Yep, that’s my drive. I’m usually in that 3rd lane from the left (right next to the double white line). I75/I85 Southbound, 9 Lanes wide, right through the heart of Atlanta. 50 minutes in the morning, 90 minutes on the way home.
I drive it.
“You poor sucker”, you say to yourself. I can honestly say I almost enjoy it, though that hasn’t always been the case.
When I first moved to Atlanta 5 1/2 years ago, I went absolutely crazy over the commute. I tried every possible alternative route. I timed various departure times. I tried rapid transit. I considered van pooling. I gritted my teeth. I stressed. I complained. Nothing changed.
Realizing I would never change the traffic in Atlanta, I had a decision to make. I was unwilling to move, as my family enjoyed…..
….being “out in the country” with 6 acres for our animals
….several thousand acres of woods around our house
….miles of empty walking trails
….a church 1 mile up the road that we loved
….family friends, and
….a wonderful life for my wife and daughter away from the city hustle.
When we moved to Atlanta in 2009, we made an intentional trade off to move out to the country and endure the commute. From a financial and family lifestyle perspective, it made perfect sense. I knew the commute was my tradeoff. Now, I was living the reality of that decision, and not enjoying it very much.
So, I had to find a way to change my attitude.
Enter: PODCASTS (screen shot of my phone – podcast icon circled in red)
What a wonderful technological development. I, like most, was unclear on what podcasts were all about. I took some time to figure it out, and have loved them ever since. Accessing podcasts is easy; just search for and install the podcast app on your phone, then use that to access the online library containing literally thousands of podcasts. Click on ones that sound interesting, and you’re on your way.
Below is the current list of my Top 9 podcasts (I have many more that wouldn’t fit on the screen shot).
I’ve probably listened to 40 different podcasts. As I listen, I find things that interest me, whittle down the list to my favorites and “subscribe”. “Subscribing” simply entails clicking on a button on that particular podcast, which results in every new podcast being automatically downloaded to your phone whenever a new recording is available. Most publish a new podcast weekly.
The beauty of podcasts is the breadth of topics available. Currently, likely driven by my new blog, my focus is on business, personal finance, with a few random/interesting/thought provoking shows mixed in. Over the past two years, I’ve listened to a mix of:
– Survival shows
– Ted Talks
– Self improvement shows
The list of available topics is, in reality, almost endless.
The thing I LOVE about podcasts is how it utilizes what was “dead” time in my life, and fills it with self education on topics of interest. I now “learn” for over 2 hours a day, which is probably comparable to some college students.
On any topic of my choosing.
* some podcasts contain short commercials in the audio as a means of generating a bit of revenue for the host, but they tend to be very short and related to the topic. MUCH more endurable than trying to listen to a radio with it’s endless stream of advertising. I haven’t listened to my radio in over 2 years.
If you’re interested in “continuing education” (and, shame on you if you’re not), consider Podcasts. Attend “Car College”, fill your time with thought provoking and educational commentary. Your “mindless” drive suddenly becomes an engaging, interesting and thought provoking exercise in knowledge growth. I’m not alone in this perspective. I’ve talked to others, and everyone I’ve talked to that’s tried them, love them.
How much have I learned about Personal Financial Planning via podcasts? It would be hard to quantify, but let’s say I’ve spent 2 hours a day, 5 days/week, for two years. Assume I listen to financial podcasts 70% of the time, deduct 25% for my business travel (tho I still listen to podcasts for ~30 minutes/day on the road), and throw in some vacation. By my math, over the past years, I’ve spent a total of….
504 HOURS, or 21 Days
….gaining personal education in this critical area. Perhaps I’m getting close to an MBA in my Car College Curriculum. Based on things I’ve learned while listening, I’ve made changes in my investments, developed a 5 year retirement plan, implemented cost saving ideas, had good discussions with my wife about podcast content, started this blog, etc. etc.
If you’ve never listened to a podcast, give it a try. It may just change your life (or at least your commute!).