If you live in the Delta area, there's a good chance that you commute to a corporate job in a larger city such as Pleasanton, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, Silicon Valley or even Sacramento. While distance-wise, these cities aren't that far, with rush-hour traffic, it can be 1-2 hours each way – or more! When there's been a bad accident or other obstruction, traffic can move at an even slower snail's pace, or be stopped altogether.
Carpooling and mass transportation can help speed things up and help the environment. But that's not always feasible with our schedules, or mass transportation isn't easily available to us from where we live or work.
So you're stuck in your car alone, for hours on end, bored as anything, staring at a string of red taillights. How do you bide your time while you're on the road?
I queried my fellow local commuters on social media, who described several free or low-cost ways you can spend your time while driving and not go completely insane, get too distracted from obeying basic traffic laws, and, to paraphrase Jim Morrison, keeping your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel. Following are Cypress Self Storage's favorite tips for commuters who live in Oakley and Brentwood, California:
Listen to your favorite music
Music services like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Pandora allow you to build playlists to your liking. These can be free or a nominal monthly fee. Satellite radio stations also have hundreds music, talk, entertainment, news, sports, and comedy stations. For a small subscription fee, you can have all that at your fingertips and not have to worry about losing internet reception during your commute. You can also listen to good old fashioned terrestrial radio. If you carpool with others, make sure everyone in the car agrees to the same kind of music. And don't crank up the music so loud that, if you're traveling in stopped or very slow-moving traffic that the cars around you can hear your music or even the bass. (Bonus tip: Consider checking out Oakley's Very Own KLSN Radio.)
Sing to your favorite songs
If you aren't taking public transportation, sing along to your favorite music. There are even karaoke versions of many popular songs. Just make sure your windows are closed. And if you've never done karaoke, or heard your own voice without other vocals in the background, you may be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised. And even if your voice is less that desirable, who cares? If the people you carpool with are game for it, maybe do some carpool karaoke!
Catch up on your "reading"
If you don't have time to read books, listen to them on audiobooks on services such as Audible.com through Amazon. You can get 30 days of membership free, plus a book to get you started, and 1 credit a month after trial, good for any book regardless of price. You can also get access to original premium podcasts, ad-free and exclusively from Audible.
Listen to podcasts
Do a Google search for your favorite subjects or celebrities and you're likely to find a podcast on Audible, iTunes, Spotify, or directly from a website. To get the most out of the podcast, download it versus streaming it, as internet access may be spotty on your commute.
Take an online course or webinar that is lecture-based
(If there are videos you need to watch, watch them when you're not driving.) This can include learning a new language. As far as webinars, find those that will give you a slide/Powerpoint deck after the webinar or the following day. There are a lot of free and low-cost classes through Coursera, Udemy, Udacity and online colleges and universities. The knowledge you gain in those few hours a week could lead to a promotion at work, or a better job. Perhaps one in which you no longer have to commute.
Keep a cooler of healthy snacks like water, veggies, fruit, nuts, Go-gurt, and other nutritious noshes you can eat with your hands and not have to struggle too much with packaging while you're driving. You'll want to strike a balance so you can stave off your hunger so you're not ravenous when you finally get home, but not so much you spoil your appetite entirely.
Call your friends and family
There's an app that allows you to use your voice to communicate with people in real time. And it's already installed on your iOS or Android device. It's called a phone. Use your time to catch up with your friends and family. In the early morning, you can take that opportunity to call your retired East Coast friends. When using the phone, just be sure to do it via Bluetooth or gspeakerphone. Holding your phone is dangerous and illegal.
Hold or attend work-related conference calls
If you're able to, schedule conference calls with East Coast or international clients in the morning. As long as you don't have to take notes, view presentations, and/or have a great memory, this is a great way to optimize your time on the road.
And if you're on public transportation, don't talk to loudly, use foul language, or talk about anything too disgusting. I once had to endure overhearing a 20-minute conversation about a very graphic topic. Needless to say, by the time I got home, I wasn't hungry for dinner.
A Note on public transportation
If you take public transportation, your options are a bit wider - you can watch videos, TV shows or movies on your phone, computer or tablet, or you can read an old fashioned paper book. However, please be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. There has been an increased number of muggings on BART and at the stations. Make sure you don't fall asleep or you might wake up with your phone, laptop or other belongings taken away from you.
We love our community of Oakley, CA
At Cypress Self Storage, we love our local community and support our local community. We understand that many folks of who live in the greater Oakley area commute to work. We sincerely hope our tips today help make your commute more fun, and your overall day brighter! Want to learn more about our self storage facility starting construction very soon? Please do not hesitate to reach out to us, we would love to hear from you!