When I posted in my Forbes column about ten actions to take while you wait in-between job interviews, I clearly touched a nerve because the post racked up almost 10,000 views in its first day. Today’s professional treats busyness like a badge of honor so it makes sense that tips on maximizing down time would resonate. It got me thinking about how to maximize even smaller bits of time, like simply waiting in line. What can you do to maximize these short bursts of availability? Here are ten good habits to develop while you wait in line:
Find yourself without your book? Download the Kindle app to your phone and always keep at least one title on your Kindle (you can borrow e-books from the library for free).
Bless your energy centers
I heard this tip during a meditation conference led by Joe Dispenza. You have seven energy centers running from your pelvic area to the top of your head. Actively focus on and send positive energy to each one.
Practice belly breathing
You know the calming, restorative benefits of deep breathing but we all forget to do it. Let a waiting time be the reminder to sneak in a few.
Send a catch-up email
Resist the urge to dive into your everyday email, and reserve your waiting time for an email to someone you don’t normally interact with. You know the benefits of a wide network. Let your waiting time be a networking cue.
Send a thank you
Like networking, gratitude is another good habit worth cultivating. While you wait, find something to be thankful for. If it’s something someone did for you, send that person a thank you. Or send your thanks to the universe for at least one specific piece of good fortune.
Say a positive affirmation
In addition to gratitude, positive affirmations boost your mood. If you’re not into affirmations, use a motivational quote.
Visualize reaching a goal
Pictures speak louder than words, so goes the cliché. If that resonates with you, spend your waiting time visualizing in detail and full color a successful outcome to one of your goals. I often imagine the places I want to travel.
Practice your balance
Spend your waiting balancing on one foot. Count to ten and switch so you cover both sides, and don’t have to remember which foot to start off with next time!
Even if you don’t have a lot space, you can open wide and stretch your jaw, move your head from side to side and stretch your neck, shrug and relax your shoulders or flex your wrists.
Say hello to someone waiting with you
Even small social interactions yield big benefits to your longevity as this fascinating TED talk by psychologist Susan Pinker shows. If your tendency is to look away while waiting for your floor on the elevator or standing in line at the grocery, you might think differently when you realize that social integration is the number one booster to living longer.
Any of these ten habits can be practiced in seconds. You can maximize even short bits of waiting time and develop good habits whose benefits linger long after you’re off and running again.