. Wasting Your Time Profitably

I don’t know about you, but I hate to wait.  I don’t like waiting at traffic lights, standing in checkout lines at the store, or waiting at the bank.  Dentist and doctor’s office waits can be annoying as can the last few minutes before your spouse walks in the door from work.  How do you reduce “wasted” time and how do you more profitably use your time when you’re powerless to do anything but wait and wait and wait?

Reduce Waiting Time

First, look for ways to reduce “waiting” time.  For instance, going early in the day to do errands usually reduces the amount of time you will have to wait in line.  The bank, the post office, and the grocery store are all rather empty and you will breeze through your errand list with less time and trouble.

Pre-Shop By Phone

Second, try to do as much “shopping” by phone as possible.  Call ahead to see if that video you want to rent is available and can be held at the front desk; call to see if the item you desire to buy is in stock at the hardware store.  Buy your stamps by mail whenever possible.  Arrange for pickup and delivery by any company that offers that service without charge.

Get the First Appointment

Third, whenever you make an appointment, say at the doctor’s or dentist, ask for the first appointment in the morning or the first in the afternoon.  While this doesn’t completely insure timeliness on the part of your dentist or doctor, it improves your chances. As a matter of fact, make life even easier by calling before you leave to make sure they are on schedule.  It is nicer to wait where you are, finishing up here or there, than to be sitting a waiting room.

Have Backup Activity At Hand

If you have done all you can to avoid waiting and still find yourself “on hold”, how can you use that time profitably?  May I suggest three different activities which can greatly increase profitability?

1)  Carry reading materials of some sort with you at all times.  My favorites, of course, are paperbacks about home organization or ones that share homemaking hints.  I learn a great deal during those small waiting minutes because I am prepared to open, read, and learn.  I have a red pen handy for noting items which I wish to implement into my own schedule.  There is a paperback in each of my vehicles, and one in my purse.  When I am going to be children, I carry “read aloud” books for them and use this time to share a story.  Sometimes, I will have other children in the waiting room gather around to occupy their minds.  The time goes so fast when a story is being told.

2)  Have a small kit consisting of stationery, pen, and envelopes.  So many thank you notes, birthday wishes, and congratulations can be completed for mailing during the minutes waiting for an appointment.

3)  If you have intermittent waits in lines or in traffic, may I suggest that you begin a memorization program.  Initially, pick four or five short sayings which you feel might benefit your life, some from the scriptures and others from wise leaders, and write them up on 3″ x 5″ cards.  Begin putting them to memory during your “wasted” time.  Tuck them behind the visor in your vehicle or in your wallet.  These sayings can benefit our life immediately and can also be shared with others (particularly unruly children) when they need to be occupied.  You can learn or you can teach, all during time which was previously wasted.  There is nothing more compelling to a child or teenager than the challenge of learning something someone they admire already knows.

There are a dozen other ways to be prepared for using wasted time profitably.  Do you knit?  Crochet?  Can you teach one of your children these skills during those repetitive orthodontist visits?  Do you have a regular waiting time with some of your family while another is finishing up piano or dance lessons?  Can you teach them or read to them?  As you look at your life, prepare to never be without something to do yourself or to teach and share.

Look for your “wasted” time pockets.  First, try to reduce or eliminate them.  Then prepare to use them profitably.  You will find your life will fill with more feelings of accomplishment and your frustrations will reduce considerably.  See you next week!

Find more helpful ideas in “House of Order” Handbook.

Photo from sxc.hu.  Used with permission.


Leave a Reply