Avoid the Traffic Jam to Succeed


by Don Smith

All products and services featured on this site are independently selected by our authors and editors. If you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

I left work at 5:01 PM yesterday, a rarity for me. Pulling out of the parking lot, I realized I was stuck in a traffic jam, at least as bad as traffic gets in Springfield, Illinois. Raised in the country where the nearest neighbor lived a mile away, I hate traffic with a passion.

While I'm no stranger to long days, having worked 36 hours straight and 80 hours in 4 days (and yes I know that's an average of 20 hours a day), these days I don't work nearly that many hours. I don't usually stop working right at five though.

I long ago realized the importance of work-life balance, and make it a priority to spend time with my family, so please don't think I'm telling you to work your life away when reading this article. What I am suggesting is that you stop watching the clock.

White water rafting
Do Make Time for Family
Don's Family White Water Rafting

Go the Extra Mile and Avoid the Traffic Jam

It's incredible the difference in staying those extra few minutes makes. I can wrap up whatever I am working on, and enjoy a little bit of time without distractions. On top of that, I often have the opportunity to visit with a good friend, the owner of our company, before I leave. It's a good buffer time before I dive into home life with my five kids.

By the time I hit the parking lot, it's usually empty. The traffic is virtually non-existent, and I can buzz right home rather than getting frustrated as I attempt to pull out of our office. Without fighting everyone else on the road, I often arrive home only a few minutes later than I do when stuck in the 5:00 traffic jam.

It's probably important to note that I don't stay for many hours after the end of the workday either. If you're spending most of your life at work, your home life will suffer, and vice-versa.

A Different Mentality

Growing up, I had about an hour of chores feeding and watering animals before and after school every day; that's just what you did as a farm kid. I was done with my work when I got done with it, not when a clock had a certain number on it. Rain, snow, or shine, the animals had to be fed and watered, so you just learned to deal with it and get the job done no matter what.

On a farm, the job is done when it's done or when you can't physically go any longer

That mentality has served me well in business. It's why I don't watch the clock, and why I regularly get to visit with the owner who has the same mentality after hours. It's why I'm now the general manager of our company and will likely take it over soon.

Follow the Crowd, Get Stuck in the Traffic Jam

If you want to be like everyone else and get stuck in the traffic jam as you rush home from a job you hate as soon as the minute hand touches five, by all means, continue doing that.

If you want to enjoy your work and drive home a little more, stop watching the clock. You might find that you miss the traffic jam, get known as the person who goes the extra mile in your career, get to spend some time chatting with a friend, and still make it home at about the same time.

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

  1. I love your mindset Don. I figured out that when you go the extra mile, REALLY sowing with generosity and persistence, the reaping gets easier, the crops are bigger, and you have the freedom to miss the traffic jam.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Use the links below to navigate our picks for the best personal development books for each of the following topics. FinancesBusiness Relationships

Read More
Best Personal Development Books: 20 Books to Skyrocket Your Success

“They say such nice things about people at funerals that it makes me sad I am going to miss mine by just

Read More
What is the Tombstone Test?

Me and my wife enjoy seeing live stand up comedians perform in the NYC/NJ area. One of my thrills was seeing iconic

Read More
How Does the Wealthiest Comedian on Earth Teach You to Be Creative?

What makes you think you are right? Have you ever gotten into an argument with a person who believes they are always

Read More
Are You Sure About That?

What do you consider to be a failure? And do you know how to deal with failures? For me, failure is directly

Read More
How to Deal with Failures in Your life?

I am guessing that most people reading this have a good supply of books. And that every new personal development book that

Read More
Looking to Buy More Books?

I'm still an avid soccer player, although I'm well past my prime. One difference that has become obvious to me over the

Read More
In Soccer or Life, Take Your Shot!

I drove for 8 hours from North Carolina to Pennsylvania yesterday. An 18-wheeler drove by during a portion of our trip in

Read More
How Often Do You Clearly Hear Your Intuition?

Near the tail end of a 10 hour car ride yesterday I entered a tight curve with a large truck to my

Read More
How Did You Unwind Today?

A little while into the first meeting between Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, Warren pulled out his little black datebook and started

Read More
Coffee with God

You and I have learned the platitude when exploring a new idea: “What is the worst thing that can happen?' Ego chooses

Read More
What Is the Absolute Best Thing that Can Happen?

You've probably heard the advice go after your passion in life, do what you enjoy doing, and the money will follow. That

Read More
Why Following Your Passion May Be the Worst Advice You Ever Received
>