Hurry Up and Wait!


The other day I was speaking at the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) conference and would be arriving home too late for afternoon camp pickup. I told my husband that when he picks up our son he should be at camp no later than 4:00 p.m. He was there at 3:50 p.m. and waited in the long car line for at least 20 minutes before he made his way to the pick up area where Jonathan was brought to his car.

He thought it would be helpful for me to know that as he was leaving camp at 4:10 p.m., he noticed there was no line. If I got to camp around 4:10 p.m., I wouldn't have to wait in line at all.

He was absolutely correct and I knew that. But I had made a conscious decision to wait in the line because it was a good time turn the car off and read. I didn't realize it until then, but I was completely cognizant of my decision and very happy about it.

I started thinking about how much time we spend waiting. We wait on hold waiting for "customer service," a friend or business associate we're meeting, sitting in traffic, etc. Waiting can make some of us get impatient, aggravated or just plain grumpy.

However, not getting too philosophical about how our level of patience has decreased and our need for instant gratification ("clicker" mentality) has grown, I want to suggest a way to ease the "waiting time." The suggestion, simple as it may seem, however possibly profound (perhaps profound is too filled with hyperbole, yes, way too much hyperbole), here it is--be aware of those times when you are most likely going to wait and be prepared or better, look forward to them.

Work your schedule so that you have the opportunity to wait and decide that you want to wait and have some "quiet" time to do nothing. Or take a book, favorite CD's, MP3 player, bills to pay (not while driving stop and go), emails to respond to, a list of calls to people you've wanted to be in touch with but seem to have "no time" for making the call, and so on.

Hopefully you don't think that this defies the notion that you'll be more productive by waiting until the last minute to leave so you'll get more done--quite the contrary--having time for yourself, and deciding to have time for yourself, puts you more in control of your day. When you're in control, you are less stressed and it snowballs into positive energy. Decide to wait and hopefully waiting will be one of the simpler pleasures you can enjoy!

Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.