Bumper to bumper lines of traffic can sabotage your plans for the day-usually with no forewarning. Even when you’ve checked the latest traffic report, it’s likely that you don’t have an alternate route available anyway. The nation’s busiest cities experience the pitfalls of congestion and highway accidents every single day, often resulting in a number of stressed out commuters and travelers. If you’re a victim of the ‘stuck in traffic’ syndrome on a daily basis, here are eight productive things you can do to make the experience more manageable:
Write up your grocery list. You’ll have to do this at some time in the week anyway, and you can jot down a few thoughts and creative ideas for cooking up your next chef-style menu. If you’re a coupon saver, keep the coupon book in your car and pick out this week’s latest as you draw up your plan.
Learn a new map. Instead of Googling every single destination for your travels, why not learn about a neighborhood or area instead? Just pick up a glossy miniature map, and start studying! It’s easier than you think, and you’ll be able to use your new skills right away.
Memorize 10 key phrases in a foreign language. If you’re experiencing a daily traffic jam, be proactive and designate this time as your foreign language brush up. Japanese, Italian, Arabic-any difficult language can be mastered with small steps. A daily contribution will quickly add up and you’ll be fluent in no time.
Organize your glove compartment. Sort through those receipts, matchbooks, business cards, and miscellaneous items stocked in your small storage space. Clear out the old, and throw it into a plastic bag. Then you can start stocking it with some absolute necessities-the iPod has a new home!
Read the newspaper. Set aside just a few minutes each morning scanning through headlines and pull out the key sections of the paper. Take it along with you, and catch up on your necessary reading on the way to work. If you’re a digital newspaper subscriber, organize an RSS feed to deliver the headlines to your PDA and catch up on the buzz quickly and efficiently.
Draft up today’s to-do list. Making a checklist of projects and tasks is a great way to stay productive no matter what day of the week it is. The satisfaction of having completed a set of tasks will help you get more done; when you’ve got 5-10 minutes at hand, make this list and track your progress.
Organize your office. This can actually be done without you being there; just draw up a list of tasks that will help you rearrange and plan your office space. By the time you get there, you’ll have a plan of action ready in hand!
Call a friend. Ring up that person you keep forgetting to call back, or the one you had promised to get in touch in the near future. You’ll take your mind off the frustrations on the road, and can chit-chat away (as long as you’re not moving at high speeds, of course). Despite the circumstances during your daily traffic jam, it’s still possible to make the best use of your time. Instead of stressing about road conditions, plan ahead and arrive at your destination with a few positive outcomes.