Hello! It’s been a hot minute away, hasn’t it? Sigh! Everything just seems to be happening at the same time, so I had to take a pause to get some balance, with school getting busier and more stressful, having to juggle many activities and professional exams coming up.
In the midst of these, my phone decided to act up (with a boot loop) last weekend. I made my way to the service center (CarlCare) to get it fixed and was told to wait awhile. Thinking it was an issue that would take a short time to get resolved, I took a seat and ended up waiting for over 2 hours and at the end, was still told to come back another day.
Slightly miffed, I would have lashed out at them for telling me to wait rather than just go and come back another day from the start, but I understood that it wasn’t really their fault, they probably thought it could be fixed on the spot. Thankfully though, my hours didn’t go by in vain because I got some productive stuff done while waiting, which brings me to the meat of the matter…..
How do you add value to your waiting time? I mean, at many points, we have to spend time waiting, for instance, at the bank, airport, in traffic, etc., and sometimes we end up spending more time than planned. So what productive things can you do while waiting so those hours (or even minutes) don’t get wasted?
I have ten suggestions:
1. Read: Of course, this had to come first! If you are always complaining about lack of time to read, there’s no better time to catch up on a backlog of books than while waiting. On the bank queue, at the airport, in transit waiting to get to your destination, etc., you can sneak in a few more pages of reading rather than just stare into space.
I recommend having a book with you and if you don’t like carrying books around, you can just read e-books on your phone. You never know how much progress you can make during that waiting period. For instance, I had another reader enabled phone with me at CarlCare, so I took the time to start and finish Rudy Francisco’s poem collection, Helium (which I really love by the way), revised a school slide and even got almost halfway through another book.
2. Make lists: Drawing up to-do, to-call, shopping and even bucket lists is a good and productive way to use up time. You can also use the wait time to think, make/adjust plans ahead, jot reminders and fine tune details so you can just go right to executing them later.
3. Catch up: This might be an opportunity to catch up on people and stuff you’ve shifted aside because you’ve been too busy. Make/return calls, read and reply texts messages and Whatsapp chats, sort your mail, etc. You can even catch up on the news and track your orders while waiting. Whatever you do, that’s one more thing gotten out of the way.
4. Learn something new: Watch a 5 to 10-minute YouTube tutorial, complete a YALI course (and even get a certificate in less than an hour), watch a TED Talk, Google and read up on something new, etc. There are many learning resources around, so why not make your hours count by adding to your knowledge ?
5. Write: Draft a new blog post, start/develop that book, jot some song lyrics, write a poem, make a journal entry, even note down random ideas that can be developed later. The idea for this post came while waiting and I started jotting some points.
6. Make a new friend: It doesn’t hurt to strike up a conversation with your neighbour on the line and possibly make a new friend or at least share and learn some new things. See it as a good way to practice and hone your networking skills and, who knows what might come out of that? For instance, I made some of my first few friends in the University while waiting in line for library and course form registration in my 100level.
7. Wander and Ponder: So you probably have a jumble of thoughts running across your mind, but intentionally let your imagination play around in the right direction. Imagine alternate endings, ruminate on ideas, think deep about something you learnt recently, consider alternatives and possible solutions to a problem, etc. All these could spark something amazing and creative.
8. Doodle away: Engage your creative side by making some sketches or doodling. This is a good way to ease tension and have fun. My favourite things to doodle are space filling line patterns (perfect or not) like this one below.
9. Meditate: Waiting it out can be frustrating and meditating can calm and clear your mind. Mind you, it does not necessarily mean getting into a special posture and chanting, your normal sitting position is OK and you can just chill and relax.
10. Get plugged in: Listen to the news or interesting discussion on radio, podcasts, speeches, audio lessons or even jam some really good music.
And that’s it! Next time you’re held up somewhere, rather than chew your nails and twiddle your fingers, get some productive stuff done and add value to your waiting time.
So, over to you, how do you fill your waiting time? Did you find these suggestions helpful? Share in my comments below!
– The Value Adder™