Of all the discussion that I have about Black Friday, good deals are not the most widely discussed topic - it is the wait time on getting in the store, the crazy lineup, and the queues.
I tried to experience how hectic it is to shop during Black Friday. I waited in line for 4 hours to be the first 100 customers to get into the store outlet. I thought to myself – there must be a reason why these people are waiting in line for such a long hour. Perhaps the deals are really worth waiting for. The price of the goods is much lower. People are much happier to wait in line after seeing family and relatives at the dinner table.
All of this might be true to some people. However, that night, I felt more exhausted than the time when I need to crank some deadlines in my project. My energy was drained from so many people pushing each other grabbing for good deals. Besides that, the discount on those goods is more or less the same as regular seasonal sales.
From that day, I learn one fundamental principle about waiting in lines – all waiting in lines and queues, and other sardines like collections of individuals should be view as a squinty eye of skepticism. If many people simultaneously decided to waste their time by waiting in line to do something, there is a high chance that it is something not worth doing.
But you might argue that some things are worth lining up for. For instance, thousands of people around the world are going to Iceland to see the northern lights. Northern lights usually appear much more often during the winter season. Therefore, we only can travel to see the views of the north during peak season. The truth is – northern lights can be seen for a full 8 months, starting from August. You can also go to see the views of the north during the summer seasons. The travel industry just wants to keep that secret from you so you can pay a higher price and squeeze together with other humans to see it.
These all go to the power of marketing. Marketing causes crowds of people to sleep on a sidewalk and stand for hours in line to drop a hundred dollars, just to buy that Apple product. Marketing creates masses of people to want to go to a Black Friday Sales because it gives them good deals. Marketing creates crowds of fans to love Taylor Swift so they can go to her concert tour.
All this comes to a cost that we often didn’t realize – time.
We often wasted our time waiting in line for hours during our days. For instance, the 9-5 workday causes hordes of people to want to commute just before 9 and just after 5. Then, some of those people go to the gym around 6. They ended up waiting in line to use the treadmill.
How do you not wait in line if you are working at the same time as others?
The answer to that question is to do the exact opposite from the crowds to gain back more time, and money – by living off-peak.
“A peak life is lived off-peak.”
Think about it. You get a better view when you do things during off-peak. Lines are shorter. Electricity bills are cheaper. Finding peace and solitude also makes things easier to achieve. How about off-peak traveling? Doing grocery shop in the middle of the week? Going to the coffee shop in the middle of the day? You can not only get things done much faster but also enjoy the activity away from the crowd.
In this article, I want to share 3 ways on how I leverage off-peak to live a better, productive life.
1. If you can work from home, work from home on Monday, instead of Friday
A lot of company offers to work from home policy one time per week, especially tech companies. Most employees choose to work from home on Friday. Why? Because it is near the weekend.
I would suggest working from home on Monday because we often get lousy on Monday.
I feel everything runs slower on Monday. Most importantly, most people GO to work on Monday. It means more traffic during my commute hours. More people in the office increase more noise, and hard to stay focus in the open office. Therefore, working from home on Monday saves me an enormous amount of energy and time to not deal with heavy traffic, and help me stay focus on my task. Likewise, since a lot of people usually are work from home on Friday, traffic will be less hectic. The office is super quiet, and I can focus on my tasks.
2. Go to the gym during the middle of the day
Early and night workout tends to get all the glory - from sunrise selfie to midnight run.
We often hear a lot of stories on how regarding how great you will feel from working out in the morning. Numerous articles have shown that working out in the morning benefits your life and productivity - gives you more energy during the day. Most people work out at night because those are the time after work hours.
However, there is a short break during the day that you can incorporate your workout to be more productive in the afternoon. By working out during the day, you don’t have to get in line for the bench press, or squat rack because most people are working.
Working out at the mid-day also helps you boost your energy and help you stay awake in the afternoon.
Lunch break usually runs one or one and a half-hour. There is plenty of time to take those hours to go workout and eat lunch after. Studies shows that the optimal time for weight training to be 45-60 minutes, while cardio is approximately 30 minutes. By working out during the day, you can avoid peak times and helps boost productivity in the afternoon.
3. Traveling on an off-season
Going during the off-season can mean cheaper flights, hotels, and more authentic experience. You might be surprised by how locals are more receptive to a unique request.
Steer away from local school breaks or religious celebrations. Check the timing before significant local seasonal events. Head to places where they are not traditionally at their best. Take that time off during January instead of December.
If you can’t travel during an off-peak time, try visiting during the off-peak week. Tuesday and Wednesday usually have the cheapest airfares.
If you have to go during peak times, choose your itinerary on the day of the celebration. For instance, instead of booking a flight 3 days before Thanksgiving, you book a trip on the day of Thanksgiving. Since most people fly back to hometown before Thanksgiving Day, Flight tickets on that day are usually more affordable.
By doing this, you can get a better deal while also enjoy the same travel luxury as peak-season.
Off-peak life works perfectly for general working people. It can free up your time and decrease your budget in doing anything. Once this mindset is implemented, you realize you get more things done when you do the opposite from the crowd. You can easily rent a cheaper vacation home, going to grocery shops without waiting in line, and enjoy that sunrise in your favorite vacation place more peacefully. So, next time, when you see a flock of sheep going in your direction while you are walking, you might better off turn around and go the other way.