Ten Things To Do While You Wait

Do you hate to wait? Even the most patient folks resent the time wasted while they wait for doctors' appointments, at the Department of Motor Vehicles, in airports and on planes. I recently had the ultimate waiting test when I was called for jury duty. I don't like to feel unproductive. The challenge of finding things to do while we wait includes finding things that can be interrupted and finished later. I decided to brainstorm things we can do while we wait, and here are my Top Ten.

1. Read

It never fails, if I am at the doctor's office and browsing magazines in the waiting room, they always call my name when I'm smack in the middle of a good article. Reading is the obvious pass time for waiting, and if you have a really good book you haven't had a chance to read, then by all means read! If you have favorite magazines piling up, read! I recommend bringing your own material though, so you won't have the further frustration of leaving behind something that you really want to finish.

2. Write

This is another obvious choice for writers. I seldom go anywhere without my journal. But even if you are not a writer per se, keep a notebook handy. Help bring back the personal touch of handwritten thank you notes and letters.

3. Puzzles

Crosswords, word scrambles, word searches, etc. will not only help pass the time, but studies show that such "brain exercise" is good for you!

4. Solitaire

Similarly, card games are good brain exercise. An added benefit of tucking a deck of cards into your pocket is that your game of solitaire might expand to a hand of gin rummy with the neighbors, which leads nicely to number 5.

5. Networking

Even if you are not in sales, take some time to learn to network. Reach out of your comfort zone and start a conversation with your neighbor. Don't be discouraged if you don't get a warm reception at first - practice makes perfect - but truthfully, most people waiting with you are just as bored as you are. They will welcome a friendly conversation. The trick is to focus on learning something about the person you are meeting rather than shoving your life story down their throat. This is an excellent exercise in communication for everyone. Don't use being introverted as an excuse. Make it a challenge. You'll be proud of yourself for making new friends!

6. Phone Calls

Put that cell phone to work! At least make calls when you are waiting in areas that allow cell phones. Follow up on leads if you are in sales. Reach out to important clients to "check in" and just give them a warm and fuzzy. If you don't have a list of business contacts to call, surprise a friend or family member and catch up.

7. Menu Planning / Grocery Lists

Grocery shopping is my least favorite chore in the world. I know my life runs more smoothly when I take the time to plan my menus and shop with a list, but unfortunately I procrastinate. Use your waiting time to first brainstorm your favorite "go-to" meals, then start a master grocery list for those meals.

8. Pay Bills

This one takes some planning ahead, and FlyLady's Office in a Bag is perfect for being prepared to wait. A notebook with pockets and dividers, Office in a Bag is the place to keep your new mail, a book of stamps, your check book, etc. Keep it with you and you can get that nasty bill paying chore done in the nooks and crannies of your day that otherwise have you tapping your foot impatiently.

9. Set Some Goals

What else do you want to accomplish today? This week? This month? Write it down. We are much more likely to complete a goal that is written than we are one that is not. Setting goals is the first step in using your time wisely.

10. Fantasize

I know, I started this list by saying I hate to feel unproductive, and I wanted activities to counter that feeling. But I have come to value the practice of visualization. I believe focusing on your dreams and desires with full attention and positive energy is a critical component of actually achieving those dreams. If this seems hard to do, then start by thinking of the things for which you are grateful. Let the feeling of thankfulness sink and open up to the possibility of more to come. It's hard to stay frustrated and anxious while waiting if you truly have your heart and mind focused on good feelings. Fantasizing makes prioritizing your goals easier as well.

A final note, use this list or come up with your own, but have a list prepared before you find yourself waiting. When you know you have productive, useful tasks to keep you busy while you wait, you are not as susceptible to the frustration of wasting time.

Please share your favorite ideas for things to do while we wait in the comment section.

Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url: http://hubpages.com/_ndwcopyright/hub/Ten-Things-To-Do-While-You-Wait

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Comments 14 comments

DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 8 years ago from Central North Carolina

Good followup hub! Add to the list, "pray."

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

These are really good suggestions.

When I was on dial -up-- I used to keep my nail file and dental floss near the computer so i could have something useful to do while I waited for a page to load.

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Good ones, Rochelle. I do the same sort of thing in my virtual office - lotions, nail polish, vitamins, all sorts of stuff in my desk drawer to keep me busy on conference calls and such.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

I am also intrigued with the FlyLady's office in a bag-- almost tempted to buy it, though I think I could devise something similar of my own.

I have my stuff together-- but to make it truly portable would also be useful for a "grab and go" emergency bag .

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago


Here's a few. Fill out a new address book. Add contact numbers to your phone. Write out your Christmas list. If you're sending out invitations or thank you cards, fill those out.

Thanks for sharing,


dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Rochelle, I have to admit, I "made" my own with an old zippered notebook, pocket dividers and pencil bags.

And thanks, Trish - good ideas!

LeaAnne profile image

LeaAnne 8 years ago from North Carolina

I hate to wait. I really like the menu planning and grocery list task. I do this sometimes while waiting for databases to load. Another good form of mutli-tasking.

Thanks for posting another great hub!

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, LeaAnne. I feel like I'm being lazy if I'm not multi-tasking :-)

talented_ink profile image

talented_ink 8 years ago from USA

Nice list and other things I like to do while I'm waiting is think of practical jokes to play on my friends, outlandish tales to tell them, and I also like to stare at the person across from me until they feel uncomfortable before I yell, "I like peanut butter and jelly!". LOL Humor is my favorite way to kill downtime.

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

nice, taltend_ink, thanks for stopping by!

Mezo profile image

Mezo 7 years ago from Egypt

read, solitaire and fonecalls...of course :D

nothlondon nanny profile image

nothlondon nanny 7 years ago from London

great list may i add chocolate maybe not productive but sooooooooooo good!x

Shaylen 5 years ago

Thanks your list of things helped me do some things while i wait until me and me friend go swimming

i will so go in your site again. Thanks again!!!!!!!

Cascadus 4 years ago

You can also go watch LPers on Youtube like Chuggaa and NCS, it really gives away time.

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