10 Ways to Pass Time during a Traffic Jam

I live in the Washington, D.C. metro area and have to drive into the city and on the Beltway on a regular basis. So needless to say, I sit in a lot of traffic. It’s the way of the world, and I’ve begrudgingly accepted that. But today, while crawling along at an average speed of 15mph or so, I came up with this convenient list of 10 things you can do to while away the time. Here they are in no particular order: 

1. Learn to Harmonize— you’ve heard those same 15 songs about 300 times each by now, so practice those sweet harmonizing skills during the chorus. If you hit a wrong note, only the steering wheel will know. 

2. Practice your Ujjayi (yoga) breathing– those deep breaths in and out of your nose will help you relax and not swerve your car into your neighbor just to feel some motion under the wheels. 

3. Learn a new language– I’m personally a fan of French, but you’re spending hours and hours in your car… why not turn that into an opportunity to lean to flirt in Spanish, Italian or Russian, n’est pas? 

4. Plot out your next scene… or story… or novel… or epic fantasy trilogy– mystery monolith, Agatha Christy once said, “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” …. so why not do the same while staring at that blue Toyota’s bumper?

5. Work out tricky dialogue– when you’re alone in the car you can either yell at fellow commuters or work through the dialogue in the scene that has been plaguing your nightmares for weeks. No one will judge, or think you have multiple personality disorder if you flip from Cop A to Bad Guy B trying to find out where the dead body’s buried. Just try and remember the rhythm of the words when you’re back in front of your computer.

6. Come up with blog ideas– I may have thought this sucker up on I-295 today… but at least I was using my time wisely!

7. Listen to that book you’ve always wanted to read but never got to– I get it. Between the 60 hour workweek, family commitments and the newest releases on Netflix, there aren’t many minutes left to spare for that bestseller, or pulp novel or whatever it is you’ve wanted to read for ages. Whether you download it or do what I do and check out the CD’s from the library, put that book on and jam out to your favorite authors. It’s not just for the stodgy types! Listening to books has gotten me through some whopper jams. 

8. Try to motivate yourself to work out– also something I attempted to do on my drive home today. The balance is building up the motivation without psyching yourself out. The fact that I’m writing this post rather than Down Dogging may show how successful I actually was.

9. Bone up on current events– listening to podcasts or NPR (a personal favorite) is a way to skip the overbearing noise of network news but still keep up with the latest happenings. Besides, it gives your voice a break from that last chorus of Bohemian Rhapsody. 

10. Plan an epic dinner for friends and family– Since time is so limited, you can always dream up your perfect meal to invite your friends and/or family to. Like I said, time is short and traffic jams are long, why not think about that awesome souffle or chocolate mousse you could whip up (or order out)? 

Let me know what other ideas you all have had. I’d love to hear how you spend your travelling hours. 

Sometimes the afternoon drive can be great too, like this not so long ago day in D.C. — looking towards Virginia and the Arlington National Cemetery.  (Photo by moi!)

 


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