How The Library Has Helped Me Eliminate A 48-Hour Commute

How The Library Has Helped Me Eliminate A 48-Hour Commute

If you’ve been a reader here for awhile, than you know that I’m currently working towards obtaining a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science (Update: Got it!). All this means is that I get the opportunity to learn the art of frugal living.

It’s no secret that most students do not produce an abundant supply of money, so cutting corners is an important skill set to obtain. One of the things I’ve done this semester is get rid of my apartment at school. While it was nice to be 1 mile from my classes, and served as a great time saver, I couldn’t justify spending $1000/month on rent and utilities for another year.

In order to cut a huge corner off my budget, I decided to exercise my right to commute. It turned out that I would be spending 48 hours per month commuting, for a total savings of $700 per month after factoring in gas and tolls. That’s a nice wad of cash, if I could somehow justify all those hours spent on the road.

There are plenty of things I could be doing with 48 hours, if I didn’t opt to use them for driving; such as exercising, working, reading, spending time with my friends and family, or studying more. It seemed daunting thinking about driving up and down the turnpike daily compared to anything fun that I usually do.

The answer came instantly and undeniably in the form of an image. All the various times that I listen to audio books, such as the gym, on a walk, or otherwise long drive would now be channeled into one time, and one time only. A university on wheels was born.

Harnessing the power of audio learning got me really excited. I quickly did the math, and it turned out that I would be able to listen to 48-64 audio tapes throughout the semester. This sounded great, but for a moment it seemed like I would be spending much of the saved money towards purchasing audio books.

Fortunately there was a simple, and free alternative. A new Friday morning ritual has been adopted, in which I take a trip to my local library to do some browsing. I was surprised to learn that there was such a wide variety to choose from. All my favorites were there, personal development, productivity, health, relationships and success. However, there were additional learning materials, as well as biographies and fiction audio books. Yes, it’s all free to borrow!

Since then, my commutes have been virtually eliminated. I’ve taken auditory learning, something I really love to do, and combined it with what could have been a mind-boggling task. My audio learning is now strictly reserved for my commute, so I actually look forward to driving.

Inside my ‘university on wheels’, exists an environment that is very conducive to learning. Few interruptions exist, other than an occasional phone call. I’m even able to capture great ideas, and brain storm interesting topics to write about.

Do you listen to audio tapes when you drive? Perhaps music to relax you or keep you awake?

Posted by in Productivity | September 19, 2007 | Digg | | Stumble | Print | 12 comments

  • Anna Kravtsov

    Camden County Library has an alrite selection.. u kno the coolest thing i noticed when i used to listen to audios and commute from school to home is that it makes the commute so much less stressful! cuz all those times you are stuck in traffic or pissed off cuz some old granny is driving too slowly in front of you and you cant merge out-they just dont bother you anymore when you’re wrapped up in a good book..

  • Alex Shalman

    Exactly, I agree. It takes focus off of arriving at the destination, and focuses you on the present.

    Wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Dan and Jennifer

    Great way to make excellent use of your commuting time – instead of letting it go completely to waste. Very cool! Oh, and free – very cool again. 🙂

  • Aaron Potts – Today is that Day

    Two thumbs up, Alex – way to make some seriously positive changes in your life all at once!

  • Lyman Reed

    Awesome, Alex… don’t you love it when you can integrate two improvements into one? I used to hit the library for audio tapes and CDs on a regular basis, and loved being able to listen to them on my commutes. While I’m using my iPod on my drives now, maybe it’s time I hit up my old hangout again and see what they have that’s new.

  • Jean Browman–Cheerful Monk

    Yes. I don’t commute, but the first thing I plan when going on a long trip is what audio books I will bring. Can’t imagine going on a car trip without them.

  • Peter @

    Yup…. HUGE fan of audiobooks.

  • Ash aka Biggs

    I should check my local library! Great point Alex!

  • Sleeping Dude

    Audiobooks is my number one commuting companion too. I find it helpful though to keep some kind of notebook, pda, or use mp3 player built-in dictophone to make notes. You don’t need those if you are reading a fantasy book (I do it too, otherwise I would never find time for those books), but if you’re learning, taking notes is important.

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