10 Reasons To No Longer Dread Waiting in Line
“Life was always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act.” Paul Coelho
Americans hate to wait. Ours is a society of doers. Sorry, Paul Coelho. We don’t much care to wait for the right moment to act. As long as we act on something. Yes, patience is a virtue we fall short of.
The marketers of smartphones have compensated for this shortcoming. These mobile devices have made it more bearable to wait at long grocery check out lines, airports and doctor offices. They provided distraction from the pain and boredom of waiting. Such was the case when I took my car in for an oil change this weekend. There was the thirty-something on my left who decided to show up in his pajama bottom and Batman T-shirt, now completely engrossed in a video game. The elderly gentleman on my right who spoke animatedly (code for oversharing) into his phone. And there was me, sandwiched between them in the waiting area.
I’m not here to talk you out of indulging in the occasional mindless distractions. Like a computer, our brains need to power down from time to time.
Being productive isn't about quantity. It's about getting the most important things done efficiently and effectively without getting hung up on perfection.
But if you’ve been putting things off because you dread waiting in long lines, I have 10 tips that will help you maximize wait time.
1. Make it personal. Use the wait to send handwritten birthday or thank you cards.
2. Set appointments. Make travel arrangements; schedule a haircut, or a visit to your doctor or with your kid’s teacher; reserve a table for tonight’s dinner. It is so much better to schedule appointments when sitting down than trying to drive and do them over the phone, not to mention safer.
3. Write a blog. I wrote this post when I took my car in for an oil change.
4. Read a book. Reading for pleasure often takes a backseat to other priorities. Perhaps you feel guilty about indulging in a good mystery novel if you think the house needs some mopping or the lawn needs mowing. Use wait time to read guilt-free.
5. Learn something. Catch up with your favorite blog (ahem), industry news pertaining to your business and career, or some other topic you have been curious about.
6. End procrastination. Do the task you’ve been putting off. Organize tax documents, look over warranties, or pay bills online.
7. Catch up on emails. One of the best ways to get from under a blizzard of emails is to remember OHIO – only handle it once. Here are other good tips on email management from Zen Habits.
8. Jumpstart your week. I like to hit the ground running on Monday mornings so I set aside Sunday evening to plan out my week. Just think how doubly accomplished you will feel getting this done while another task is wrapping up.
9. Take a nap. This from the National Sleep Foundation: “A short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.” Some of the most brilliant minds in history were known nappers. Among them, the Foundation named Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison.
10. Touch base. Have people threaten to put your face on a milk carton or report you to “Missing Persons” because you have been out of pocket for so long? Wait time is the best time to reconnect.