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10 Ways to Stay Productive While You Wait

Caregivers: use your waiting time wisely.

Caregiving takes compassion and commitment. It also requires patience to serve the person in your care. Standing in line at the pharmacy and supermarket, waiting in the doctor’s office or at physical therapy, in a traffic jam or at a red light when running errands…you could be using that time with a purpose.

What are the best ways for a caregiver spend time like that?

Advice From Friends

We did an informal poll here at CaringBridge (our people work with and think about caregivers every day). Their suggestions ranged from practical pursuits and self-improvement projects to puzzles and games and from high-tech to low.

  • Going digital. Androids, iPhones, iPods, Kindles and many more amazing little machines like them are perfect for filling waiting time. You can surf the Net (viewing sites like WebMD.com), email, read the newspaper, check movie times, post to your favorite social network or leave a message in someone’s CaringBridge Guestbook, anywhere and any time.
  • Reading. Doctor’s offices have tons of magazines. In other venues you’re on your own. Paperbacks, magazines and your smartphone are light, portable and purse-ready. Eight-lb. Tom Clancy hardcovers, not so much.
  • Writing. Many work on to-do lists, holiday cards or thank-you notes, dinner menus, notes-to-self or journal. And everybody thinks they’ve got at least one novel in them.
  • Have a conversation. Some CaringBridge respondents say they like to strike up conversations with others waiting with them in line and claim people are usually friendly, often interesting and sometimes downright delightful.
  • Knitting. Several women said they pull out a project-in-progress whenever they’re waiting. Making cozies for their iPhones?
  • Power-napping. A 20-minute snooze or a brief meditation break can rejuvenate you. Not recommended while driving.
  • Networking. Your smartphone does so many things, we almost forget that…HELLO!…it’s a phone, too. Perfect for confirming schedules, making business calls or simply touching base with a friend.
  • Solving puzzles. There are brain-teasing crosswords, Sudoku, word scrambles, Word Sleuth, Kakuru, Hashi, Pick-a-Pix and many more.
  • Learning a language. There are some very good instructional systems that load easily onto iPods and tablets. Become fluent in Spanish, Italian, Mandarin – about any language you desire – in your car, a waiting room, or even at home.
  • Gaming. Caregivers need escapes too, and mobile devices deliver endless options. Some puzzle games like Candy Crush are wildly popular and played by millions on their phones. And if there’s a table handy, some still whip out a deck of cards and play Solitaire.

Other suggestions: people-watch, back up data to iCloud, do finances, listen to a podcast, view YouTube, get a new recipe, pray, think of three things you’re grateful for.

How Do You Pass Time Productively?

All of us and our readers want to know. Share your secrets here.


About the Author:

Tom McNulty is a guest blogger for CaringBridge and the author of “CLEAN LIKE A MAN – Housekeeping for Men (and the Women Who Love Them)”.

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