Monday, July 14, 2008

Guest Post: Working The Commute

This is a guest post from my pal Kimber at No Limits Ladies:

Madame X sounds lucky enough to be closer to the heart of her city. Me? When I work downtown, I have a two hour public transit each way. I'm in the 'burbs, baby.

That four hour daily commute is the price of wanting more space for the little cash the hubby and I allocated to housing. Other people groan when they hear about my commute. "How could you?" they ask. "Your time is worth more."

Well, it depends on what I'm doing with that time, doesn't it? If I am staring at the back of someone's head every morning, in some sort of sleepless coma, I might agree with them.

But I'm not. If I'm not sleeping (the number of people sleeping on the bus/subway at this exact moment is mind blowing), I'm reading or writing or working.

I prefer reading. Four hour of commuting means that I can finish at least one book a day (I speed read). I went to a Brian Tracy seminar and he said that if you read a book a week, you'd get the equivalent learning to a PhD in your field every year. True. My range of knowledge smokes my competition, not because I'm more intelligent (laughing hysterically), but because I read.

Being a writer, I also write (long hand, there is something very creative about it) and work on plotting. Oh, and characterization? I challenge any writer to sit on a packed bus for a half hour and not see an interesting personality she can use in her writing.

Work is another alternative but one to be explored with caution. My forte is new business development. Highly confidential information is not the kind of thing I should be looking at on the bus (we even use code words for our projects inside the office). I've overheard bosses discussing employees to be fired, investment bankers talking about companies about to merge, and enough bank account numbers with matching PIN's to finance a complete cash takeover of Coca-Cola. Be careful with your information.

These are only four alternatives. With PDA's, laptops, and phones, there are more. A long commute does not have to be a waste of time. It can be part of your wealth building and dream achieving plan.

Kimber Chin ( http://businessromance.com/ ) writes romance novels based in the business world. She also blogs at http://www.nolimitsladies.com/ . She DOES work on blog posts while taking the bus.

9 comments:

KS said...

have you looked into the kindle? my coworker has a long commute and loves to read, and she loves it. while it doesn't have the tactile feel of a book, its a greener approach to reading and actually cheaper if you use it often (most books are $9.99, even newly released hardbacks). i want one but have a feeling they're going to go down in price soon so i'm waiting!

unspending said...

I used to commute for three hours a day. Now I just walk or bike for 10-30 minutes. I don't envy your commute, but I do admire your ability to be productive during it. I have to ask though, how do you manage to not be in some sort of sleepless coma every morning?

SandyVoice said...

I don't drive, and I've always thought of my commute as part of my work day. I have an hour and a half trip with three changes on public transportation. There's half an hour sitting down in the middle of it, during which I review my preparation for work. It really helps me focus my mind on the upcoming tasks, so when I get there, I'm ready to go immediately. On my way home, I make notes about the day just past and start thinking about the next day. The commute is sometimes the most productive part of the day!

RacerX said...

nIce post, but even better point about maximising your time every day!

Anonymous said...

of course, some of us get motion sick if we try to read/write on a vehicle, so that's out...

Anonymous said...

i have a 2 to 2.5 hour roundtrip minute communte each and every day in LA traffic via car (no subways go to West LA)....wish I could do something productive with my time.

Kimber Chin said...

eBook readers are tempting.
I'm holding out for a not-as-dedicated device. Perhaps an eBook reader with a keyboard or one of those mini laptops.

About motion sickness,
books on tapes...
they are wonderful
and even better for lazy gals like myself.

kaitlin said...

If you can't read or write during your commute because of motion sickness or because you are driving, try podcasts. While maybe not directly related to your work, there are a lot of podcasts that I find very informative. I use my commute time (a relatively short 30 minute bus ride) as a time to catch the NPR programs that I don't catch on the radio. There are also a lot of science and economic podcasts that are full of great tidbits. I guess it is productive in the sense that it helps my trivia game....

Natalie said...

With a car commute or if you get motion sickness reading on a moving bus or train - you can try audio books or podcasts. I'm lucky enough to be a web developer and to have oodles of great podcasts dedicated to building great web sites and reviewing new technologies and coding languages. With web development, you really do have to run to keep up because things are advancing so quickly. I listed to web development podcasts in the car, and I'm often the first one at my office to know about new developments. Makes me look good.