Over the past few days, I’ve had several opportunities to waste time. No, I’m not talking about the mindless wasting of time vegging in front of the television. I’m talking about those moments when I’m waiting for someone else. Sometimes it’s a waiting room, and other times it’s when we’re on hold on the telephone. Sometimes I have just 10 minutes between my piano students, which isn’t enough time to start a big project. When I prepare for wasted time, it doesn’t feel as wasted.
If you’re looking for practical ways that you can be prepared to waste time constructively, here are ten to get you started.
- Make a time-wasting tote bag where you put things (Magazines, newsletters, newspapers, etc.) that you want to look at when you have a few minutes. Then make a habit of taking that bag with you whenever you leave for an appointment.
- Keep a book in your purse, tote bag or in your car. Bring that in to the waiting room with you.
- Take the latest issue of a magazine with you whenever you leave the house. In a few minutes here and there, you’ll be able to read several articles. You can mark where you leave off by folding a page and easily pick up where you leave off.
- Play games on your Kindle, cell phone, or iTouch. I just discovered free word games for my Kindle and I love it! A Kindle has so many options for killing time and you only need to carry one thing with you (compared to big books).
- Pre-address note card envelopes to people to whom you’d write letters or notes of encouragement if you had more time. Place a blank card inside each envelope and then take those envelopes with you for waiting room time. Keep them near the phone at home for time spent on hold.
- Keep a mini notebook in your bag and when you get a few extra minutes waiting, catch up on your to-do list. Plan out the rest of your day so that when your waiting time and appointment is finished, you can make good use of your time.
- Take up a handiwork hobby like knit or crochet. Most knit or crochet projects can be done in small increments, which is perfect for those waiting moments. Plus, you can still talk while you are working.
- Pay bills. Whether you have ten minutes to waste on hold on the phone, or you’re in the doctor’s waiting room, why not catch up on those bills. All you need with you is the checkbook and a few stamps and you can mail them on your way out of the clinic.
- Clean up your e-mail inbox. If you’re at home, the time spent on hold is perfect for sorting old e-mails and cleaning up your inbox. If you’re out and about, clean up the old messages in your cell phone.
- Listen to music or books on CD. It’s easy to download a book on CD to your MP3 player. Then, you can listen in those moments stuck in traffic or in a waiting room. Many new cars have places for you to plug your player in. My new Kindle also plays MP3’s so I can listen and read at the same time.
I find that if I plan ahead and have something to do, I’m less irritated if people are late. I’m not so restless if my doctor is running behind, or I have time in between appointments. It feels good when I know that even ten or fifteen minutes can be productive time.
What tips do you have for wasting time? Share your ideas in the comments below.