7 Productive Things To Do While Sitting In Traffic

It’s midterm season and you’re in the throes of impending deadlines and assignments. Maybe you’re a commuter and you can’t wait to get home so you can dive into studying - there’s no time to waste. Or perhaps you had to head out for the weekend, maybe you had to go make a purchase, maybe there was someone you had to visit. No matter what circumstance you might be in, we’ve all had to endure the terrible LA traffic. Sitting in the backseat or even the passenger seat might mean that you have more leisure to do whatever you want - scroll through Instagram, curate your driving playlists, finish a Netflix binge. But as the (read: safe) driver, there’s little you can do while sitting in traffic. Hands-free driving and safe driving habits are important, but wasting your time on the 405 Freeway can make you feel really impatient. Instead, there are some productive things you can do while sitting in traffic that are still safe practices.  

  1. 1. Make a to-do list

    Especially with all the upcoming assignments and projects - as well as the tasks you have to complete outside of your academic life - it can be difficult to keep track of all the things you need to complete. As you’re staring at the back of some stranger’s bumper, run through a mental checklist of things you need to do. What have you done and what still needs to be done? How much of each task have you completed already? Running through this mental to-do list can give you a clearer idea of exactly what it is that you have to do - that is, once you get home.

  2. 2. Listen to an audiobook

    Completing readings for classes are extremely important, but as students, we often neglect these readings, dismissing them as insignificant or just unwilling to bear the boringness of a thick textbook. Buy or download an audiobook of your readings that you can listen to while you’re sitting in traffic. By the time you get home, you’ll have one thing checked off your list.

  3. 3. Listen to a podcast

    Podcasts can be both entertaining and informative. As you’re fighting to stay awake in the midst of traffic, listening to an interesting podcast can keep you up and help you learn some new facts.

  4. 4. Catch up on the news

    As college students struggle to keep up with their own busy schedules and projects, it can be difficult to also keep up with the news. Staying informed, although important, falls low in priority when students’ to-do lists just keep growing. Use your time in traffic to tune into a news station where you can keep up with our ever-changing society. 

  5. 5. Brainstorm ideas

    Projects like writing papers and group assignments are inevitable, but it can be hard to come up with ideas for your projects. While sitting in traffic, brainstorm some ideas that you could use. The emotion of the traffic - whether stressed or relaxed - might just inspire a stroke of genius. 

  6. 6. Think about your goals

    Thinking about the future is a frightening proposition, but as each day brings us closer to our graduation date, we should all take some time to ponder what our future goals are. Reflect on your day, on your previous experiences and think about what you hope to see in sight for your future. 

  7. 7. Practice your patience

    Patience is a virtue, and nowhere is that more true than on the freeway. Go easy on the car honk, take deep breaths and learn to practice your patience. 

While there are many perks of being an LA inhabitant, the inevitable traffic is definitely one of the drawbacks; it tests the height of your stress and soaks up your valuable time. Since it’s inevitable that we spend some time on the freeway, we should make use of those long hours and find some productive ways to spend them. Traffic is terrible, but with an iced coffee, a pack of gum and these tips, you’re all set!