Updated: October 15, 2020
People working in Metro Manila know how terrible the traffic in the city can be. It is frustrating. It is stressful.
You want to get home so badly. But you’re stuck on the road, and just inching along for several hours.
Why can’t the government solve this problem? You start to think. Every year, traffic seems to get worse. And it has already taken away so much precious time from me, which I could have otherwise spent productively.
Then you start to imagine all the things you would do if you could be home early. That meant more time with your family, extra time to pursue a hobby, or simply extra time to rest and sleep.
And yet, how soon after you’re home will you find yourself wasting time? How likely is it that, once you’re back in control, you will begin wasting your time?
Outside your control
Everyday traffic is not within your control. But it’s something you can always expect.
So don’t you think it is just a waste of your energy to be angry and frustrated about it? That instead of sitting there, complaining about how inefficient the city’s transport system is, you could otherwise find something more productive to do?
A friend checks and replies to emails on his smartphone during his bus ride home. Another one uses a couple of hours to plan her daily and weekly schedule.
Personally, I listen to podcasts. Sometimes, I call friends. Other times, I just listen to music and enjoy my time on the road.
Road traffic, lines at the bank, queues at the grocery, delayed flights at the airport — these are all outside your control. And it’s a wasteful use of energy to rage through them in frustration.
Within your control
When you’re finally home, control of your time shifts back to you. And you can now choose how to best use it. You can spend some quality time with your family, sit back and chat with your loved ones about your day.
You can work on a creative hobby, or perhaps continue writing that business plan you’ve been working on. Or you can wash off the day and have a relaxing cup of tea, before finally going to bed and sleep.
But if you’re most people I’ve met, that isn’t always the case, is it? Instead, you arrive home in a tired and grumpy mood. And continue complaining about the traffic to your family.
Sometimes, you would turn on the television and just lose yourself for several hours watching your favorite soap opera or TV series.
Or maybe, you’re the type who goes online and just mindlessly scrolls through your social media timeline until past midnight.
Something to remember
Our days are affected by things that we can and cannot control.
That accident on the road that added two hours to your time on the road — outside your control. The time you have at home — within your control.
The hours you spend at the office from Monday to Friday — outside your control — that belongs to your company, and you should work.
Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays — within your control — that belongs to you, and you can do whatever you want. But I hope you learn how to use it productively.
Let me end by sharing with you a quote from a Japanese entrepreneur, Kiyoshi Sagawa. He once said, “Earn enough money so you can afford to waste time.”
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