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Is your daily commute a killer? 8 ways to rev up the ride

Do you drive to work? And is your drive a drag?

In our microwave-fast, cyber-driven society, we do everything in a hurry. Zip, zap, and zoom! We hate to waste time. If anything takes us more than a moment or two, we quickly grow restless, or even impatient.

And yet we find ourselves stuck in gridlock traffic each day, as we make our way to and from our places of employment.

In the past, people used to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. For example, in Deerfield, Illinois, Half Day Road is so named because it used to be a six-hour carriage ride from the city of Chicago. Today, if you’re lucky, you can make the drive in less than 20 minutes.

Many commuters spend hours in their automobiles each day, tapping the gas and brake pedals in rhythm with the cars around them. How can you reduce stress, eliminate boredom, and use this time constructively? Here are a few ideas, in alphabetical order:

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1. Arrange your activities. As you creep along the expressway, take a mental inventory of your day. In the morning, you might plan out the projects you will need to address when you arrive at work. On your trip home, you might debrief and decompress before you pull in the driveway.

2. Buy or borrow audiobooks. Bookstores and libraries offer hundreds of these. Some are quite professionally done, with talented actors narrating. Why not work your way through a chapter or two of that book you have been meaning to read? Who knows? You might transform potential road rage into War and Peace. (A friend actually made his way through the entire Bible in one year of workday commuting.)

3. Carpool with a colleague. Why not pick up a friend or coworker for the trip to and from work? You can enjoy conversation on the way and save money on gas.

4. Dial a friend. How about using the commute time to return phone calls? (Many of us do our most efficient phone work in the car.) Hands-free phone-sets are available, for added safety. (These are actually required in many U.S. states.) Of course, text messaging while driving is a big no-no everywhere.

5. Enjoy the excursion! Spending time behind the wheel need not always be stressful. Taking your time and using this daily stretch for quiet moments, meditation, and prayer time, and personal relaxation can be a real bonus to you and those in your household.

6. Find public transportation. If a bus or train will take you easily to and from work, then this can be a convenient option. Monthly passes can spell significant savings over wear-and-tear on your automobile, plus gasoline and insurance costs. As a passenger, you can accomplish a lot of paperwork, reading, and electronic correspondence.

7. Get off the main roads. When you have extra time to do so, it can be quite stimulating to take a new route to or from work. Perhaps you have an errand to run, or you would like to check out real estate in another community. Taking new routes can be quite diverting !

8. Have a meal along the way. Meeting a contact for breakfast on the way to work or for supper on the way home, can break up the trip and make it much more enjoyable.

Commuting does not need to be a mindless road race each day. A little creativity can help you to survive the drive – and thrive.

Is your commute a killer? 8 ways to rev up the ride
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