Stop Wasting Your Commute

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau the average commute time in America is 25.5 minutes.  Mine is higher than that coming in at 40 minutes each way.  That’s an hour and twenty minutes of my day spent sitting and accomplishing nothing more than listening to the radio or podcasts and making the occasional phone call.

Tom Corely’s “20 Things The Rich Do Everyday” got me to rethink my commute. As part of the list Corely notes “63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people”.  This simple statement got me thinking about how I could better use my commute.

I haven’t started listening to audiobooks yet but I have used the time to work on another of the habits that Corely shared: “80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this”.

My goal of creating this website and blog was realized after quietly thinking about it while commuting.  Now I spend some of this daily time thinking about blog topics.

So, how can you stop wasting your commute?  Turn off the radio.  I know that might sound shocking coming from a guy who makes his living in the radio industry but seriously, turn off the radio for part of your commute.

We have become a society of content consumers (radio, television, internet, etc.) but are lacking in creating our own content or thoughts.

The first thing I’d suggest you do during your now quiet commute time is pray.  Spend some time talking to God.  Don’t worry about saying the words out loud and looking crazy to the person stopped next to you at the stop light.  God knows what’s on your heart and mind.  Simply collecting your thoughts and lifting them up to God silently is all you need to do.

Another thing to do with your quiet time is to form your own opinions on current events.  We are bombarded with the opinions of other people (talk show hosts & talking heads) on a constant basis.

Many times we take those opinions on as our own without really giving them much thought as to how they relate to our lives and our faith.

My final suggestion would be to use the silence to reflect on your goals and how you can achieve them.

Don’t have any goals?  Now would be a really good time to think about what you’d like to accomplish in the next week, month, and year.

I’m starting to rediscover just how much you can get done if you have a goal in mind. From my own experience I can tell you that spending a little quiet time each day where you can just let your mind wander is very calming.  It’ll take your stress down a notch.

So go ahead.  Try it.  Turn off the radio for part of your commute.  Just remember to turn it back on.  I still have to support my family.

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This Season’s #1 Tech Gift

It’s getting close to Christmas and chances are you have a few people on your list that you’re just not sure about what to get them.  You might consider getting them what I consider to be 2013’s top tech gift.  It’s Chromecast from Google.

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Chromecast connects to your wifi and allows you to “cast” or “stream” content from your smartphone or Chrome browser to your television.    It is a USB powered dongle that plugs into the HDMI input on your tv.  It comes with cords to plug it into the wall or a USB jack on your television to supply it with power.  Set up is a breeze.  Plug it in and a screen will pop up and walk you through the process which takes only a matter of minutes.  It might take you longer to find where you wrote down your wifi password than to set up Chromecast.

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Once set up you can use a growing list of apps to send content to your television.  Currently, you can get content from Netflix, Pandora, Google Play Music, Google Movies, HBO Go, Hulu Plus and a few other sources with more to come.  It works with Android, iOS, and Windows so it more than likely supports all the devices and computers you already own.

We’ve had a Chromecast in our house for a couple of month’s and it has become a big hit.  I love it because it’s new, techie, and can play movies from the Chrome browser on our PC.  My kids like playing YouTube videos with it and my wife has used it to get caught up on TV shows by streaming them right from the show’s/network’s website.

Perhaps the biggest reason I think Chromecast is this season’s #1 tech gift is the price.  It’s only $35.  You can order it from Google or Amazon, or walk into any Best Buy, Wal-Mart, or Staples.

Do you have a Chromecast already?  What are your thoughts on it?  Do you agree that it’s this season’s #1 tech gift?

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Christmas Traditions

The most important thing about Christmas is the birth of Jesus.  To me, the second most important things are Christmas traditions.  You probably don’t have to think real hard to come up with a list of Christmas traditions from your childhood… many of which you continue now with your own family.  A few years ago a new Christmas tradition started in our house when my kids received an Elf on the Shelf from their Grandparents.

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Given the pictures I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter there’s a good chance you have an Elf visiting your house.  At the very least you know someone with their own elf.  Our kids named our elf Fred.  He’s a good elf.  He moves quietly around our house (when I remember to move him) and doesn’t cause much trouble.  My nieces’ elf has been known to raise a little ruckus.  Just this season he’s been caught shaving, tp’ing the Christmas tree, and taking Barbie out for a joyride in her convertible.  About the craziest thing Fred has done is rappel off our ceiling fan to hover over the dining room table.

Up until this year both our daughter’s believed in Fred’s magic.  Sadly, the oldest has caught on but her sister hasn’t.  This may be the last year for her.  Hopefully, we’ll get one more.  But trust me, even when they are both in on Fred’s (and my) little secret I’ll continue to move him around each night.  I’ll probably still be doing it when they’re in college and home on break.  They’ll roll their eyes and say, “Dad, we know you’re the one moving Fred.”  The next year if I didn’t do it they’d surely complain and want to know why Fred was missing or wasn’t moving around.

That’s the thing about some traditions.  You never really realize how much they mean to you until you notice they’re gone.  So, what Christmas traditions do you enjoy?

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