MANILA - It is a fact: Traffic in Metro Manila and even Cebu has worsened. Everyday, an estimated P2.4 billion is lost due to lower productivity. There are just too many vehicles in our road network. However, people still need to go to work, go to meetings and do daily chores. So, can one still be productive in traffic?
Here are tips on how to be productive while stuck in traffic:
1. Be patient
First and foremost, every person riding in a private or public vehicle needs to learn, if not relearn, to be patient. There is no use getting irritated or blowing the horn. Road rage will only make matters worse. When traffic stands still, the road becomes like a huge parking lot. It may be good to have some form of street entertainment like clowns, jugglers or even singers by the sidewalk. Creativity is a challenge for every Filipino.
2. Tires, battery, belts, brakes, fuel, coolant, air-condition
Before leaving, it may be wise to avoid travelling on a half-empty tank. Check for signs that the battery may need to be replaced. Check the cooling system. Any squeaking sounds? When was the last time your air conditioner was cleaned and checked?
3. Mobile phones and power bank
No doubt, with today's smartphones, batteries hardly last a full day. Make sure to carry a good, well-charged power bank. There are many choices in the market. There are those which can fully charge a mobile phone and tablet two or three times. Get a reliable brand. If you are using a prepaid phone, have enough credits.
4. Bring something to read or work on
Technology has afforded us the ability to read books via electronic transfer. Check out Kindle reader of Amazon. Another amazing discovery is the ABS-CBN TV Plus connected to a small television monitor where you can watch daily shows as well as news from free channels. Check the areas that have better reception.
5. If there are children, specially infants and toddlers, bring videos of cartoons in case they become restless. Don't forget extra pillows and their milk.
6. A survival bag
This is a simple bag containing biscuits, chips and bottled water or juice. One can get hungry after getting stuck for one to two or even three hours.
7. People who have hypertension or heart problems need to check if they are fit to travel. Always bring necessary medicines. If you have no companion and suddenly something happens, do not be afraid to press the horn and call for help. Motorists nearby may be able to provide assistance. The government or even Red Cross must seriously look into having medical units for every 1 or 2 kilometers to provide first aid.
8. Give way to ambulances and fire trucks
Motorists often do their best to allow these vehicles to pass. However, there have been instances when I saw the ambulance or fire truck driver helpless as nothing moves.
9. Disposable urine bags
Over a decade ago, there was a company which began selling disposable urine bags. There are separate models for men and women. A gel immediately gets activated once it is used thereby preventing any spillage or foul smell. There are several brands available in the market. Do dispose properly.
10. Be happy and listen to AM radio drama
I once took a taxi and noticed the driver was in a cheerful mood. Traffic was hardly moving and it was so hot. The air-conditioner system of the cab was fair. I did notice the driver was tuned in to a local radio station airing dramas. He told me it is his way of entertaining himself rather than getting angry. I listened and appreciated the talented voices.
11. A simple notepad and ballpoint pen may be an effective tool in writing down things that enter one’s mind. It may be about plans, goals or tasks to do.
12. Leave earlier than before
If before, one can get to a certain point destination within an hour, it is now advisable to double if not give an additional 1.5 hours. Better arrive early than be late.
13. Alternate routes
There is an app called Waze. It is helpful in plotting where to go via the shortest way. But be discerning as it may lead you to some narrow alleys.
14. Innovative ways
I have seen people who have meetings using Skype or Facetime. It is best to have a plan and an alternative in case the previous is not possible. Opportunities are aplenty but never let situations like traffic be a major factor. Just staring and doing nothing while in traffic is a waste of time.
Given any situation, a person with an active entrepreneurial mindset can become productive. Most of the time, an opportunity may arise out of getting stuck in traffic. Whining or being miserable will never lead to anything fruitful. Hoping our government will solve the situation is good, but it may take some time.
As one top motoring columnist always says, "happy motoring." I would say, "have fun in traffic!"
For questions and more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome by email: [email protected] or on Twitter https://twitter.com/philfranguru. His website is www.gmb.com.ph