Commuting Sucks. Smart People Don’t Do it.

Back when I was at GCR, my lease ended I moved back home from downtown to “save money”. While it was nice not having to pay rent, the commute to work every day was killer. The 36 mile drive would take anywhere from 45 – 90 minutes depending on traffic. It sucked but compared to some in the DMV area, this may seem like a reasonable amount of time to spend in the car.

The truth is that any type of commute is absolutely batshit crazy.

I did this for three months and here’s what the math looks like:

1 hour x 2 ways x 5 days x 12 weeks = 120 hours
120 hours / 24 (hours) = 5 days wasted commuting

Take the time for a second and do your own math. How much time are you wasting on your commute?

There are three major suck factors when you commute.

  • 1.) Time Suck
  • 2.) Money Suck
  • 3.) Mental Suck

How much is your time worth?

Now my drive to work takes 15 minutes at the most. There is nothing like the feeling of getting off work at 4:00 and walking in my front door at 4:15. The amount of time that I was able to free up by eliminating my commute has allowed me to work on numerous other projects and do things that I love.

I work a variety of freelance projects now with a minimum rate of $50 per hour. If I took all of the time that I used to spend in the car and instead spent it freelancing, I would be $6,000 richer. You’re actually losing out on a tremendous amount of time and potential earnings by commuting.

The money suck.

Commuting is expensive due to the cost of driving and time lost. The government allowance for miles driven is 55 cents. So let’s say it costs you 40 cents per mile and you commute 15 miles each way.

15 miles x 2 trips x .40 cents x 5 days x 52 weeks = $3,120.

Note that doesn’t include depreciation, maintenance, tolls, parking or the fact that you risk your life every time you get behind the wheel. Using the above equation, you can determine that for every single mile between you and work, it costs $208 dollars per year or $17.33 per month. Worse if you drive an SUV.

Take $17.33 x the number of miles you life from your job = commute cost

Mr. Money Mustache breaks down the true cost of commuting in his post.

The mental suck.

Rarely do I ever get angry, but the Ravens performing poorly and traffic seem to be able to bring it out of me in a way that nothing else can. There is nothing more mentally draining than being stuck in the car, waiting to get to work. This feeling can be amplified times 1,000 if you hate your job.

If you’re commuting a long way to the office, you’re already tired by the time you get in and any energy that you did have is usually gone. When you head home for the day, it’s even worse depending on how work went. You’re lazy, tired and depressed that you have to do the whole thing over again.

When I first got to Charleston, I realized how much of an impact my drive to work really had on my mental state. My job was great, but it truly made me miserable at times and partially depressed. As entrepreneurs we have to utilize every second possible and it’s just not feasible to try and run a business (on top of working) when you’re spending so much time in the car.

If you commute sucks you have three options.

  1. Move closer
  2. Find a new job
  3. Start a business

You can create a business to support your lifestyle, travel the world and run it from your laptop. It just takes work. I’m building a new project now and also working on a guide to help you start your own.

Can’t wait to share it all with you. For early access get on my email list.

Disclaimer: The math on some of the above calculations might be wrong, but you get the idea. I failed statistics a few times during college.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phaxel Phil Haxel

    Great Post. In Northern Virginia there is a actually a trend where ex-suburbanites are moving closer to the city to avoid the long and stressful commute. Living in Arlington and coming back to the suburbs of Baltimore, I am amazed that every activity involved driving a car, including going to the bar! Not everybody is a city person, but living close to your place of work makes life much simpler.