Today I had an appointment with a doctor whose wait time is typically 1-1/2 to 2+ hours. As my life becomes more hectic, I’ve found new ways to be productive while waiting. Here are a few ideas beyond the obvious “read a book”:
- Balance your virtual checkbook. My favorite budgeting program is You Need a Budget (YNAB). It’s a web-based budgeting program that works on the premise of budgeting money you have, not what you hope to make. I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to manage their income and expenses as well as finally live by a budget. Bring your receipts and a list of your bills, and spend time entering data in YNAB on a laptop or phone. Oh, and they have a free trial of over a month, so check them out!
- Run some errands. When I check in at my doctor’s office, I always ask how long the wait is going to be. If they predict longer than 30 minutes, I ask if I can give them my cell phone number to call while reassuring them that I’ll be closeby and able to come quickly. Today this strategy worked like a charm. I was able to grab lunch and also shop for some much needed items all with time that would have been otherwise wasted. They called me to tell me I was next in queue, and I was at the office within five minutes.
- Plan your next masterpiece. Sometimes I’ll use the wait time to plan a little art. While good old pencil and paper work, another option is a wonderful digital art program that I enjoy creating art in. It’s called ArtRage and is available for PC, Mac, iPad and iPhone.
- Write a letter. Letter writing is an inexpensive hobby for me, and I still enjoy receiving handwritten letters so much. I have a few pen pals from the USA as well as New Zealand. It’s easy to bring some stationery and a fountain pen as well as book or other hard surface to work on (or ask to borrow a clipboard). Need a pen pal? For $5 you can sign up with Letter Writers’ Alliance and receive two pen pals personally selected for you. Your membership in LWA is lifelong, too. Need some letter writing inspiration? Check out Alexandra Stoddard’s book The Gift of a Letter. It’s out of print but easy to find new/used copies of for pennies.
- Organize your medical records. There’s no better place than your doctor’s office to work on documenting your personal medical history. I keep a file folder on my computer desktop titled Personal History, and in it goes every major appointment or diagnostic study I’ve had. There are also several apps that let you keep a medical history. My favorite iOS app for this task is My Medical by Hydrax Inc.
What about you? Do you have any ways you stay efficient while waiting for others? Please share in the comments!