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13 Creative Ways to Use Wait Times Productively


Productivity Tips | Get more done in small chunks of time | What to do when you're waiting | Use wait times more productively | Get things done while you wait.

Waiting is so obnoxious y’all. It just feels like wasted time.

Waiting in lines, at the doctor’s office, in the car to pick someone up… We spend a lot of time waiting.

Most of the time I just scroll through social media on my phone, which make sense. Usually when I’m waiting, I don’t have much stuff with me and I don’t want to do anything time consuming because I might not have to wait long.

There are some slightly more productive ways to use wait times though.

These definitely don’t all work in all waiting situations. It depends on where you are and how long you might be waiting but I think you’ll find some that will work so that you can get things done while you wait.

I was stuck on hold for last week and I used a few of these ideas! 

13 Creative Ways to Use Wait Times Productively

1. Review your to do list

Take a few minutes to look over your to do list. Check off what you’ve already accomplished and plan what you’re going to work on next. I always get more done when I have a plan for what to do next.

2. Do a portable craft

If you do something crafty or never feel like you have the time to do something crafty, make it into a wait time activity. Last December when Austin was in the hospital, my mom brought her knitting. Other options: cross stitching, coloring, crocheting…

3. Listen to a helpful podcast

I have been getting into some great podcasts! They’re easy to start and stop if you’re likely to get interrupted or won’t have a long wait. Plus, you can listen on your phone which I bet you’ll have with you. I’m liking Gretchen Rubin’s podcast called Happier with Gretchen Rubin if you need one to try.

4. Clean out the trash in your purse or car

Since I’m working on keeping our car cleaner, I take advantage of sitting in the car for a short wait by gathering any trash around me. Then I can easy toss it when we get home. Or if Austin is pumping gas, I’ll grab all the trash I can and throw it away at the gas station. Don’t forget to check your purse for trash too!

5. Update your budget

In a few minutes you can easily review your budget or record some receipts. I’ve been using an app on my phone to record our spending lately, so I’ll grab any receipts from my wallet and enter them in the app while I wait.

6. Create grocery list

Can you think of any grocery items you need? Start your next grocery list while you wait. I’ve been using a list app called Listonic lately.

7. Check sale ads on your phone

Most stores have their sale ads in an app these days, so you can easily look through the sales on your phone.

8. Send a sweet text to your spouse

This is so easy and often overlooked. Send your spouse a nice message or even a funny picture since you have a minute to spare.

9. Delete bad photos

If you’ve got your phone with you, go through the pictures on your phone and delete the bad ones. Everyone I know has plenty of photos stored on their phones and most of them aren’t keepers. Your photo storage might even be full. Just keep the goods ones and free up some space.

10. Read a fun book

Most people wish they had more time to read. Take advantage of wait time and use it to read a book that’s been on your reading list forever. It will make you enjoy wait times much more if you use them for something special!

11. Listen to an audiobook

I am an audiobook addict. Audiobooks are perfect for wait times because they entertain you and can quickly be paused. If you’re waiting at a doctor’s office or somewhere out in public, keep some headphones with you. Audible has a ton of audiobooks to choose from and there’s a free trial. I’ve recently listened to Eat That Frog and The Happiness Project — both super good!

12. Declutter the Area Around You

I did this the other day! I was stuck “on hold” on a tech support chat so I couldn’t leave my computer. I was in the kitchen, so I went through all of our kitchen cupboards and did a little decluttering while still in view of my laptop. If you’re out somewhere, do a mini decluttering of your purse while you wait.

13. Make a Phone Call

If making a phone call is on your to do list, this can easily be accomplished while you wait in your car to pick your kids up.

I’ve been making better use of my wait times lately. I add a few items to my grocery list, make sure I’ve recorded my latest receipts in my budget tracker or clear the trash that inevitably builds up in our car.

I always find time for scrolling mindlessly through social media (still working on doing that less) and it’s nice to get a few little things done during waiting periods. I find waiting a little less annoying when I can get something accomplished while I wait. 

Check Out These Related Posts:

How to Achieve Big Goals When You’re Too Busy

34 Great Goals to Set to Change Your Life

How to Simplify Your Schedule in 4 Steps

⇒ Ok, let’s get some more ideas! What else do you do during wait times?

13 Creative Ways to Use Wait Times Productively

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Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

Thank you for the great advice! I really like your #4. I always have a lack of time to do this!


Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

Glad you liked it!

Erin | A Welder's Wife

Wednesday 19th of July 2017

Great ideas! I love listening to podcasts while waiting. I think I am addicted to learning... haha! I also like to go through my emails and declutter them a bit. They pile up fast, so I try to stay on top of it and not let it build up to a ridiculous task.


Wednesday 19th of July 2017

Hehe, I think I'm addicted to learning too :) I've been majorly getting into podcasts lately.

Christina Straw

Tuesday 18th of July 2017

Just a thought I used to carry a small cross-stitch project in zipper sandwich bag. Kept in my glove box until I can home from work one night after midnight ( 2nd shift). As I was exiting my car in front of my apartment building a police officer pulled up behind my car and told me to sit down in my car. He then came up to my door and asked for my license and registration,. I told him the registration was in the glove box and asked permission to access it. While getting the registrationu he saw the bag of cross-stitch and said that I could be arrested for drug paraphernalia . Needless to say it went int the house . I no longer being empty bags home.


Wednesday 19th of July 2017

That's a crazy story! I don't even know how cross-stitch stuff could be drug paraphernalia!

Christina Straw

Tuesday 18th of July 2017

I do most of these suggestions daily. I don't have internet access on my phone. But I do clean out the clutter in my tablet while waiting on water to boil or something to heat up in the oven..


Wednesday 19th of July 2017

Thanks Christina! Digital clutter adds up fast!

Sarah | Baby Brain

Thursday 13th of July 2017

I love these ideas! Another favorite of mine is purging my inbox and unsubscribing from mailing lists!


Friday 14th of July 2017

That's a really great idea! Thanks for leaving that suggestion!!