Even with Highway 40 fully functional, rush hour traffic is not for the timid. Speeding, tailgating, lane changing without signaling – much less looking – is par for the course. It’s a messy situation that’s ripe with emotional clutter. How does a professional organizer deal with this kind of clutter?
I can’t control the volume of traffic or the crazy, devil-may-care driving techniques of the driver passing me on my right while talking on his cell-phone and drinking his coffee. But I can control my attitude and my actions.
1) I can research and plan a couple of alternate routes to my destination in case the drive becomes excessively bogged with traffic. Options are good to have.
2) I can carry a new street guide in case my sense of direction fails me. Safety nets are reassuring.
3) I can check the Traffic Center link on the Mid-Metro4 website (www.midmetro4.com) before I hit the road. Forewarned is forearmed.
4) I can group my errands by location so I can minimize the number of trips I have to make. Planning provides me with control over my time. Many of the merchants featured on the Mid-Metro4 website have special deals that can save me money too!
5) I can pad my travel time with ten to fifteen minutes. Arriving late is stressful. Arriving a few minutes early indulges me with some time to read. A good book is my constant companion.
6) I can drive vigilantly because my life is worth it. Need I say more?
7) I can fill my gas tank when the gauge dips to half-full; thus, eliminating running out of gas from my list of worries.
8) I can listen to motivational recordings or calming music. The traffic might be slow, but I can turbo-charge my attitude.
9) I can practice deep breathing when things get tense. Deeply inhaling through the nose and exhaling completely through the mouth ten times effectively distresses.
10) I can realize that we are all in this boat together. Whining changes nothing but it costs a lot in terms of the stress it imposes.
11) I can car-pool when appropriate. It’s the social way to be socially responsible. Even better: I can use Metro so I don’t have to deal with traffic!
12) I can adjust my activities to accommodate the increase in travel time. Maybe I can fix simpler meals that take less time to prepare. Hmm, less cooking time -- this might be a surprise benefit of the highway closing!
Through planning, vigilance and calming activities I can shift the focus from what I can’t control to what I can: my attitude and reaction to traffic. Chances are I will continue to encounter those drivers who seem to be on a mission to turn common courtesy into road kill, but I can be resolute to remain calm and emotionally clutter-free … and give those drivers a wide berth.