Four tips to make your commute and driving time more productive and enjoyable

Traffic Jam Alert - prepare to be annoyed

Traffic jam alert

Most of us spend a lot of time in our cars or use public transit. I started a new job last week; my commute is two to three hours a day. If I sleep-over at girlfriend’s house it’s another 30-minutes drive to her home. Then we drive to the gym, run errands, etc.

I wondered about the best ways to maximize my commute time — my work commute alone consumes 20-percent of my waking hours!

Here’s what I’ve found helpful:
1. Listen to audio books and programs. My library lets me borrow 100 items at a time! I borrowed great books on CD such as: Good to Great by Collins, Authentic Happiness by Seligman, Advanced Selling by Tracy, Freakanomics by Levitt, and The Last Lecture by Pausch. As I speak with people, I naturally share interesting and helpful things — which I heard from the audio books — that are relevant to the conversation. Most of us wish we had more time to read; either to improve our expertise and knowledge, or just for the sheer joy of it. I find that driving while listening to books (on CD or mp3) helps me get my weekly dose of reading.

2. Review my mission and mantra. On my BlackBerry I have a note about my life’s mission and vision. It consists mostly of affirmations for my vision of the world — and the positive contribution that I am trying to make. I find it powerful to read it aloud. (I discourage you from reading your phone while in busy traffic. I sometimes glance at my phone when traffic has stopped.)

3. Eat on-the-go. In my trunk I keep a cooler that holds healthy foods in containers. I eat breakfast and other meals as I drive, so I can get on the highway earlier to get ahead of the morning-rush traffic.

4. Phone people (using a headset). With a headset, I can talk with both hands on the wheel. Someone told me that I shouldn’t talk while driving, even with a headset. I asked, “Do you not talk to your passengers when you drive?” I use common sense. If I’m on my handset when on the highway, sometimes I drive behind a tractor trailer in the slow lane while I maintain a safe following distance.

My commute is time that I can do these activities without distraction. It guarantees time to get some things done. Maybe my commute is a bit of a blessing.

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