Using Waiting Room Time Productively
Read Something Worthwhile If you know in advance that you will be stuck in a waiting room for more than five or ten minutes you can take advantage of the break in your day to do the reading you enjoy but seldom have time for. One way to accomplish this is simply to maintain a reading basket at home filled with magazines, pamphlets, flyers and books for spare time reading. Then instead of sitting in frustration in the waiting room with magazines in which you have no interest, you can choose reading material in advance and bring it along.
Just don’t leave your choices behind when you are called in for your appointment or when it’s time to leave the office!
Balance Your Check Book Some conscientious folks use short spans of time in the waiting room as their setting to take a look at last month’s check book entries and getting the math to come out right. This productive use of waiting room time can be enhanced by choosing your seat in the waiting room with care. Sitting near the door or the check in area may prove too disruptive and make it difficult for you to concentrate. But if you find an out of the way alcove or if you know that a particular waiting room tends to be quiet, balancing your check book while you wait there can be a very clever way to use waiting room time productively .
Keeping Up with Social Correspondence A waiting room may be an inappropriate location to write out checks and pay bills but ten or fifteen minutes of waiting room time could allow you just the right amount of time to send off a thank you note, birthday card or anniversary wish to a friend or relative. If you anticipate a longer waiting period you can use your waiting room time productively by writing personal letters you never seem to get around to at home. Writing letters in the waiting room especially when waiting for someone else, can be ideal because there are so few “at home” distractions. There is no telephone, you can’t wander out to the kitchen for a snack and there is no one with whom to chat. It’s just you , the pen and the stationery you have brought with you. if you can address your correspondence from memory and you have postage with you, you will be able to check off an item that has been sitting for a long time on your to do list.
Updating an Address Book If you know your waiting room time is likely to stretch past a half hour why not bring along two address books- the old, falling apart item and the brand new one someone gave you last Christmas. You surely can use your waiting room time to transfer addresses from one book to another. This is a task that requires time and only minimal concentration, but it is also a task that we put off for spare time that never seems to come. You can check this one off your chores list with one or two long sessions of waiting room time used productively.
Short Walks Technically this is an activity not done in the waiting room, but rather an activity that you can do once you realize you don’t have to actually stay in a waiting room to be waiting. When your assignment is to wait for a friend or spouse and your know that your wait will be longer than a half hour and that your presence in the waiting room is not required by the office personnel, you can use your waiting room time productively by turning it into a a10, 15 even 20 minute walk that you know you need. Many medical buildings are comprised of long intersecting corridors that allow you to move at a comfortable exercise pace. If you are in a small office building with quick access to the outdoors you might even opt for a turn around the parking lot.
Just because you go into a waiting room that doesn’t mean that you have to stay there, especially when its a nice day and the chance for a change of scenery looms. In fact a twenty minute walk may help to invigorate you and prepare you to be better able to assist the person for whom you have been waiting when they are finished with their appointment. That would certainly qualify as productive use of waiting room time.
Handcrafts When the amount of waiting room time is uncertain, you may choose to bring along a small ongoing craft project. Knitting, crocheting, needle point anything that can fit conveniently into a small, unobtrusive carry case can be used. This kind of project will fill waiting room time productively and tends to occupy both the mind and the hands. Many handcraft projects are east to pick up and put down quickly without damaging the work. While this productive use of waiting room time is generally thought to be for women, there are men who enjoy these kinds of activities as well.
Make Lists If you are really interested in making productive use of time spent in waiting rooms you should start to routinely carry a small, pocket note book and a pen. With this very basic equipment you can be ready to make productive use out of even the shortest waiting room stays. With pen, notebook and even five minutes you can easily create one of the many lists that can help you to better organize the following hour, day, week, noth or beyond.
We all have lists to make: a grocery shopping list, a list of upcoming birthdays, a packing list, a list of errands that must be run, an invitation list, a list of books to look for the next time you are in a bookstore, a list of websites or key workdays you’ve been meaning to google, a list of bills to pay and people to call. Make sure that whatever your lists are they stay in your notebook until you arrive at home and can post them where they can do the most good.
Lift Someone’s Spirits Often while spending time in a waiting room you cannot help but overhear the problems or the anxiety that someone else is experiencing. You can put your waiting room time to productive use by gently offering encouragement or simple distraction for the distraught patient. Sometimes your comments can be as simple as taking note of a logo on a baseball cap or emblem on a polo shirt and still these comments can help to begin a quiet conversation that at least momentarily lightens the load of someone who is awaiting medical assistance. Occasionally you will hear someone who is talking about a medical problem, an insurance problem or even a parking problem and you know that you can reasonably commiserate. Your sympathetic support or compassionate advice can allow you to make very constructive use of your waiting room time because you know that you are helping someone else to get through the waiting room experience .
Read a Professional Article In almost every waiting room there is a diverse collection of magazines usually reflecting the particular tastes or interest of those running the office. You may not find many magazines that connect with your interests. But usually if you look around hard enough you will also discover a few , sometimes well hidden and often almost untouched, professional journals. If you have fifteen or twenty minutes of that waiting room time by selecting a single article in a professional journal to read and consider seriously Choosing this reading may help to give you a new view or insight about a particular medical condition or treatment. The simple truth is you are unlikely to run across this type of reading anywhere else. Reading that one article may not be the most exciting thing you can do with twenty minutes but if is likely to be instructive and is certainly a productive use of waiting room time.
Pray, Reflect or Meditate Typically people go to a church, a chapel or the silence of their favorite room when the want to pray, reflect or meditate. But the truth is that you really can pray, reflect or meditate almost anywhere and at any time if you put your mind to it. The key to using waiting room time productively to pray, reflect or meditate is to find that quiet zone in the waiting space that you have to use. Once you find that spot open up your prayerbook, take out a small phot that you might use for reflection or simply close your eyes to help block out distractions and center yourself on God or the subject of your reflection or mediation. The peacefulness and relaxation induced by prayer, reflection or meditation gives the time you have spent in a waiting a value it otherwise would never have delivered.
Few people enjoy sitting, waiting and effectively wasting small segments of their life repeatedly in chunks of time spent in waiting rooms. Though there is little you can do about the amount of time you spend in a waiting room you are in charge of how you spend that time. You can make it as productive as you chose .