn up the metabolism with a burst of energy.
And prepare to react. To run
The mind had to be vigilant.
Nonetheless, there was no real actual danger.
So the consequence was unnecessary psychological and physical wear-and-tear. When the body’s reactions don’t match the situation.
A simple action resulting in the formation of a repeated stressor.
No wonder I felt stressed most of the time. The constant cortisol injection to my mind and body with those daily worries built up.
Totally uncalled for.
The Threat Behind The Threat
If I had woke up on time and remained focused on the important tasks for the day. The “silent killer” wouldn’t get a chance to enter my life.
I wasn’t getting my priorities right.
Furthermore, I don’t want to become stupid. Apparently, stress response preempts motion and transports blood away from my head into my muscles.
And stress response also reduces my empathy and compassion towards others — thanks to my self-preservation instincts taking charge.
I take a step back to consider the 10–20 minutes saved from waiting for the next bus.
In exchange for the growing stress that’s affect my energy right at the start of the day.
My choice was pretty clear.
As an entrepreneur, I need to conserve my energy and focus on core activities in my business. To be clear-headed to make important business decisions.
Keeping out redundant stress sounds like a no-brainer.
To boost my productivity levels.
No more running after busses for me. I'm going to conserve my energy for the daily grind instead.
Do you have a habit of running after public transport?
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