Yes it’s very true that’s it’s been ages, in fact centuries, that I last wrote anything. You could say it was due to the most recent train of events in the last few months: my final year exams and research project, graduation from the university, getting a demanding job etc. But to be honest, I’ve just been plain laid back towards writing. But I determine to change all that from now and commit myself to consistently writing and posting new articles and tweets for #Reflexions.
Traffic jams can be very unproductive.
Economic experts, referring to the city of Lagos, say that the business community therein loses at least N11 billion monthly as a result of daily traffic gridlock. Also, according to Wole Sowunmi, an economist, research has shown that the more time people spend in traffic jams, the more money is lost in business transactions that they would have made in the time they spend commuting to work. This has negative consequences both for the states economy and the nations at large.
You see, aside from the economic ramifications of lost time in traffic, it can be pretty frustrating, to sit in a single place for two hours or more long, staring at the moving vehicles outside on the road as they all form a pattern of moving and stopping, going three or four feet at a time, repeating the process again and again. People react to this circumstance in diverse ways. Some get tired of the boring sight happening outside their windows and put their heads down to doze off to sleep. Others use the time to meditate about their lives. Some others spend minutes talking on the phone with God knows who, I wonder where they get airtime to talk as if it is midnight call, not like its my business.
After about three weeks working quite a distance from home, I have come to have firsthand experience of the hectic traffic situation in Lagos. I even went ahead to follow @Gidi_Traffic, an account which I had usually snubbed on my twitter timeline previously. Before the advent of my graduation from school, I pledged to myself not to live and work in Lagos after service. That desire is being reinforced every day I sit in traffic. Lagos traffic is a real problem staring in us the face as Ebola did in Nigeria a year ago. So now I have accepted the reality. I wouldn’t quit my job just because of traffic and until I find an alternative place to stay, I’ll just have to cope with this. So I started to think of ways to manage this transportation crisis. I can’t do anything about the traffic after I get into it (not like I’ll jump out of the vehicle and Wear a LASTMA uniform and go superman on the road or board a flying car which doesn’t exist in the real world anyway but in science fiction movies), traffic jams are out of my circle of influence, such are in my circle of concern. What I can however control is how I react to being in the traffic jam. So I decided to use my time in whatever traffic jam I find myself as productively and leisurely as I could. I did a bit of study and found out these strategies for coping with traffic jams. You could adopt any depending on the context of your affect, driving situation and priorities.
1. Read that book: often times we wished that we had more time on our hands to spend some time reading that book purchased from the bookstore last year. It’s almost a year now all that you’ve been able to cover is the preface. Why don’t you use that time you’re using to nod your head here and there to go over a few pages before arrival at your destination? You’ll gain a lot more from assimilating knowledge than ‘shutting your eyes for a while’. Whether it’s a hard copy book or an eBook, dedicate yourself to maximizing time by consuming relevant knowledge. Reading a great novel isn’t a bad idea too.
2. Brainstorm: probably there’s a project or idea that you need to develop and submit a report on the next day, you could use that time also to bring out your phone, open the note pad application and think through the ups and downs of the project. The best ideas often come in the weirdest of situations (e.g. Aristotle solved his questions in the bath tub). Also you could write your to-do list for the day’s work.
3. Listen to an audio tape: engaging your auditory senses to learn something new or useful towards your personal development is not a bad idea. Turn your time in the traffic jam to a university on wheels.
4. Watch a movie: This is more on the leisurely side of time use. It’s what I do after a long day of meeting deadlines and a long list of To-do’s marked off my list. Other leisurely activities that I engage in are music listening and Internet browsing.
5. Writing : you could bring out your notepad (hard or soft) and begin to pen down your creative thoughts and form them into stories or riveting articles, hopefully like the one your fixated on right now. ;)
6. Take a walk: you don’t have to sit through all the noise and the waiting of the traffic. If you are a walk able distance from your destination, I’ll implore you to alight and talk a brisk walk over there, especially in the mornings. It’s a good routine to exercise your body since many people feel don’t have the time to work out before leaving home in the morning.
But these are only a few of the ways in dealing with traffic jams. As they wisely say that no man is self-made, let’s rub minds as we unearthed more ideas on this. Tweet at me with the hashtag #Reflexions or post your comments and let’s get talking!
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