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The Second Stressor of Your Busy Schedule

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time-wasted-in-busy-schedule Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Everyone who is too busy raise their hands. Hmmm ... Every hand that I see is raised!

We are all too busy, and that’s stressful enough. Running back and forth, hither and yon to appointment after appointment, then getting back home again leaves us breathless and running on empty.

This is stressful from two major fronts: pressure to be on time to everything because we have packed as much as we can into the day, and the time we waste as a result.

It seems like a paradox that we pack as much into our day as possible yet we still feel like we’re wasting time. Why is that? Because part of the process of meeting our schedule results in downtime even though we are moving.

Time in the car, for example, (or any transportation for that matter) feels like it’s wasted. Waiting for appointments or in lines feels the same.

Wasted time is the second stressor of a busy schedule. So now we are doubly stressed: pressure to get everything done and frustration at time that is wasted in the process.

There ARE things you can do to make better use of the downtime during a busy day. For one thing, just because you aren’t doing anything doesn’t mean you are wasting the time! Relaxing is NOT necessarily wasted time if it rejuvenates you and enables you to be at your best when it counts.

Try deep breathing exercises to really capitalize on your few moments of downtime. Can you power nap? If so, grab five minutes of shut-eye when you can.

Other ideas: bring something to read in waiting rooms, taxis, on busses, or in rickshaws. (Naturally you can’t do this while you’re driving ... I have something for that later.)

Don’t want to lug around a book or magazine? These days it’s easy to read something electronically. Kindle readers, Nook readers, iPads, etc. all provide you with reading material in an easy-to-carry format. You can even read Kindle and Nook ebooks directly on your Smartphone (yes, there are apps for that!) so you don’t have to lug around ANYTHING extra.

If you read magazines, you can tear out articles that you want to read and carry them with you. It won’t amount to much, and it will allow you to get caught up during those brief moments that would have otherwise been wasted.

What about audio books and educational audio programs? You can load up an iPod and carry that with you; again, you can even listen to this kind of material on a Smartphone so you don’t have to carry around any other devices.

You can also listen in your car. Many newer models allow you to plug an audio device directly into the sound system. Or you can bring audio CDs with you.

Your audio books don’t HAVE to be business or educational. If you don’t want to have to think that much, get novels or other types of material. If you don’t want the expense, you can probably borrow them from your local public library.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter audio books. The narrator is exceptionally talented and it is entertaining to listen to the over 100 different (and discernable) characters that he is able to voice, plus the action is riveting.

My wife and I used to listen to Harry Potter books on the way to/from her chemotherapy sessions, and we have been known to drive out of our way just so we wouldn’t have to stop in the middle of an exciting passage!

The point here is that there are lots of options for you to fill-in the “wasted” minutes of your day. If you feel the stress of wasted time and relaxation isn’t something you are comfortable with, get eBooks or audio books and the appropriate devices and/or apps, and you’re all set.


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Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

I am always amazed at how many people feel any down time, no matter how little, is a waste of time. Our minds need rest also at times. I enjoy my down time, it helps clear the head, sometimes it's a chance to give my computer strained eyes a rest. Reading a book is the best way for me to rest my mind for a bit, as I tend to get lost in books. Now that I have a car again, I miss my reading time while on the bus! I'll have to look into the audio books for when I'm driving.

March 22, 2012 - 3:39pm
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