Waiting Time Doesn't Have To Be Wasted Time!

waiting timeI left work early today so that I could get to my dentist’s appointment on time. I arrived 10 minutes ahead of time, only to find out that the doctor was running an hour and a half behind. Obviously, the staff never bothered to call and tell me the doctor was running so far behind! < Imagine my annoyance, when a load of things I could have done at work flashed through my mind!>

I didn’t have time to go back to office and come back, since the journey itself would have taken another hour. So, my only option was join the others in the waiting room. Most of them were sitting impatiently counting ceiling tiles, except for one lady. She had several small sheets of paper (looked like bills) around her, and she was writing on a checkbook. She seemed wrapped up in what she was doing and didn’t look as if she was bothered by the delay.

I was impressed by HOW she decided to spend her “waiting time”. Even more, I was inspired by her preparation. It was as if, she expected to wait a long time!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my checkbook with me, to do something similar. However, I dug out my notebook and pen from my handbag, and started drafting this post…

Most of us don't see that waiting time as a cost to us; but it is. Minutes add up to hours and hours to days. As we spend time waiting, we end up wasting days of doing nothing but just waiting.
That’s not the only thing, how your waiting time goes affects your mood and productivity, long after the waiting time is over!

So, my message for you today is..

Realize in advance when you may be forced to wait.

Expect to be delayed; Expect to be waiting => Be Prepared

Some of us are better at dealing with that than others. What about you?
Are you the sort of person who is generally prepared for delays/waiting time?

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Zengirl said...


Thanks for stopping by my new blog. I agree, going to dentist, doctor's office, airport which has a generally waiting period. It is good to carry, reading novel, things to do notebook. And if you have small kids, carry small pack of crayons, papers and deck of card to entertain.
Good reminder.


Amit Sodha said...

Hey Shamelle,

Great post. I havent written any recently but I used to write a series called minute mediations all about how to use these moments. I find myself stuck in traffic a lot as I have to do so much driving. In those moments I sit and I meditate...and everytime I do, without fail, the traffic will move swiftly.

I'm also working on a post about time to yourself...most people don't think they have time to themselves but when you really examine where time goes people will realise just how much time they have! :-)

John said...

During times of waiting, you should always have something productive to do. I pretty much agree with Zengirl's suggestions. What I don't recommend is listening to loud music with headphones. You're just occupying your time distracting yourself from thinking.

Shamelle said...

@Zengirl: Keeping kids occupied at such times is a challenge indeed!

@Amit: Yes, it a good idea to take time to reflect. We usually complain that we don't have time for such things!

Robin said...

Hi Shamelle - as it happens, I am going to the dentist tomorrow! And there is usually a wait - so I'm thinking I should pack some paper and a pen to do some notes for my next post! I don't usually mind wainting for things like that (apart from the fact that the dentist is not usually fun) - daydreaming can be a good thing.
Cheers - Robin

Amanda Linehan said...

Hi Shamelle - You know, I'm usually not prepared for waiting time, although sometimes I might have a book with me. I don't get to read as often as I would like, so having that time I appreciate. Also, even if you are not prepared, waiting can be some good down time if you need that.

Shamelle said...

@Robin: what a coincidence! I usually, have my "TO DO" list as a guide for things I want to do while waiting. If there are days, there I can spare time, day dreaming is also penciled in!

@Amanda: Yes, there are times we don't get time for ourselves. Waiting time can do wonders!

positivelypresent said...

Love this post because I HATE waiting! Most of the time, I always have a journal and my Kindle in my bag so that, no matter where I am, I can read and write. This usually saves me the pain of having to deal with waiting completely bored out of my mind.

psychologyofsuccess said...

I recently went with my wife to her dental appointment (wisdom teeth extraction). I carried two books and made sure my iPhone was fully charged.

Being prepared to entertain myself keeps me from dreading these mundane tasks.

gypsy-heart said...

When I leave my home I usually carry a small tote bag. It contains a variety of things to read, a little sketch pad for quick sketches or painting ideas, etc. I also include a bottle of water and a healthy snack.

Often, I am content to observe the people in the room, or listen if someone wants or needs to chat.

I usually come away from the appointment (or delay) having learned something or with some creative ideas.

I am trying to practice living in the moment.. while journeying on. :)

Good and creative energies to you,


Shamelle said...

@positivelypresent: "no matter where I am, I can read and write" That's great! For me, I get distracted based on the environment I am in.

@psychologyofsuccess: Aha, you were prepared!

@gypsy-heart: "I am trying to practice living in the moment.. while journeying on. " Nice.. I should also try that :-0)

carla said...

I usually have notepads, pens, books, knitting, Blackberry, etc to keep my occupied. I would still be annoyed if I had something scheduled for AFTER the appointment, like the need to go back to work and so on. I hate it when my time is not respected even when its not intentional.

Chelle said...

I always keep a notebook and a pen in my purse. That way even if I am stuck somewhere I can still jot down some thoughts and ideas or get organized. Not the most productive, but definitely beats counting ceiling tiles.

Michelle said...

This brings up a really good point. Even something as simple as time spent in a waiting room definitely adds up into an opportunity lost. I think it's really important to take ahold of all the minutes you can. Thanks for the post.

suZen said...

Love this post! I go everywhere with a book and my notebook. If I forget, I write in my head while waiting. I never knew I spent so much time in the waiting zone until I had kids in sports or getting picked up from something or other - lived in my car!!

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Davina said...

Hi Shamelle. I would have been annoyed because I made preparation to be there on time. I've learned to phone ahead now for such appointments to see if they are running on schedule. I'm getting better these days though by trying to learn to go with the flow. When I do have to wait in those types of situations I take advantage of the time to do some deep breathing and just relax.

Omar said...

It's best to be prepared. I have to start bringing my books and assignments with me. It makes the time go faster and you can finish personal projects.

Topless Waiters said...

The ipad is the savior of waiting times, no longer will I ever be bored!

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