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How We Can Claim Back 19,200 Hours of Our Life


How We Can Claim Back 19,200 Hours of Our Life

The Commute. That 30+ minutes that we spend in the car, on the train, the bus, or walking to the office, and back home again. That 30+ minutes of each day we’ll never get back, where we are stuck in traffic, waiting for the bus, the train, or waiting to get home to see our loved ones.

Did you know that the average person in America spends on average 1+ hours each day in commute, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In Canada, oddly enough it’s the same, with the longest commute being in Toronto, in excess of a half hour each way, as at 2011. I can’t see how that number would have reduced by any significance in the recent 6 years. Doing a quick calculation, 30 min x twice daily x 5 days a week x 4 weeks x 12 months x 40 years of our total career, that’s a whopping 19,200 hours of our life that we waste getting to and from work. Dude. That’s a little over 2 years that we spend purely on geographical transition from home to office and back.

That’s assuming that you work in close to your home too. Many of us, especially in consulting accept that travel is a regular part of our career. If you want to get anywhere in your career in consulting, travel is part of the deal. Granted, it’s completely necessary to spend this time commuting to and from the office. Not all of us are blessed to work from home.

Fun Fact: Here are the top 10 cities in the USA where the commute is the absolute worst.  Oddly enough, L.A. barely makes this list.

How Do You Spend Your Commute?

In this non-value added, yet completely necessary time, what do you do? How do you spend your commute? If you’re like most people, you’ll probably listen to the radio or music. One of my buddies at work regales me of a particular segment that he tunes into every morning. In this particular segment, people call into the radio station and share their most ridiculous second (and last) dates before they vote the guy off the dating island. It astounds me how most people are just so busy with their day to day lives. Yet every day for 1 hour they squander it listening to junk on the radio on their commute. Or worse, they’ll listen to the news.

Here’s the rub. Success leaves clues. Take a look at the highest achievers. Take a look at what the richest and most successful people on the planet do. They turn their commute into a virtual classroom. Instead of mindless radio shows, they listen to podcasts. Instead of music, they play audio-books for personal development. In my post “How We Got Role Models All Wrong,” I discussed that the most valuable asset in which you can invest is you!

Imagine what you can accomplish by adding this to your daily routine? If you make the assumption that the average audiobook is roughly 5 – 8 hours in length, that means you can polish off one entire book almost every week! That to me is a phenomenal transformation of an otherwise wasted hour on the road, each and every day.

Learning by Listening

While I love the textile sensations of a physical book, you can’t necessarily devour a book unless you’re commuting by train, bus, or carpool (where someone else is driving obviously).

Even then there is the potential for motion sickness with which you need to contend. So I discovered the magic of audiobooks. The other thing I love about audiobooks is that you can give your eyes a break. If you’re like me, by 5 pm you’ve likely spent at least 8 hours staring a computer screen. There are times when I go home that my eyes are literally sore. I don’t want to spend another hour straining to read tiny words in a moving vehicle.

The Best Place to Find Audiobooks

Audible and Amazon is the first place that I would go to buy an audiobook. They charge a $15 USD monthly fee, and you need to buy your audiobooks after that. But they even have celebrity narrators and Grammy award-winning audiobooks. Who knew this was even a thing? You can even listen to your audiobooks on Amazon’s devices like Kindle Fire, and their Kindle app. While it’s definitely one of the best quality options, it’s probably pricier than most.


I recently learnt about this one. Blinkist is a compilation of a wide variety of book summaries available for consumption on a tidy little smartphone app.

Each summary is about 15 – 18 minutes long.  They seem to do a really good job summarizing books. I find the summaries quite comprehensive. However, they are so jam packed with only the important points that if you mentally tune out (as I do occasionally), you can miss chapters’ worth of info. So I find that I frequently need to repeat the last 15 seconds multiple times in order to understand the point. All in all though, if you want a really efficient way to devour a whole whack of personal development books, you might want to try Blinkist.

Your Local Public Library

This one is an amazing recent discovery of mine. Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I set foot in my public library. Since Amazon and Chapters-Indigo (in Canada) came into existence, I started purchasing books. I love buying books. I could spend hours in the bookstore, perusing the newest additions, leafing through ones of interest, and admiring the beauty of cover designs. I love the look, and the feel of a new book in my hands. I love how the spine has never been broken, the corners perfectly sharp.

In the interest of saving money, however, I googled my local public library. I was amazed to discover how many of the books I always wanted to buy were available for borrowing. What’s more is that now humanity has progressed such that you can even download a few apps like Overdrive, Hoopla, and others and borrow digital content that way! Now, at the time of this writing, it seems that all of the audiobooks in which I am interested are all queued up. What I mean is that the library only has 4 digital copies available; there are at least 9 people ahead of me on the waitlist.

Whether or not I’ll actually be able to take advantage of these fabulous free content remains to be seen thus far. But hey, this is what you deal with you partake in free.  So, unless you’re willing to wait, maybe your wait-time is worth that extra $20 that you would pay to use those commercial audiobook services.

Some of the Books Currently on my Goodreads list:

10x by Grant Cardone

Ok. I gotta admit. I’m not the biggest fan of Grant Cardone. My husband and I don’t see eye to eye on this one. But you gotta give him credit for being a wildly successful guy. And as I said before, success leaves clues. So I’m going to read his book. It was recommended to me by my friend Frans, from my Mastermind group. Interestingly enough, he’s applied some of the strategies in Grant’s book, and his results are somewhat astounding.

One of Grant’s main messages about the 10X Rule is that if you 10X the amount of effort you put in your business, your results will follow suit. At the same time, we need to think big for big dreams to come to fruition. If we just think crazy big and just plainly outwork everyone, we’re sure to see success.

Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

I keep hearing about this book time and time again lately. Like The ONE Thing, it seems to be the on the ‘Go To’ book list of 2016. To contrast the clutter and magnitude of 10X, Essentialism focuses on identifying the most effective things amidst the complexity and confusion and executing only those things that are important. An interesting contrast to 10X, Essentialism elaborates on a sort of minimalism for business and life.

So Good they Can’t Ignore you by Cal Newport

This one my partner Perry recommended to me. Cal Newport also has a blog about following your passion. This book discusses why it’s great to have passions. But just because you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t mean that you can turn it into a career. Passions that become careers are, indeed, rare. Most passions, he says, are really just hobbies, like certain types of sports. Instead, he suggests building a “Craftsman career.”

What’s a Craftsman career and why is it more preferable? Feel free to discuss with me when you’re done the book. I’m curious to know your take on it. Huge thanks to for the awesome summary on this one!

First National Bank of Dad by David Owen

Sadly I haven’t been able to find this book in audio form anywhere. One of my friends Jimmie Jayes recommended this book to me. One of my favorite lines in this book is “Encouraging a nursery-schooler to save for college is like encouraging a fifty-year old to save for the colonization of Mars.” He’s absolutely right. How can we instill sound money habits in our young children? David Owen has a wealth of tried and true ways to share. I can’t wait to get into it.

Free Books, Courtesy of Microsoft

If you really want to geek out, try this one out. It came across my desk from one of my clients. Microsoft has a free ebook library where you can simply download anything you’d like to learn about Microsoft products, strategies and perspectives. I invite you to check it out. Click the link in the heading. It’s more that mere user guides and datasheets. Though I can’t call myself the biggest Microsoft groupie, I know that this might yank your chain. Never say no to free intelligence!


I don’t know if it’s just me, or if podcasts are becoming incredibly mainstream. The podcasts that attract you will undoubtedly depend on where your headspace is currently. My headspace is obviously to build a business, digital marketing, parenting, and building my dream life. If any of these topics speak out to you, here are my favorite podcasts:

Lewis Howes School of Greatness

In many of my posts, I refer to one episode or another of Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness.  Each week he interviews an inspiring person or delivers an inspiring message. What’s impressive about his podcast, is that he interviews really high profile people like Jesse Itzler (He’s gotta be one of the coolest people on the planet), Carrie Ann Moss, Rain Wilson, to name but a few.

It’s not only actors whom he interviews but people who have accomplished phenomenal feats in their lives. There are few mornings when I don’t start the day off with the epic introductory music of the School of Greatness podcast, and Lewis Howes disembodied voice accompanying me on my commute to the office.

Hal Elrod’s Achieve your Goals

Hal Elrod’s incredible story started out back in the day as an up and coming door to door salesman selling Cutco knives. In his first few years, he managed to set some unheard of sales records in the entire company. Nothing could stop him until one night he got into a car accident that left him in a state where doctors told him he would never walk again.

The magic about Hal Elrod is in his comeback. Not only did he prove his doctors wrong, but he went on to compete in ultra-marathons! He authored the Miracle Morning, an international bestseller, and now hosts the Achieve Your goals podcast. He interviews some very influential people who will undoubtedly inspire and challenge any one of us to relentlessly progress towards our goals.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

If you’re a history buff, this is one you’ll love. It was recommended to me by my friend Frankie. The cool thing about it is that Dan Carlin puts an interesting perspective on historical events. I also love how he organizes his content like a TV series.

Perry and Cat’s Inspired Parent Insights (Shameless plug)

We’ve been busy chatting away curating atypical and non-conventional parenting hacks and strategies in this month. Both Perry and I are parents (of different families, obviously). But we have this one thing in common: We’re both interested in grooming our children to greatness. As I wrote in my post “How to Create the Life that you Want in 2017“, my life’s purpose is to set up the best environment and guide my son to for optimal success in all areas of his future. Whatever field he chooses, I’m interested in equipping him with the tools to succeed.

We’re talking about topics like teaching smart money managing habits, entrepreneurship, compassion, EQ v. IQ, the impacts of fairytales on impressionable minds. We only got started but we have such amazing chats. I’m so excited for when it launches!

The Official ITsolopreneurs Podcast

And of course, my baby, the ITsolopreneurs Podcast (another shameless plug). There is so much insight that I want to share with you guys that blogging about it is only one avenue. My ITsolopreneurs podcast is first, a new medium for which you can catch my insights. As I said, so far they have only been available via reading here, and various other sites like, and Medium.

I get it. Some of us (myself included) want to give our eyes a break. In addition to this, I’ve lined up a bunch of very cool people with whom I’m chatting. Their insights in IT consulting and entrepreneurship are amazing to me. I can’t wait to introduce them to you. I’m sure there is so much that we can learn from them.

How to Even Listen to Podcasts?

If you’ve never tried listening to podcasts before, you just need to know one thing: It’s so simple. Instead of me explaining it to you, I found this extremely helpful and easy to follow link to help you. Set it up and start listening to stuff that would add to your life.

How to Download and Listen to Podcasts on Android and Iphone

There you have it. What are you waiting for? Stop squandering your commute. Start claiming back your 2 years!

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