I am sure you have experienced hindrances in what you do in some way, shape or form.
For instance, you have been kept waiting for someone to return before you can resume working. Perhaps you are wrestling with an ancient and inexorably slow ERP system where you have to wait for the screen to be updated, for the report to be generated, for the computer to be done processing before you proceed to fill in the missing entries.
Not to mention all those queues we have been stuck in when we are about to purchase something, pick something up or fly somewhere. Well, I am sure you are filled to the brim with similar examples.
Isn’t it frustrating?
But, you can avoid this awful frustration altogether if you take matters into your own hands and instead make use of the situation being what it is.
Rather than moping and being aggravated by the system being slow or rigid, or that the computer must reboot (“Do not turn off the computer. Updates are being installed. The computer will shut down automatically…”), do something else while you are waiting.
Formulate something, sketch something you want to work on, make a phone call.
Do whatever you can now which you will need to do later anyway. Not so much because you need to, almost with compulsion, fill every waken moment with useful activities, as for that you want to avoid becoming irritated, since that is what is really draining you of your energy, joy and vigor.
In order to be well prepared once these situations occur, do the following:
- Decide upon a specific way in which you mark the to-do-tasks which are “good candidates” for being a task you can do while waiting for something else. It needs to be a way which matches the format of your list. If you keep your list by using the Outlook task-function, you have the possibility of adding a column which you only use for the sole purpose of tagging the tasks good for filling time otherwise spend waiting. If your list is in some other digital format, it might be possible for you to set up a separate category, type or group which will symbolize that the task is an appropriate “in-waiting-for…”-task. If your list is on regular paper – make a certain squiggle by each task of this type or high-light them with a particular marker. Or, do this step in some other way entirely which suits you better.
- Now go though your to-do-list and tag all the tasks you can have prepared, all ready to be completed when you for a moment are stuck with what you are primarily involved in and cannot progress immediately.
- When you are in the middle of doing something you already know will mean periods of waiting, chose one of these tagged tasks from your to-do-list and get out the material you will need to do it (open the document, the spread-sheet, or what ever it might require, in a window which you keep open in the background), so that you quickly can switch activity to the alternative when you have a moment of pause in your primary task.
A well made swop
If you do this and trade the frustration for a feeling of energy and vigor, your life will momentarily become significantly more pleasant and you will even get more done, which will in turn contribute to you feeling and being less stressed than you would otherwise.
That’s a good swop, wouldn’t you say?
How do you do it?
What is to you a perfect example of a “killing-time”-task to do while you are waiting for something? Leave a comment to let others know.