Dead Time

Long-term boredom can’t lead to anything good.

If you’re on a plane, on a bus, in a queue or just have some free time to yourself then chances are you aren’t really sure what to do.

If you continually find free time but fill it with television, surfing the net, aimless walking or driving, repetitive cleaning or organising then you’re filling the time as being in motion is preferable to not.

By planning your free time or at least having some filler activities on standby, you can keep boredom and mischief at bay whilst sidestepping that awful feeling of wasting time but not knowing how better to spend it anyway.

But how?

To put this in context I am the king of boredom and I also detest wasted time, so for me dead time was always an opportunity to become irritable and restless until I figured out what to do.

The day I realised that dead time is actually a timely gift- the game changed.

That’s the key – perceiving this free time as a gift rather than an annoyance changes the game.

Now I see plane journeys as a chance to watch films or read books in peace and quiet, queues are a chance for a few deep breaths and some light meditation.

Traffic jams are a great chance to make phone calls to catch up or to listen to audio books or classical music to be absorbed.

So what’s the plan?

The plan is to simply layout a few activities you can rely on in times of boredom.

Plans always sound so rigid and formal- the fact is a plan just means you thought ahead to anticipate the situation.

So what’s to anticipate?

Well you need some short term enjoyable activities you can dip in and out if at will but they must absorb you whilst you do them.

Here are some examples to set you in the right direction:

  • Reading a book or magazine
  • Taking a brief nap
  • Walking a short distance
  • Practising mindfulness or meditation
  • Calling a loved one just for a chat
  • Doing something nice for your partner – a note, call or message to say you love them.

Take some time to consider small activities you may enjoy and keep them on standby for the next time traffic comes to a halt or your flight is delayed.

Yes this sounds a little obvious, but if you have found yourself frustrated in a queue cursing your misfortune it might be time to change your perception.

While those around you waste the time and curse their misfortune, you can capitalise on a chance to pursue calmness and happiness.