Making use of our idle time

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By Shirley Maghari

Gaining Momentum

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

HAVE you spent so much time waiting at the doctor’s office?
Do you often have to endure the long queue with nothing to do but wait for your turn?

Many of us experience how it’s like to wait for what seems like eternity that we feel we have been robbed of our precious time.

Sometimes, because of circumstances beyond control, we are forced to wait. But I’ve got some good news for you! We can make this idle time productive.


For travellers, carrying a thin paperbound book (or something to read in your tablets or smart phones) can be a great way to kill time. This is the perfect situation to catch up on your reading, upload those photos crowding up your tablet or phone, or maybe update your status on social media (don’t get too caught up on it though, or you’ll never get anything done).

Some parents bring tablets with games applications or even loom bands to keep their little ones (and themselves) preoccupied.

For busy people, having a planner or organizer can maximize their idle time by allowing them to check on their schedules.

You may want to have an impromptu quarterly review of your activities or sort out your plans for the next days or weeks. You may even be thankful upon discovering that there are some calls you need to make now that you have this extra hour.
For writers, this can be the time to plot out your next story or topic. As for me, these are the times I take out my special little notebook and list down the subjects I still want to learn more about. Others do this with their gadgets but there’s something about actually writing them down that feels good to me so for now it’s me and my notebook when it comes to my writing plans.

In another perspective, productivity does not only mean that we create an actual output for our jobs. Productivity can sometimes also mean taking a step back and giving ourselves a breather so that we can be more effective to deal with our tasks at hand.

It is, therefore, important to note that in making use of our idle time, productivity can also mean that we allow our minds to just be blank and take a rest from all the thinking and worrying.

During long minutes of waiting for the plane to take off due to heavy traffic in the runway, we can practice some meditation exercises of just being conscious of our breathing.

Some people I know practice these breathing exercises while uttering a prayer of thanksgiving each time they exhale, like a silent mantra releasing whatever negative energy inside.

Others bring their rosary so that when they find themselves in a long wait, their idle time becomes prayer time.

Some people listen to their favourite music while they wait.
However, I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re absolutely certain of your next schedule. If your ears are glued to your gadget, how will you hear when your number would be called or if there’s an urgent announcement? If you must, try to keep the volume low and leave one ear unplugged.

Idle times can happen no matter how much you try to organize your day. It is important to learn to accept them as part of our lives and like water, flow around them, to get the best of our time.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 13, 2014.


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