The truth is, most of us spend much of our lives waiting for something or the other: the plumber, a taxi, our new boyfriend to call. If we could only fill up waiting time with work, then our days would be so much more productive. David Maister has a really good post about waiting lines and the psychology behind them; he mentions some things which make waiting seem longer. It’s a very insightful piece written from the perspective of businesses, and I agree with all the points! Especially the one about waiting alone being longer than waiting with others.
From a personal perspective, there are a variety of things we can do to be productive, enjoy ourselves, or at least make the wait seem tolerable: listen to music, hear educational audiotapes, read, write, etc etc.
I am the first to admit that although filling up waiting time with work seems great in theory, it’s sometimes a bit hard to practice. Often, the anxiety of the wait makes concentrating on something else next to impossible.
For less stressful waits, you should always try to use up that time well. In fact, I think that’s why “waiting in groups” makes waiting seem less time-consuming: when you’re in a group, you can always interact socially.
But even if you’re not waiting in a group, you should always be prepared to wait, with a list of “do while waiting” kind of tasks. These days, thanks to GPRS on my cell phone, I can check my mail and my favorite blogs, while I wait.
What do you do when you wait?