I know that somewhere there is an underground headquarters of a secret organisation whose sole purpose in life is to delay my travel. The secret to defeating these evil people is to plan ahead.
I regularly have to travel in and out of London from my home in the Cotswolds. This journey takes up a substantial part of my life and it is crucial that I am kept informed as to what the enemy (the Secret Organisation Dedicated To My Delay - or SODTMD for short) are up to.
Before driving into London I plan three different routes and check online half an hour and then 10 minutes before I leave, for news of accidents or sudden cases of intensive roadworks.
If there are no problems then I toss a coin before getting into the car so that my choice is random. I do not want to start a routine that SODTMD can anticipate.
If I am forced to take the train, then I need to be fully prepared. At breakfast, I check the local radio for news of traffic problems on the way to the station. If there are none then I know that it will take me exactly 21 minutes in the car.
When I can really save time, however, is the parking - I have the exact amount of correct change in bunches in the glove compartment and this allows me to drive up to the machine, deposit the coins, collect the ticket and park without doubling back on myself. Once in the station, I stand by a little mark I’ve made on the fence in chalk so that I will be directly opposite the correct door when the trains stops. This allows me to get on first and avoid the degrading commuter fistfight going on behind me.
SODTMD will always be there, but with a little preparation, they can be kept at bay.