At this stage of parenthood, I log a lot of car time. Dropping off at school, picking up from school. Waiting on rehearsals. And practices. And meetings.
Yup, a lot of time in car line. Or, as I like to call it, a planned traffic jam. And I don’t really like traffic jams; they tend to make me tense up and hulk out.
But I also don’t like wasting time, and very often the time I spend waiting in the car feels like just that—a giant waste. Which also makes me tense up and hulk out!
So I’ve decided to try to make the most of all this car time by putting it to work for me. I’m hoping that doing so will make me feel more productive and, in turn, less likely to turn into a rage monster in a mini-van.
Here is my list of top 10 things to do in car line (besides surf the smartphone):
1 • Schedule appointments.
I am always forgetting to set up appointments for myself and my children to see the eye doctor, allergist, and whole array of other doctors. But this forced down time is perfect for making a few quick calls.
2 • Catch up on correspondence.
Instead of calling a doctor, call a friend or family member. Actually talking on the phone can feel old-school these days, but it might be a nice pick-me-up for both parties involved, even if you just end up leaving a message.
That said, car line also makes a good time for catching up on texts or even—gasp—writing an old-fashioned letter!
3 • Make lists.
Grocery lists, to-do lists, ideas for gifts (especially around Christmas), household projects, whatever you have going on. Car line is a good time to brainstorm and get organized.
4 • Clean out your purse.
Most likely your purse is right beside you in the car. And most likely it has some wayward receipts and tissues and school papers and who knows what. Maybe your wallet is even in there somewhere!
5 • Drink water.
Bring along a water bottle and work on gulping down those recommended 8 glasses of water a day.
6 • Read.
I’m an English teacher, so I’m biased. But reading doesn’t just mean you have to drag War and Peace to the car line (though you could…). You could also explore recipes in a cookbook, brush up on a biography, or flip through a magazine to get ideas about DIY projects, home repair, decor, or fashion. There are plenty of hard-copy ways to get inspired and maybe even learn something new.
7 • Listen.
Find new music you like or revisit old musical loves. Listen to a podcast or book on tape. Phone app options abound, and there is always the possibility of dusting off some of those old CDs.
8 • Journal.
Keep a notebook in your car or purse and spend a few minutes jotting down some thoughts about your day. It doesn’t have to be deep or inspiring thoughts. In fact, during the times of my life when I’ve actually remembered to do this, it’s the normal everyday stuff that I find so interesting to go back and read about. The big stuff I tend to remember; the little everyday stuff, not so much.
9 • Pray.
Car line provides a forced break in the day when most likely it’s just you (or maybe you and handful of small children who are hopefully napping in the car). This break could be a good time to focus on lifting up prayer requests. You could make it time of general personal prayer or a time of prayer dedicated to a specific topic or two, maybe even a particular topic for each day of the week.
10 • Enjoy it.
This one is hard for me, I admit. I hear I’ll miss this stage of parenthood when it’s gone, so I’m trying hard to not to view all this waiting as being trapped inside a metal box like a caged animal.
Rather I’m trying to see it as an act of loving service that provides me a space in the day when I am forced to sit and just be still. And when I put it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad after all.
How do you use the time you spend waiting in the car?
Please comment below to share with us!