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7 Productive Things You Can Do While Waiting in Long Lines

7 Productive Things You Can Do While Waiting in Long Lines

Between waiting in carpool lines to picking up your kids, riding the train to work, sitting in gridlocked traffic, and standing in line at the DMV, the average person spends a lot of time waiting for things to happen. What if you could put that time to use? We’ve got a few good ideas for you:

1. Give Mobile Learning a Try

Are you familiar with e-learning? It’s the segment of the learning industry that focuses on online and mobile learning. Whether it’s continuing education for a certification you have, a college degree, or merely a casual course on a topic that you’re interested in, chances are there’s some sort of online learning opportunity available. And thanks to new technology, many of these courses can be accessed on your mobile device – while you’re waiting in line!

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2. Read a Book

How many books do you have stacked up in your office or loaded onto your Kindle that you keep telling yourself you’ll get around to one day? Well, one day is today. Let’s say you spend 30 minutes “waiting” every day. That’s three and a half hours per week. If you’re an average reader, this means you could finish a 300-page book every two weeks. At that pace, you could read nearly 25 books a year. Pretty amazing, right?

3. Brainstorm Creative Ideas

Sometimes you just need some time to think. This is especially true for people who frequently lose focus and daydream while they’re working. If you can get these ideas out of your head while you’re waiting around, you’ll probably be able to focus more once you return to work. Next time you’re in a line, grab a pen and paper and start jotting down creative ideas that come to mind. You can then reference them at a later date.

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4. Practice Your People Skills

When you’re waiting in a physical line with other people, you have a wonderful opportunity to practice your people skills. Pick someone and start a conversation. The majority of people will be happy to have something to do. If small talk isn’t your thing, this is a good chance to break out of your comfort zone.

5. Make a Grocery List

How much easier is grocery shopping when you have a list? You’re able to stay focused and typically don’t end up spending as much. But the reason most people don’t make good shopping lists is that they don’t have time. Well, here’s your opportunity. In five or ten minutes, you can make a list and get on with your day.

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6. Return Emails and Phone Calls

If you’re a busy person with lots of responsibilities, emails, phone calls, and text messages can pile up in your inboxes. What better time is there to catch up on responding than when you’re waiting in line? By the time you get back to work, or wherever you’re going, you’ll feel a huge sense of relief.

7. Catch Up on the News

While the news is usually nothing but depressing stories, you need to at least be aware of what’s happening around you in order to have topics of conversation to discuss with friends and coworkers. Spend your time in line reading news stories and catching up on current events. News can easily be found online, on social media, or on apps like theSkimm.

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Stop Wasting Time!

As long as you live, lines will be a thing. You’re always going to have to wait for things to happen, so why not learn how to maximize this downtime? Thankfully, it’s really not that hard to make good use of your time. Have a plan and take care of business!

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock.com via shutterstock.com

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Larry Alton

Business Consultant

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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