Commuter Challenge: Time Wasted or Invested?

My current job is 33 miles away from my house.

In downtown Miami.

If you take the average of my two hours on the road each day, per week for the entire year, it’s a little over a month that I spend out on the road each year. Let me repeat: One. Month!! Ridiculous, right?

As you might be able to imagine, getting to and from work is EXHAUSTING. Hands down it takes at least one hour (let’s say an hour and a half), each way for me to travel those 33 miles. If you’re not from Miami, just picture this: sitting in your car, pretty much stopped on the highway, slowly inching your way mile by mile for those 60-90 minutes, and then eventually reaching your destination.

I leave my house most days around 6:30. I get on a bus between 6:35-7:10am, and end up reaching the office anywhere from 7:45-9:00am (on a good day, if there’s no accidents, of course).

There’s no room to complain about this view! Overlooking the bay from the 21st floor.

Now, before you start dissing the public transportation system, I’ve actually started to become very fond of it.

You have the freedom to do whatever you want. You don’t have to worry about anything- the jerk that’s tailing you, the guy on his phone, the semi-truck in the left lane. I will be the first one to say I love taking naps. And I can do that on my way home because I’m not driving! Do I nap? Yes, but honestly, not often.

It’s because I challenged myself to do more with my time. Especially since I am being gipped of my time by being on the road. I’m also out of school at the moment, so I can’t use that as an excuse anymore. And I promised myself after I graduated, I would do more things for me. With the time I spend on the bus, I always have a book on hand and/or my laptop. I actually started this article on one of my trips home. And guess what? I can listen to music at the same time while doing something productive!

For the 2 hours a day the average Miami commuter spends driving, they’re less likely to use those two hours doing something productive- and more likely to listen to to the radio, their “traffic jam” Spotify playlist, or whatever the heck people do when they drive (sadly, I’ve even seen people prop their cellphones on the dash to watch Netflix). It is FINE to listen to music, I’m not against it, clearly. Just putting it out there. Could you split your time between music and something else? Maybe an audiotape if you’re driving?

I’ll be the first to say that I love to relax. I love watching Netflix too and listening to music. There are some days where I am tired, and my brain is fried, and all I do is stare out the bus window and listen to some film scores from Hans Zimmer (look him up, you know him).

So we’re not all perfect. But if you’ve ever used the excuse (and yes, it is an excuse), “I don’t have the time,” start to do some re-evaluating. Examine and reorder your priorities. Maybe even ask yourself these questions:

“What do I want to do, but say I can’t?” This one’s easy, y’all. You’re the only one telling yourself “you can’t.” Just remember you are your own worst enemy.

“Am I over-extending myself at work?” You might be. Especially if you have others relying on you, you might feel pressured to work even away from work. The first thing you need to think about is your own health. If you dread going to work or feel like you can’t escape- you can. Trust me, people will take advantage of you if you always say yes!!

“Where do I want to be in 5 years? In 10? I know this is a typical interview question, but it really helps to establish your long and short term goals. If what you’re doing now isn’t helping you or will help you at all, do your best to get where you want. It won’t happen right away- but dreams don’t work unless you do.

All right, so the next moment you have some time on your hands, I hope I’ve encouraged you to at least think about how you can invest your time, and not waste it. TIME IS MONEY TOO. It might take a change in your mindset, and routine, but we all have the potential to do and learn some great things in this life. So let’s not waste it!

Thank you for reading!



Great books I’ve read on the bus: Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Richest Man in Babylon, Heads in Beds, In Order to Live, and Millenial Money.

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