By ASEEM PURI
A close friend of mine told me recently that she comes to her office at six in the morning to avoid the traffic. Another smart advertising professional showed me how she often does her hair, nails and make-up while being stuck in traffic for two hours.
If you spend more than an hour commuting to work, then you have just lost three weeks of the year on the road. For some people, that’s more than the entire vacation time they will ever get. It is a complete and thorough waste, not to mention the enormous stress, pollution and endless waiting that can frustrate the most patient of humans.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are seven solutions you can implement immediately that can help you reclaim your life:
1. Meeting day
If you are in sales or you have to meet clients regularly, schedule one to two days where you conduct most of your meetings outside of the office. Inform your boss that you will leave straight to the client’s and then back home as there’s no need to head back to the office.
2. ‘Work from home’ day
If your work primarily involves e-mails, phone calls and your computer, have you considered doing it from home? Discuss with your entire team about you working from home.
Reason with the boss that the wasted two hours on the road are now at the service of work and hence, better for the company! You will be surprised at how productive you can become. It’s a practice adopted by many progressive companies in Asia, where traffic is becoming terrible.
3. Invest in high-quality Internet
Spend a little extra on high-quality Internet connection that is portable and that allows you to stay connected no matter where you are.
Once people understand that working from home does not mean delays in response, they will become more accepting of the solution.
Try using Skype for a meeting and see how it feels. Maybe it can replace some face-to-face meetings and still be as effective.
4. ‘Time away’ Friday
We always ignore the important for the urgent. Once in a month, why not pick a Friday where you and your team can go out to a nice place like a park or a museum to do a team activity or brainstorm on a topic?
Pick a location that is central and convenient for everyone.
5. Move to a smaller town
Ever worked in a city where the travel time between office and home is just 10 minutes? Look for the nicest small town where you can work and explore. Who knows, maybe you can walk to work and spend the extra hours with your kids and loved ones.
6. Upgrade the commute
Sometimes, we cannot avoid commuting completely. Ask yourself these questions: How can I make my commute pleasurable and enjoyable instead of a stressful experience? Is it worth upgrading to a better train or bus? Should I pay more to carpool or should I get a taxi one-way and public transportation the other way? Is it worth paying the extra cost for your peace of mind when you get to work?
7. Travel light
Often our bags, much like the past, weigh us down. What if you could leave your bag and its heavy content in office? Would it force you to get work done and travel light?
Not sure? Try it for a day and see how you feel. You might enjoy the lightness of not lugging things around across town.
Overall, commit to yourself that the days and weeks of your life are precious and are meant for your passions, your family and yourself.
Don’t lose them to something as inane as traffic. Commit to using at least one of the seven ways above to reduce, simplify or even eliminate traffic from your life.