The Long Drive – ways to use peak hour

the long drive

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 JJJΒ 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.

Audio books

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?


Linking up with Kylie Purtell – Capturing Life and IBOT

23 thoughts on “The Long Drive – ways to use peak hour

  1. Renee Wilson says:

    Don’t worry, I’ve only listened to about two podcasts. I just don’t seem to have the time to listen. I only have a 20 minute drive to work, so I usually drive in silence and think. Great tips on making the most of the time.
    Renee Wilson recently posted…The thin scowl lineMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      There are times when it takes 90 minutes to get home, mostly if it rains. Unfortunately the train doesn’t work for me due to the morning drop off schedule but I do miss the people watching that comes with public transport.

  2. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says:

    Such great tips. I don’t drive but I do commute by train, so the webinars, audiobooks and silence would work for me. I don’t think the articulating my thoughts out loud would be such a great idea though! I am a huge fan of podcasts, I listen to them on my commute, when I’m out running or walking and even when I’m pottering around at home!
    Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid recently posted…8 Places to Eat in Downtown San FranciscoMy Profile

  3. Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum says:

    I don’t have a long drive to work anymore and the trip to school only takes about 5-10 minutes but I still can’t stand radio chit chat or endless ads, so I flick around until I find a radio station with a half decent song otherwise I resort to a CD because my ipod connector is broken πŸ™ There are a few podcasts that I really love like to listen to, usually while I’m doing chores around the house. #teamIBOT
    Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum recently posted…Living loving making baking | Groundhog DaysMy Profile

  4. Kaydence says:

    If I’m taking a long drive to work or to someplace else, I find silence works best for me! Especially if I know it’ll be a stressful day ahead of me… During the silent periods, I can easily practice mindfulness, allowing me to calm myself down and free myself from distracting thoughts and the likes…

    • Robyna says:

      I think next long car trip we will try to find some podcasts for the kids – something science based that we can all enjoy.

    • Robyna says:

      I find myself nodding along and saying things like “Oh wow, that’s so interesting” when I’m listening to podcasts, when I really should be more absorbed in the driving bit.

  5. Dawn says:

    Isn’t it funny how as a Mum, even a commute can feel like a nice little break? I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and podcasts myself and I’ve been a bit too lazy to update my Spotify playlists- might have to put that one on my to-do list. Enjoy your alone time and your return to the working world!
    Dawn recently posted…Photographing Happiness: Faceless PortraitMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      It’s such a great space to put me in the mood for work and then provide space to get back into the family zone on the way back.

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