How to turn wait time into productive time

Waiting - how to be productive while you wait

Waiting; we’ve all been there. Whether it’s at the station platform, in the office or even at the doctor’s surgery. But when you have a busy schedule to follow, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait. After all, every minute spent waiting for something or someone, is a minute wasted. Or, is it?

I recently found myself at a loose end ‘waiting’ for some unexpected software updates – which ultimately put a halt to any laptop-based work. In this day and age we rely so heavily on technology and being connected online, that it’s easy to forget about the many other activities we could be doing that don’t require a digital connection. So, instead of staring at my screen and waiting for the update % number to increase, I took the opportunity to partake in some creative thinking and brainstorming of new ideas.

Being disconnected from the internet meant I was really able to explore my own mind and think outside of the box without any distractions – it even inspired me to write this post. That’s why I want to share 5 things (including brainstorming), that you can try the next time you find yourself waiting – turning wait time into productive time. If there’s something you do to stay productive while you wait, then I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

1. Brainstorm

Brainstorm to generate new ideas

As we get comfortable in our lives, we form routines and can often fall into the trap of doing things the way that we’ve always done them. But when it comes to our professional lives, in particular things such as personal progression, company growth, and staying competitive, it’s important to seek new ways of achieving our goals.  So, if like me, you want to make the most of your time, then why not do some creative brainstorming?

Brainstorming promotes the generation of new ideas and fresh approaches. Whether it’s improving your organization’s offerings, driving your business forward, developing strategies to advance your own strengths, or even thinking of new ways to keep the kids occupied during the holidays, brainstorming plays a significant and valuable role during problem solving and decision making.

2. Read a book

Read a book while you waitReading is an important activity, as amongst other benefits, it can boost creativity. But the number of people taking time out to read a book has dropped over the years. In fact, in the past year, over a quarter of American adults (28%) didn’t read a book at all.

Losing yourself in a different world through reading can help engage your imagination – and by opening yourself up to new experiences, you may come up with some new and creative business solutions. Engrossing yourself in a book can also help to reduce stress, as you can escape the worries of day-to-day life. So, dust off those old books, fully immerse yourself in a good read, and inspire new ideas.

3. Organize your space

Organize your workspaceWe’ve talked about the benefits of having a clear workspace in the past, but often, spending time rooting through desk drawers and sorting mountains of paper work can fall to the bottom of our priority list. But, if you’ve got some spare time on your hands while you wait, try using it to de-clutter your desk or workspace. After all, having a clean and organized space will save valuable time when looking for things, and will provide a state of calmness while you work so when you’ve finished waiting you can easily focus on what’s important and maximize your productivity.

4. Take a break

Take a break to improve productivity

When tackling busy schedules and working long hours, it’s important to take regular breaks to maintain and even improve productivity. In a survey by Staples, 86% of respondents recognized that taking a break would make them more productive. A break can reduce fatigue, prevent feeling burned-out and improve both happiness and health – it’s a chance to refuel and rejuvenate, and when you return to work you’re ready to work productively for the remainder of the day.

Taking a break isn’t limited to the office – if you’re out and about waiting, then use the time to escape your normal activities and routines. Taking some time out will allow for a period of thinking – which you may not normally get chance to do, and will help clear your mind.

5. Plan your day

Use DropTask to organize and manage your task list

Use wait time to plan ahead and organize upcoming activities. If you have access to a mobile, tablet or computer while you wait, then a tool such as DropTask helps to get everything out of your head and into one clear workspace. Once you’ve jotted down your to-dos in DropTask, share them with others, add notes and important documents, and check in for updates – plus much more, to schedule, manage and organize tasks. When you’re finished waiting, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done – so you can be more efficient and productive when getting tasks ticked off!

From just the few examples I’ve shared with you above, it’s easy to see that wait time really doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Whether it’s a few minutes, an hour or several hours, with a little forward planning, there’s always something you can be doing while you wait.

How do you spend periods of waiting? If you have a favorite thing to do while you wait we’d love to hear it. Leave us a comment below and share your tips.