You settle into the driver’s seat after eight hours at a desk and prepare yourself for the rush hour commute. It’s stressful. You hate it, and maybe you avoid it at all costs. But if you’re one of the more than 280 million Americans who drive to work1, chances are there is no getting around traffic.
We spend an average of 38 hours a year in traffic.2 Think of what better things you could do each year than sit in a sea of red tail lights and watch your gas mileage drop as your arrival home is delayed. That is exactly what I have been doing the last few weeks.
Here is a list I’ve come up with of better ways you can utilize all the time you spend in traffic:
Learn a new language. There are plenty of audio sets available for learning languages. I used the CDs from my old French books.
“Read” a book. I hear a lot of people say they just can’t find the time to read. Why not take advantage of the hour you have each day driving to work? You can listen to an audio book. Alexis Reyes recommends Audible.
Listen to great music. We react psychologically to music. Having access to music you love to listen to can make a long commute better.
Stay informed. There are plenty of talk shows available for free on the radio. While I like to be entertained, I also like to stay informed of current events. A weekly commute is the perfect opportunity to catch up on national and world news. NPR is my preferred source.
Unwind and relax. Sound impossible? It’s cliché, but mind over matter really does work in this case. Negative emotions are just a waste of our energy. Play some relaxing or soothing music (classical is great for this), and every time you start to have a negative thought, stop yourself and visualize throwing the thought out.
Reflect and set goals. Sometimes we just need to shut off and partake in solitude.Think of what you can improve on, but also be kind to your self. Set a goal each morning, and recognize when you accomplish it.