9 Ways to Master Your Commute

The daily commute is an unavoidable part of life at least until the majority of cars are converted to autonomous and work flexibility becomes the norm.

All the traffic, sitting, and exhaust fumes can take a toll on our health. The effects have been well documented.

After spending over 500 hours per year in the car, I have settled in to a love/hate relationship with my commute. My daily slog has been nearly 100 miles round trip for the past three years. It sometimes brings me through three states and has taken as many as four hours one way! But I never let it get me down.

Below are some tactics on how to make the longest commutes productive and even relaxing. 

1. Automobile University. Zig Ziglar likes to refer to the idle time spent driving as "Automobile University" and says that three years of listening to content in your car can be the equivalent of two years of college education!

I love "reading" as many audio books as possible while driving. For me, it's usually something about self-improvement. Marshall Goldsmith, Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, and Jim Rohn are great mentors. From Udacity to iTunes U to Coursera, there is no shortage of great MOOC's out there.
Other learning options are sites like No Pay MBA and edX. Check out the Librivox site for free full audiobook versions of all the classics.

2. Follow Smart People. I will listen to any talks or podcasts which include my favorite smart people. Some of them include Neil Degrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, Ray Kurzweil, Malcolm Gladwell, Elon Musk, and Larry Page. 

3. Forward All Calls. By forwarding my desk phone to my cell phone, I never get to the office the next day with a ton of voicemail. If I need to take a call on the road, it usually last only a few minutes and saves me from playing phone tag. 

4. Voice Command. Voice activation technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Leverage the power of Siri, OK Google, or Dragon by creating lists, memos, or drafting emails. I will also check weather, traffic, sports scores, or the stock market.

5. Run Errands. Need to call your insurance company, haggle over a bill, or argue with customer support? Anytime I have a call to make where I will almost certainly be placed on hold or bounced around then I will usually save that call for the road and use a hands free headset.

6. Youtube (for listening only).  Traffic accidents from distracted driving are soaring! Youtube enables you to press play from a playlist and the entire list will autoplay so there is no need to look down at your phone. 

7. Don't Stress. Accept it as time to relax, collect your thoughts, or get lost in some good music. Studies show that our relationship to our stress has a larger impact on us than the stress itself.
Have a backup plan. Leave later, earlier, use an alternate route, or try an app like Waze that can give you a heads up about the traffic before you leave.

8. Appreciate the Scenery. I watch 747's landing and think about the Wright Brothers and their determination, ingenuity, and humble roots. I drive by skyscrapers and think about the financier, architect, and ironworker who made them a reality. Inspiration is everywhere if you know where to look.

When you're an optimist, even the traffic can't get you down!

9. The Small Stuff. As I pull up the driveway and turn off the car, the same thought is always present. Regardless of how tough my day or drive was, I always take a breath and remind myself that the people I'm about to see deserve my best energy.

What strategies have you used to survive a lengthy commute?


Unknown said…

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