9 things you can do while you’re waiting |
More Lifestyles

9 things you can do while you’re waiting

Have a little free time? Grab a book and read for 5 or 10 minutes.

When you have some extra time on your hands — not enough to really go anywhere or paint a room, but just several minutes or at most half an hour — you may wish you could be productive rather than just kill time. Here are a few things you can do while waiting to leave the house, or waiting for that call or email, or when you just have a few extra minutes that you don’t want to waste.

1. Read a little. Be it a book, the paper, a blog or a magazine. Ten minutes of reading a day makes a difference in how you process information. You can get used to not reading, so please remember to use and treasure this amazing gift we have.

2. Floss and brush your teeth. Twice a day is good, and thrice is better. It only takes five minutes, and you will feel refreshed afterward. It’s a great little pick-me-up, and, yes, it makes you healthier. There is a connection between our oral health and our heart health.

3. If you want to freshen up but don’t have time for a shower, try washing your face. It will give you a lift and can help reduce your anxiety. If I get stuck writing a particular piece, I find that the five-minute face wash can free up my mind.

4. Put the dishes away (or in the dishwasher). Again, you are using your time wisely, doing something constructive that you will need to do later anyway. Cleaning off counters, taking out the trash, and generally picking up around the house usually takes only a few minutes, and, yes, you will feel better. Throwing in a load of laundry has the same effect. Generally, if your home is more organized, so is your mind.

5. Clean out a junk drawer. I have far too many of these, because when I’m picking up around the house, and I don’t know where to put something, it goes in a junk drawer. I have a couple in the kitchen and several more throughout the house. If I were to work on one of these a week in my free minutes, instead of staring at my inbox, the task would be done.

6. Review your social media accounts. A few minutes is all it takes, and this is a good use of time if you’re waiting to do something else. Spending hours on social media is not really social, so please manage your time on the internet. If it’s the way you choose to relax or communicate with friends, that’s perfectly fine, but that takes way longer than five to thirty minutes.

7. Throw out old paperwork. If you have files, envelopes, or opened letters on your desk, it’s probably because you don’t have time to attack the whole desk-cleaning process, or you’re intimidated by it. Start by just doing it in five to twenty minute chunks, while you’re waiting. Doing this will keep your desk cleaner.

8. Reach out to an old friend. Send a text or an email to someone who is in your life but with whom you have not communicated in a while (other than liking their posts on Facebook). Getting in touch will make both of you feel better, and that time will serve you well because we all need old friends in our lives.

9. If someone or something (with a tail) is around, you can spend a few extra minutes giving him, her, or it some extra attention. Petting the dog or cat helps us to relax, lowers our blood pressure, and makes us feel more secure and so does a nice long hug. Not a bad way to spend some time.

Five to 10 minutes is enough time to change your clothes or change your life, depending on what you choose to do. We haven’t got enough time to waste, so try to enhance your life with those extra minutes.

Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.