Waiting in a traffic jam can be aggravating, especially when you thrive on productivity. However, time spent in horrible traffic conditions can become time well-spent, as long as you employ creative tactics to put every minute of your time to good use.
Listen to Audiobooks
Reading by listening to audiobooks is a rarely-explored leisure-time activity that is very well-suited to the rigors of a troublesome drive. Best of all, if you visit your local library, audiobooks are absolutely free.
Not satisfied with your limited selection? You can borrow audiobooks for a low monthly fee at the Amazon company Audible.com, download books for free via LibriVox, check them out through a clever rental program provided by Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores (whereby you essentially rent an audiobook, then return it later at one of any of the store’s 588 locations, which stretch across in 42 states), or simply borrow them for free from your local public library.
Although listening to a recorded book requires mild concentration, it quickly becomes a very entertaining activity, especially if you find a riveting book.
Create an Agenda
A highway-backup is a perfect place to create an agenda for the day or week ahead. All you need to get started is a cell phone and a message machine. Call your message machine and leave plans or reminders, which you can organize later.
Alternately, you can use a little digital voice recorder. Many of these devices will even upload your recorded content onto a P.C. Thus, while being online may not be feasible while driving, your time in the car can save you worry in the office nevertheless.
Enjoy a Nice Snack
If you ride the same route day after day, and find that traffic is routinely congested at the same spots, why not plan ahead by preparing a snack for the trip. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just a nice drink and easy-to-pack items like baby carrots, apple slices, crackers, or even a burrito.
The common perception of “meditation” is of a mystical activity involving a Buddhist monk sitting cross-legged on a mat in a scenic location. In reality, meditation can be enriching even in the most mundane contexts. Case in point: a traffic jam.
Buddhist masters emphasize the need to focus on what is most essential in the lives we live; to enjoy the fine art of breathing, for example. Why let everyday obstacles draw your attention away from the simple treasures of life?
Look around. A traffic jam is an opportune place to people-watch. People-watching, of course, can be just as entertaining as a television show.
Questions to ponder: What music is this person listening to? Where is he/or she going? What is this person’s family like? What could this person’s life be like in 10 years?
Billboards, bumper stickers, and even storefronts can be instructive and sufficiently amusing if you’re moving at a snail’s pace. However, rather than simply digesting their content, take a moment to analyze why they are designed as they are. What are the aims of the people who spend money on designing them? Are they intended to enrich the community, provoke discussion, or influence consumer behavior? How are effective are they in satisfying these purposes?
Be Generous With The Road
Who would suspect that waiting in traffic could be a character-building experience? The truth is that if you focus more on giving people the right of way than in cutting them off, you’ll soon find that life gets a tad easier. If generosity is not an innate characteristic of your personality, try switching your radio station to calm, relaxing music. Suddenly, the world may take on a new hue. Aggressive drivers will bother you little more than a swarm of exotic butterflies if you practice taking traffic in stride, and release your desire to dominate the road. If someone gives you the finger for driving too slow, just respond with a smile and a peace sign, realizing that you’ll both safely reach your destinations sooner or later regardless of traffic conditions.