Make traffic your jam by using your drive time to your advantage.
Traffic in Seattle is a drag, no doubt about it.
But there are ways to quell your angst and rage. Leverage your commute time in powerful ways. And now that the distracted-driving law is in effect, it’s time to put down your device and devise a better way to use your commute. It can often be found time in an otherwise busy day.
Present yourself. You may not want to be present to the traffic jam you’re in, but listening to an Eckhart Tolle or similar book can help center you for the workday. And if that doesn’t work, you’ll be sufficiently distracted by his unique accent.
Podcast intelligently. Before you take to the road, cue up a smart podcast for your drive. Check out Entrepreneur on Fire (a daily podcast by John Lee Dumas), the HBR Ideacast (a weekly podcast from the Harvard Business Review), or The $100 MBA (a daily podcast that offers lessons on business, marketing, tech and more).
Run down your to-do list. Get a jump on your morning by thinking about your to-do list, both immediate concerns as well as longer-term projects. Come up with three things you want to accomplish before lunch.
Create a mantra. Is there a phrase that centers you or helps you keep things in perspective? Breathe in and out slowly and repeat your mantra. You’ll arrive at the office calm and centered, despite the backup on I-405.
Plan a vacation. Preferably one without road congestion. Work and traffic might be bringing you down, but planning the details of your next holiday in Reykjavik can lift you up where you belong.
Rehearse. Get your talking points in order. Whether it’s an important presentation or just a one-on-one with an employee or client, practice aloud and refine your key messaging.
Call your mentor or mentee. Use your hands-free device to check in with an aspirational figure to start or end your day on a high note. Think about a professional challenge that you can parse out with your mentor, or ask your mentee if they have any issues they’d like to discuss.
Keep your mind sharp. Expand your mind with podcasts like “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” or “Stuff Your Should Know,” or brush up on a foreign language with one of the many podcasts available for download. Try Radio Lingua if you want to improve your French, Spanish or German.
These self-improvement tactics may not make your commute go any faster, but they could certainly speed up your career.