5 Tips To Get You Through the Toughest Commute

 photo via madamenoire.com

As I sat fairly peacefully in my car on Friday evening, I reflected on my surroundings.  For about 7-8 minutes, my little Honda Accord and I calmly watched the old station wagon in front of us... Rectangular Villanova sticker on the bumper...a bunch of boxes in the back seat.  On our right side, a big Costco truck sat...while on the left, a young girl attempted to cruise slowly along, apply mascara, talk on her phone, and sip a can of diet coke at the same time.

We all were on different journey's but seemingly shared one commonality... our evening commute into the city.  ...Often called, the "reverse commute," describing those that live in the city, and work in the suburbs.  I have been a member of the "reverse commute club" for about 7 years now, and I must say, it doesn't get all that much easier, but it does get more tolerable if you administer a few different trips and tips that I've discovered along my slow .5 miles per hour commute through life. Preparing for anything, always makes the task at hand SEEM easier. :)\

1. Create a Demand Calendar:  Prep for your commute by entering specific dates into your phone calendar.  I, for example take a route home into South Philly, where all of the ball parks and stadiums are.  My Demand Calendar usually lists each Philadelphia home game for Baseball and Hockey .  These are the main sports I pay attention to. After realizing that many of those driving along side of me wore Flyer's Jersey's or Phillies' caps.  The light when off in my head!... I'm stuck in traffic with specific people that usually are not on the road at this time.  Now, when I know that its "game day" I plan to leave work 1/2 earlier or later, to avoid game attendees.  To the contrary, when I know that there is a holiday or day when the Philadelphia public schools are closed, I can expect a smoother commute, minus school buses and extra cars.

2.  Pack a Snack: Packing a snack and bottle of water is vital for any long commute.  You may not be hungry when you get in your ride, but 1/2 way through, your stomach will  probably start rumbling.  Have a mini bag of almonds, pretzels, or any of your favorite treats, to get you through.

3. Subscribe to AudioBooks: I am an avid reader, so this is one of my favorite things to do while on my long commute.  Audio Books is an online library that one would pay a monthly subscription too.  You then download the phone app and instantly have access to many titles of audio books.  I've "read" a zillion books from using this service.  It not only passes the time well, but I almost look forward to getting in my car so I can get back into my novel of the moment! It's relaxing and captures my attention until I reach my destination!

4. Make that call that you never seem to have time to make (HANDSFREE of COURSE!): I tend  to make calls to people in my life that deserve a lengthy convo. Considering I can't talk to people while on the job, and when I get home I really just want to shut my brain off and watch TV, I sometimes use my 1 hour plus time on the road to devote a conversation to them.  After chatting for even 1/2 hour I usually tend to feel better and not as stressed.  Talking to loved ones, laughing with a long distance girlfriend, or even getting a short conference call out of the way takes weight off of my shoulders, and I'm sure it will do the same for you!  My only disclaimer is, DO NOT fiddle hardcore with your phone while on the road... ie: texting, using your hands to hold the phone, etc. 

5. Do a Short Cut search:  I've taken my specific route so many times that I know exactly when to drive in the right lane, vs the left lane to avoid bumper to bumper traffic.  I know that if I dip off at a specific exit, I can bypass even more traffic by driving through a small town, loping around, and entering the highway again on the next exit.  This is extremely important, because it will save you so much time.  Although it may seem like everyone on the road is use to this commute.... this is not true.  Many folks, are like the sports team attendees.  They don't know the short cuts or roundabouts.  It is up to you to learn them, and outsmart those newbie drivers!  Pretty soon you'll have a system down and willl be able to avoid high traffic locations.

BONUS: Listen to your local news radio!  Being in Philadelphia I listen to KYW, which gives me traffic updates on the "twos".  ie: :02, :12, :22, :32, :42, :52 after every hour, every day ...the news tells you where the traffic jams, accidents, disabled vehicles, and/or contraction patches are.

Do you have a long commute?  If so, what are your tips on making the time go a bit more easy?


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