Waiting time. In the days of yore waiting was well normal, life was slower paced, But today in the fast world of the 21st century waiting time has become a stress factor for many. The ten minute tube trip, the half hour bus ride during rush hour, waiting in a queue most of us find it annoying and frankly a waste of time. Personally I enjoy waiting. As a non driver I am a regular user of public transport and a battle tested survivor of the long haul train and bus journey. It is one of my most valuable resources. Even today when I am travelling from Denmark to Austria on a bus. (Yes people still do that.)
The dominant cost of waiting is an emotional one: stress, boredom, that nagging sensation that one’s life is slipping away. However when used effectively waiting can be a productive and relaxing time if you can turn the negative thinking around and come prepared. Even in the worst times of waiting, the transport delay when you need to get somewhere on time waiting can be turned into a positive experience when you know how. The funny thing is that waiting time can actually be a solution to the common problem of not having enough me time. It’s true. When you make waiting time your friend it can become a precious me time ressource in a busy day it just takes 2 steps.
Step 1 : Acceptance
You have to wait to do somethings in life. Supermarket queues, train journeys, doctors surgeries (where getting in to the doctor on time is as rare and mythical as rocking horse poop) and missing there is always going to be some time where you have to wait. So accept it. Being annoyed about waiting is just going to get you stressed out. It will make you feel negative and then everything else will be negative. I got an amazing piece of advice many years ago that returns time and time again when I get delayed on trips. A delay is an opportunity. I know it sounds weird but by turning your thinking around from what a pain to what an opportunity possibilities arise. It’s alot more fun than stressing out about when you are going to get or do whatever it is you have to do next. And it means you get to be in the moment not the next moment.
Step 2: Be prepared
I actually get more frustrated these days if I don’t get my waiting/travel time in because it is so productive. Being ready for waiting time makes it nicer. The trick is be prepared. Have a stash of activities you can do in the small delays, queues long haul trips, even when ou are waiting for a partner to get ready to go out.
So from a seasoned traveller somewhere on the road between Denmark and Jutland who is currently watching the police do transport checks on her bus whilst they eat danish pastries – (I kid you not – just another exciting interlude on the highway) here are the tips and tricks I have accumulated to make more me time out of waiting time.
3 minute meditation
This is a great one and can be done anywhere at anytime. I found this on Mind, Body Green and I love it
Here’s the technique:
- Bring all your awareness to your breath. Shift your focus down to the belly and allow the belly to soften as you deepen your breath.
- Now mentally repeat to yourself, “Breathing In, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile.” Say this until you feel the shift.
- Notice the corners of your mouth begin to curl, even if you have to pretend. Notice how your breath becomes a bit more even and deep. The smile brings relaxation and carries the message “all will be OK” to your mind and body.
Personal Development Time
I am, as regulars know a disciple of Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning. I have friend who is the same yet he has many small children and a 30 min commute everyday both which used to interrupt his Miracle Morning. I suggested using his commuting time so now he uses the commute to do part of his personal development routine. Reading, journaling, ted talk videos, meditations, listening and repeating affirmations (no-one cares what you are muttering to yourself on the busy platform when you are on the way to work) and visualisation. All of these activities can be done in a 30 minute train journey. Even if you are not a MM person you can plan your commute time as personal enhancement time.
(If you don’t know the Miracle Morning I highly recommend it!)
Connect with real people
People are strange animals. We are. And fascinating to watch. People watching is one of my favourite journey habits. It sets of the imagination and reminds me why it’s so great to be human. Another great favourite pastime of mine during waiting is starting conversations with strangers. I know it’s breaking a huge social taboo but I love it. I have the belief that within every conversation in life there are messages we need to hear and pass on. And if you don’t find a message you will collect a story or maybe share a story.
Do something you love
In Denmark I often see people knitting or reading on the train. I love to draw and colour so sketch pads and colouring books are always in my bag. Find something you like to do that you can transport easily and take it with you wherever you go. On long haul trips (like to day) I like to work and write. As long as I have wifi then I am good to go and I get some of my best work done on the road. It’s a great time for long projects, overdue emails and especially research. However on the long haul trip I always set myself a stop time when I won’t work and I do something nice. Draw with netflixs is a favourite.
In a busy day it can be challenging to find the time your body needs to strech out so why not use your waiting time. Now I don’t mean lay out your yoga mat in the supermarket and do your sun salutation (well you can if you want ).There are many subtle streches you can do whilst waiting in line, for a bus that are great fo the body.Here are some ideas to get started
A hand massage is the perfect wind down and easy to do with a little practise. It is a brilliant way to treat yourself and give yourself some tender loving tlc. University youtube has some great videos for this
Do something nice
Treat yourself. Especially if you are suddenly having to wait for a long time. Waiting is much nicer with a chai soya latte (well it is in my world) or a small piece of your favourite chocolate. Or you can treat someone else to an out of the blue phone call. Doing something nice for ourselves or other people always makes a moment happier.
Gratitude I spy
I used to love eyespy when I was about 6. However as we advance with age it gets a bit dull. Gratitude I spy never gets old. As you journey you simply look around for beauty or things that make you feel grateful for seeing. When you appreciate the world around you time passes pleasantly. And time flies when you are having fun!
This weekend open your eyes to the opportunities of waiting and see if you can turn these previously frustrating moments into a part of the day that you can really enjoy. Life is precious and made better for the small beautiful moments so this weekend make some me time out of your waiting time and enjoy your life’s journey even more than before.
Happy weekend <3