A few years ago I realized that I had far too much to do and simply not enough time to do it all in!
Nothing too unusual there – I expect you feel exactly the same. But I started noticing how much time I was wasting because I was waiting. Waiting for a meeting, waiting for a train, waiting in between appointments, waiting for a journey to come to an end, waiting for my children to complete their sports activities….etc etc.
The hours were simply mounting up, and whilst I certainly don’t advocate filling every single hour and minute with frenetic activity (yes, I am coming round to the idea of slowing down and mindfulness…), I have come to realize that I can USE my waiting time to very good effect. Lots of little things that I just wasn’t getting round to (because I never seemed to have enough time), are now getting dealt with ‘while I wait’.
Here’s my top 7 ideas for what to do whilst you are waiting:
- Start writing a blog post. Nearly all my blogs are started ‘while I wait’. Some of them get finished at the same time. The thing I find with blogs is that the worst thing is getting started. Once it is half written, I can usually finish it in a matter of minutes when I am back at my desk. Important tip – you need to have a device to type on! Hence I can rarely be found out and about without my tablet.
- Create a mind-map of things that are clogging up your mind. The weight in your head is much heavier than once everything that is cluttering up your mind is on paper. Taking the time to download onto paper is rarely possible when you are at your desk. Do it ‘while you wait’. Important tip – keep a notebook with you when you are out and about, and a pen or pencil of course.
- Sort out your receipts! Yes – I know you are probably as bad as me. Your wallet or purse is full of horrible screwed up bits of paper. Throw away the ones you don’t need and flatten and pile up the ones you need for business purposes. It is very satisfying!
- Brainstorm a list of new ideas for your business. Play with different titles for your brainstorm eg. Ideas for free giveaway on my website; Ways to encourage customer to buy more product; What could be included in a premium version of my product or service?; Ideas for Joint Ventures; …the list is endless. Important tip – again, you will need a notebook & pen with you to do this.
- Practice switching off and giving your brain a rest. If you have a smartphone download a free meditation App and use it to practice switching off completely for 10 minutes. This one is more conducive to sitting quietly in your car than, say, waiting for a meeting to start at a client’s premises! I spend a lot of time in my car – and sometimes I arrive very early (to avoid traffic delays). This makes a perfect opportunity for a 10 minute brain rest. Important tip – using earphones is best so that you can cut out background noise. Always carry earphones 🙂
- Get the free Kindle (or other reading App) on your smartphone or tablet and download a couple of recommended business books. I have picked up some great business tips and techniques whilst reading e-books. Important tip – be prepared and get the App on your phone or tablet now and buy the book NOW. Then it will be there for when you find yourself with a 20 minute wait somewhere.
- If you think your day might mean you are going to be hanging around and waiting somewhere, carry some reading material with you. In the past I have read reports, presentations, legal documents, CV’s, assignments – all sorts of things that I would find hard to allocate time to read properly when I am at my desk. There are few things more frustrating for me than finding myself waiting, and thinking of the pile of stuff that is sitting on my desk waiting to be read!
What ideas have you got for making the most of your waiting time?