It always perplexes me why everybody tries to get off of work at 5pm. Traffic is backed up and tempers flare for those looking to escape San Francisco. It could literally take 30 minutes just to get onto the Bay Bridge at 5pm. Meanwhile, if you left at 4pm or stayed a little later until 6:30pm, your 1 hour commute might take just 25 minutes and you’ll be much less stressed in the process!
The same thing goes for the morning commute. If you try and get on my bus at 7:30am, it’s a disaster since everybody tries to get to work by 8am. Bus after bus will pass me by unless I walk at least 4 blocks closer to the beginning of the line to beat the crowds. After some trial and error, I decided that just taking a bus 12 minutes earlier at 7:18am always guaranteed me a seat and never a butt in the face!
Given that the easiest way to get paid and promoted is to come into work before everyone else, and if possible, also leave after everyone else, your morning and evening commute is all the more important. In fact, a desire for a financially better life will actually make you less stressed and more productive because you are coming in earlier and/or leaving later when there’s no traffic! What a pleasant combo.
UNDERSTANDING WHY WE RUN IN HERDS
Getting on my bus 12 minutes earlier guarantees an on-time delivery with a seat every single time. If that’s the case, why would you ever get on a later bus that risks making you late 50% of the time and ruining your career and pay in the process? The answer is that we like “big butts in our face and we cannot lie“!
Sir Mix A-lot has a lot of truth to his lyrics. Because we are tempted by big booties, we enjoy squeezing onto massively crowded buses in hopes that some amazingly attractive person will do a little lap dance on you while you’re trying to read your smartphone!
Here are some main reasons:
* We lack discipline. For the life of me, I couldn’t get up at 7:30am in college to get to Calculus class. You know what I did as a result? I dropped the class and said, Screw It! I don’t need Calculus to do my groceries or calculate the profitability of a company! It was the truth, but the real truth was that I lacked discipline and found an excuse, no matter how right I was.
* It feels more comfortable. When you see a stampede of people running towards you, your instinct is to first look beyond them to see what’s chasing, then look back, and start running with them! Nobody wants to be the one fool left facing Darth Vader. And if it’s more likely a grizzly bear chasing after you, then all you have to do is outrun the next closest person. It’s a natural instinct to run in packs, just look at Jacob in Twilight or the fishies on the Nature Channel as they school together in shark-infested waters.
* We are zombies and don’t know better. If all you’ve ever been taught growing up is to study hard, go to college, and be a doctor as the only way lead a financially stable life, that’s what you’re going to do. When you finally become the anesthesiologist at 33 years old making $250,000 a year, you’ll be shocked to realize that any strategy consultant, banker, venture capitalist, and software salesperson with 11 years of experience blows your income out of the water! You then look at all your medical school debt and silent say, WTF mom! It behooves us to learn what else is out there, and if there is a better way of doing something before taking on a project. Chances are, there’s always a better way. It just may not be the easiest way.
* There’s a creativity void for a challenge. Living on the West Coast, I enjoy the challenge of trying to wake up before my brothers and sisters on the East Coast and go to bed after as well. Hence, I’ll try and push myself to wake up a couple days at 4am on the weekdays, and 5am on weekends to get things done and beat the rush. Just going to bed at midnight is late enough where 99% of the East Coast is sleeping by 3am EST. Waking up at 4am or 5am is not as bad as it sounds! Give it a try one day and take a 30 minute nap in the afternoon. You might just love it!
THE BEST TIME TO WORK IS WHEN OTHERS ARE NOT WORKING
Pretty simple, isn’t it? Working during the holidays is like a pigeon finding a loaf of bread in St. Mark’s square with no other pigeons to share with. I couldn’t believe just by sending out three e-mails, I was able to secure online revenue on Thanksgiving Day! Nobody works on Thanksgiving Day right? Well yes, practically nobody in America works on Thanksgiving Day, which is why I decided to give it a shot. I e-mailed loose ends and old clientele in the UK and Australia who are working and sealed a deal. Total time spent, about 45 minutes from 5:15am until 6:00am.
The chances of me making any outside income beyond the norm was likely 0-15% if I had not made a decision to work on Thanksgiving. I knew if I just tried, there is someone somewhere out there in a land of 7 billion people who would happily do a deal. Money doesn’t fall from the sky, no matter how much we hope.
You don’t have to always be zigging when other people are zagging. I would just strongly recommend you mix things up every once in a while to see for yourself. If you normally come to work at 8am, try coming in at 7:30am and see how things go. If you normally post Monday, Wednesday, Friday, try posting Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and capture the less content-producing weekends. If you like beautiful slender women or sculpted tan men, try a mysteriously voluptuous woman or doughy pasty man. You might very well have tons more luck thanks to tons less competition, and be much happier with much better results because of it!
Readers, do you have examples of things you do that go against the herd? Why do you think more people aren’t willing to do things a little differently?
Do you feel it’s best to compete during high season when everyone else is also competing due to more demand? Or is it better to compete when demand is lower, but so is the competition? What are the pros and cons?
Photo: Morning Pigeons, St. Mark’s Square, Sam.
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