My return to corporate work has also heralded a return to peak hour traffic. But with a different perspective. As a mum I cherish periods of time alone, no matter how that time presents itself.
Of course grid locked traffic is never ideal – particularly when the clock ticks steadily towards late. That’s stressful no matter how much you crave alone time. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened often.
Accidents aside, I have a fairly leisurely 45 minute ride in and out of work. And I treasure it.
Here’s how I get the most out of the traffic minutes:
Check the traffic first
I use Waze, a traffic app, to find the quickest way through the traffic and an indication of how long the trip is likely to be. I find it pretty accurate.
Avoid commercial radio
I have learned that I can stand the commercial stations for approximately 10.2 minutes. After that period, I can feel my IQ dipping. And the same songs repeating. I switched to ABC and JJJ for a little while. The hosts and talk back content was a hundred percent more interesting. The music a little more hit and miss. So I put the radio aside and found that things that work for me.
Enjoy the silence
There is something blissful about the opportunity for silence. A whole 45 minutes of it was hard to take at first. But when I need to centre myself, I find not filling the time with anything but wandering thought (and careful driving) is useful. It’s an opportunity to practice some deep breathing and calm myself.
I have finally discovered podcasts. Yes, you can hand me the last place wooden spoon now. The fact was I didn’t really have the time and space in my life prior to my peak hour drive. Now I am enjoying discovering new podcasts and being inspired each morning and entertained in the evening. I try to choose podcasts as they suit my mood and schedule them accordingly, prior to getting in the car. I put the phone on the back seat to ensure that I don’t check it – there’s always that temptation. My car has Bluetooth but if yours doesn’t, just use a portable Bluetooth speaker in the car.
For those webinars where the content is primarily audio, I find listening to them as I would a podcast helpful. It’s a good way to educate myself in my field in a time efficient way. For most of the webinars I attend, the visuals are just power point representations of what’s being said so I don’t need to view it.
Another great way to pass the time is by listening to audio books. You can actually borrow them from your local qld library using a variety of apps.
Planning and writing
Sometimes I will use silence just to be. Sometimes I will use it to plan and write. I have never found a dictation app that’s really worked for me but I find articulating my thoughts solidifies them. So I will speak my ideas and thoughts. That act of talking seems to pin the inspiration down. If I just think it, it’s slippery and I don’t always remember. When I say it, it consolidates my memory. Then I can recall and write fluently when I get home.
Rather than using the radio, I created a playlist of perfect songs for morning motivation and evening feels. No ads. No IQ dips. No meaningless banter. Just me and the tunes. And the occasional sing along.
How do you pass the peak hour traffic?