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Samantha McDonald

SmartCompany /

You’re caught in a traffic jam and late for an appointment. Stressing out won’t help, so let people know you’re stuck and sing, sing, sing.

Don’t worry, be happy

I was on my way home from the gym this morning when I got stuck behind a herd of trucks that were obviously out for a nice leisurely Sunday drive… except it wasn’t Sunday.

After about five minutes of frantically checking the dashboard clock, then my watch, then the clock again, and feeling my annoyance and stress levels rising, I started thinking about all the things I had to do, and all the people that were going to be put out because I was going to be late, and all the problems in the world that were now going to be even worse because of me (well, not quite, but you get the picture, right?).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely noticed a correlation between starting the day off stressed and finishing the day off stressed, with lots and lots of stress thrown about in between.

It’s like you have one thing that annoys you or goes wrong, and then everything else decides to get on top of you too, and you keep attracting this stuff that makes your day hell, and it keeps piling up, and you wonder why you ever bothered to get out of bed!

Anyway, back to being stuck behind the trucks. I knew that I had to get home quickly so I could be ready for a 9am client meeting, and I also knew that I wasn’t about to get anywhere fast at this rate! But what could I do? Seriously… what could I do? What real difference would getting uptight make, apart from setting me on the wrong path for the day?

Luckily, I have a few tricks up my sleeve when these things happen. Next time you get stuck in a traffic jam, or you’re running late for something, or the traffic is going at a snail’s pace, try these little tips:

  1. Pop in a CD. If you know you’re going to get caught in traffic, or you know that you have a long way to travel, how about popping a motivational CD or a CD book or even your favourite music CD in the player? You might as well spend your time learning something new or pepping yourself up for the day.
  1. Think things through. If there’s been a problem bothering you for a while and you haven’t found the time to work it out, now’s the time to get stuck into it. Perhaps have a little notebook with you at all times so you can jot down anything that comes to mind. Try to do it when you’re not driving though.
  1. Contact anyone affected by your lateness. We are lucky in this day and age to have mobile phones, so we can let people know if we’re going to be late. And, let’s face it, most people understand about traffic and other things beyond our control. Give them a quick call – hands free, of course – to let them know you’re on your way. You’ll usually hear them saying “Take your time” anyway.
  1. Sing along to the radio. Whether you have a great voice or a not-so-great voice, this can certainly relieve stress, or at the very least make you laugh at yourself. Singing at the top of your voice in your car can also invoke laughter in those sitting in cars on either side of you, so you could look at it as your good deed for the day, really!

 

To read other Samantha McDonald blogs, click here.

 

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