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Whether or not you move to a small town and work in the big city, commuting has become a standard of American living.    The average American spends about 30 minutes a day in the car going to and from work.  While there is no solution to the modern problems of traffic congestion, there are some ways to make your daily drive productive and enjoyable, whether it is to work or a weekly amenities run to a larger city.

Listen to books on tape. A lot of people, the authors included, have a big pile of books that they never make the time to read.  Use your car time to catch up on your reading.  It’s perfectly suited to commuting as it does not cause a distraction from driving, and allows you to multi-task.  You can buy these books on or other sites, or at your local bookstore, or even at many garage sales.

Learn a language.  There is a wide selection of language courses available on CD, that you can play in your car.  Again, this is the perfect car activity -- it does not distract you, but allows you to multi-task and focus your brain on the course materials.  This is fun for the entire family.  Have a goal to keep it challenging, like once everyone has mastered the language, you’ll go and use it at a foreign restaurant -- or better still, go to the country.

Listen to your favorite music.  At home, it is rare that you have time or solitude to listen to what you want to listen to.  In your car, however, you have nothing better to do.  Again, this is a great multi-task, since it does not distract your driving focus.  Carry your favorite Cds in your car and only play them when you are in your car.  Then you actually look forward to the times you get to drive somewhere.  If the family does not share musical interests, take turns listening to each person’s favorite song. 

Let the kids watch movies while driving.  These entertainment systems have become really cheap -- about $90 -- so there is no reason not to have a DVD player in the back seat.  At about 2 hours a movie, you will have no problems from the kids even on longer road trips.  Most portable DVD players come with earphone capability if the noise bothers you.

Dictate letters on a tape recorder.  This allows you to again multi-task, and solitude in your car is a great environment to do your best creating.  It doesn’t just have to be a letter, you can dictate business plans, whatever interests you or is due soon.

Talk on a headset on your cell phone, or speaker phone.  We would never recommend using your phone in bumper to bumper traffic -- it’s too much of a distraction.  But on the open highway on cruise control, it is a great way to catch up with people.  Frank carries a list of people and their phone numbers on a pad in his car, and rotates down the list to stay on top of everything. 



Stop periodically at places that interest you.  If you are into antiques, then stop at every antique store along the way.  Getting out and walking every so often makes you feel better and more alert.  You’ll actually look forward to driving so you can visit your favorite places along the way.

Carry along some healthy snacks that you really enjoy.  In Frank’s case that’s grapes.  Don’t carry unhealthy snacks.  We can guarantee that the bag of Nacho Doritos that you plan to only eat a few of will be gone by the time you arrive.

Don’t speed.  When you speed, you are constantly afraid and looking over your shoulder for the police.   This stress is not productive.  Further, if you get a ticket, the cost could buy you a ton of CDs, books on tape, etc.  That extra 5 or 10 miles per hour is only going to save you a small amount of time, but increases your stress geometrically.

If you follow these ideas, and tailor them for your taste, you will soon find that driving may be your favorite thing of the day.


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