The traffic came to a complete stop. I had been making good time on the way to my son's baseball game after work. And then all of a sudden I wasn't. The standstill was on a stretch of Route 100 with no cell service, so I couldn't check Google Maps to see how long the backup was or the delay would be.
There's no use arguing with reality or getting upset with things I can't change, so I used the time to clean out store coupons that expired at the end of 2017 that were stored in the armrest compartment. By the time we were moving again, I had sorted through everything, and I almost felt grateful for the delay.
Wow. That's a whole lot different approach than I used to take when I hit a delay. Here are some tips to capitalize on found time.
Keep a good list. Make sure you have somewhere to store the phone calls you need to make, emails you need to send, and online shopping you need to do. Then if you hit a really long line at a store or your kid's practice runs a little long, you can actually check something off your list instead of scrolling Facebook.
Connect. Those little pockets of extra time are great opportunities to send a text to someone who's been on your mind. Your friend may even be able to respond right away, and then all of a sudden that 10-minute delay turns into a 10-minute connection. Or strike up a conversation with someone nearby, maybe someone else stuck in the same line. I read about a study asked people who were taking a train if they would be happier talking to someone or reading; the majority picked reading, but it turned out those who actually engaged with another person on the train were happier as a result.
Read. Keep a book with you, or if you use an e-Reader, keep that or use an app on your phone so you can access your books. Or if there are articles you want to read or websites you want to check out, save them so you have something to enjoy when you encounter an unanticipated delay.
Be present. Although you can use the time to check something off the list, you can also use it to do something you may not do enough of... taking deep breaths, tuning into your body, feeling connected to the world around you.
Regardless of what you do, be purposeful about it, and you'll see that delay or cancellation as a gift.
Capitalize on found time.
Photo by Callum Chapman on Unsplash