Most people do not enjoy sitting in bottlenecked traffic on their commute to and from work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average US daily commute time is 25.4 minutes. However, rush hour traffic can double or triple that daily commute time. Since 1982, traffic in every U.S. city has increased and this gridlock has negatively affected over 16 million Americans with road rage issues. You may have a dream job in the city but don’t like the drive in to the office. There are several steps you can take to survive the daily commute to and from work.
See also: 5 Ways to Steal Back Time on Your Commute
1. Start with Technology
The first step to dealing with rush hour traffic is to research the best routes to and from work. If the route you are currently taking has heavy traffic during your commute time, you should check into alternate routes to take. Many of the highway routes are high-trafficked areas during regular commute times, so consider taking side roads. You will probably find traffic on these back roads as well, so it may take time to find the perfect route for your daily commute. Start by checking out Google Maps or MapQuest to figure out two or three alternate commute routes. Purchase a GPS navigation device like the Garmin or TomTom. If you’d rather utilize your mobile device, there are a variety of GPS navigation apps to use like Telenav or MapFactor.
2. Organize Your Morning
One way to survive your commute to work is to organize your morning. It is important to get up early enough to give yourself time to get ready in the morning. Leaving on time (and even a bit earlier than needed) will give you that extra time that traffic can take away from you. If you know you have given yourself ample time to arrive early to work, you will feel less stressed during the drive. Be sure to set your alarm clock or use one of the many available mobile alarm apps. Another cool option is to use a fitness wristband like the LarkLife Lark Band that not only monitors your daily diet and exercise, but also vibrates in the morning to noiselessly wake you up so you don’t also wake your partner with an alarm.
3. Maximize Your Personal Development
Once you’ve ascertained the perfect route to eliminate some of the rush hour traffic and have tweaked your morning routine, you can work on maximizing your personal development. Rather than getting worked up and irritated while sitting in traffic, take the time to refocus your perspective as you drive. For example, use the time to listen to audiobooks or podcasts that are great for personal and professional development. PickTheBrain.com has compiled a listing of the top ten self-improvement podcasts that are available for free. Obviously, you cannot take notes. However, you are gaining valuable information while refocusing your perspective and maximizing your time when stuck in traffic.
4. Maximize Your Efficiency
Another way to survive rush hour traffic is to maximize your efficiency by effectively planning out your day. Obviously, you need to focus on driving and the road in front of you. However, sitting in traffic is a perfect opportunity to simply brainstorm. Think about various projects and tasks awaiting you at the office. Prioritize in your mind which tasks are the most important so that you are properly focused and ready to start working as soon as you arrive. You can use a hands-free voice memo app like the Dictaphone which is available on iOS devices. Lifehacker has a list of the best voice recording apps for iOS devices. You can easily refer to these recordings throughout the day and even email them to others in your office.
5. Decide to Carpool
This may not be an option for everyone. However, if you live close to some of your coworkers, you can opt to save in both driving responsibilities and transportation costs. Depending on how many people you can find to carpool with, you may have a few days free from driving. When you’re not driving, you can use the time to talk or even catch up on work on your laptop or tablet. Driving with other people can become a pleasant distraction from having to sit in traffic.
Each individual needs to find the best way to handle rush hour traffic. What have you done to survive your daily commute without losing your mind?