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Journey in 2017: Making In-Between Time Productive

in-between time

Introduction: I have committed myself to create a “journey in 2017” post at the end of each month throughout this year. This collection of content is to share my journey of trying different things that are aimed to contribute to my wellness and lifestyle as a whole. It can be something small or big, I am just challenging myself to be conscious and aware of the new things I am trying out.

Before I dive into the content of this post, I would first like to explain what I mean by “in-between time”. This time refers to the time in between important routines or tasks, such as time while driving to and fro from work, time used for taking a short break from your tasks, time while waiting for your next appointment, or even while commuting and travelling.

If you know me personally, you know that I love to schedule and plan excessively. Even when I have a free day, or am on a vacation, I still like to plan out what I want to do. I am not one of those people who can just laze in bed without any plans on the weekends. Even if I want to wind down, I set time to read, watch a movie or hang out with friends. (Some people call this borderline crazy/obsessive, but I can’t help myself)

I cannot bear to accept the fact that so much time is wasted on in-between time. I get agitated and frustrated when I realise I did nothing on a 2-hour plane ride or that 20 minutes I spent waiting for my friends to get ready.

So I decide to take up the quest to fill up these in-between time with productivity. No matter how small the task is, it gives me a sense of comfort knowing that I did not just sit there doing nothing. Oh and to clarify, scrolling social media is NOT considered as productive. Even a nap is more productive than that, as at least I am getting some rest instead of mindlessly scrolling.

So here are some time fillers I have tried out to make my in-between time slightly more productive.

1. Writing

Personally, one of the most painstaking in-between time wasted, is when I am at my regular dental appointments. Somehow, the orthodontist I go to for my braces alignment is always fully booked to the brim with his appointments. Even when I have an appointment, I end up waiting for about 1 to 2 hours. I used to hate it and resent it so much that it puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

So what I do now is I use the time while waiting to write. I could get work done too, as long as I have sufficient data. But mostly, I like to take this time to write. Be it drafting out content for my blog, or freewriting or doing client work; I get some writing done.

I also write when I am waiting at the bank or in-between meetings. So as much as its dreadful to sit and wait for my turn, at least I get to finish some work and feel accomplished. It also forces me to keep up with my writing schedule instead of the giving excuses like “ah, I have been busy with other things.” Besides, instead of complaining about the long queue, I get to put my thoughts into words and make it a productive time.

2. Reading.

Since 2017, I am trying to go back to my routine of reading. Since young, my family has nurtured my elder brother and me to read. So our whole family is made up of bookworms. But ever since going to uni, I find myself to be reading less, because the time that I used to spend reading, was filled with scrolling social media and watching sitcoms.

So now I am trying to get back into my reading routine, and I find it most compelling to read during my in-between time. I try to bring along a book with me when I leave the house so that I can read during work breaks, or while waiting for my next appointment. I find myself going through my books more progressively and fill my time doing something productive. Win-win situation, eh?

3. Brainstorming/Planning.

Another thing that can fill up your in-between time is to do some brainstorming and planning. While waiting, you can write down your to-do list, groceries list, or even record down your expenses and draft out your budgeting. All you need is your phone and jot it down in your notes, or even the good ol’ pen and paper to get it done. This saves you time on going on with your tasks later on that day.

4. Listening to Podcasts.

Another in-between time that takes up quite a lot of my time each day is the time spent on driving. Because of obvious reasons, I cannot be doing work or reading while driving, so I have started to listening podcasts while travelling. I am also one of those people who cannot read in a moving vehicle (except for flying), so besides snoozing, I listen to podcasts on my rides.

It’s a great way to learn something or even fuel your brain with something useful while travelling instead of getting frustrated at the traffic. It does not even necessarily be serious or important topics, but listening in on interesting interviews and conversations can make the time spent getting from one place to another, shorter and more enjoyable.

5. Making phone calls.

Be it making a call to follow up with clients, arranging appointments or even a call to catch up with family and friends; you can make use of your in-between time to do so. Not only you get to fill your time up with something that does not take up too much energy. It might also help to put you in a better mood after connecting with your loved ones.

6. Taking a nap.

I know sleeping sounds very very unproductive, but sometimes when you have a long day with travelling or lots of work to do, taking some time for a shut-eye can do you good. Since I cannot read in a moving car, sometimes I will take a nap while travelling. This helps me recharge and ready to go on with what I need to do more productively when I reach my destination.

I always believe rest is more productive than doing mindless things. Sometimes a nap is all you need to help you get through a long and tightly planned day.

7. Getting pumped up with good music.

This final one is something that does not require any effort at all, but it does have an impact on your mood. When I am getting ready for work, or even driving (when I am too tired to listen to podcasts), I like listening to music that will pump me up. Putting on some indie or pop music that is upbeat and cheerful helps me feel more energised and pumped up. It even gets me ready to take on whatever challenges I have that day. So listening to music during my in-between time can impact my mood and make me fueled up for a long day ahead.

 

A few words before I end this post:

I know many of these are very usual activities that are simple to do, but I feel that making a conscious effort to fill up your in-between time can increase your productivity by so much. And especially for those who do not like the idea of wasting any precious time, this time fillers can help you get through your waiting time in a much more productive and fulfilling manner.

What about you? What do you do during your in-between time? Do share them with me below as I always love trying out new and different things to make the most out of my time. 

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