7 WAYS YOU CAN SALVAGE YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE STUCK
Every day, we run into obstacles, routine or accidental, which delay us from getting to our destinations or accomplishing our goals in a broader sense. A traffic jam may stall us on our way to work, the tardiness of those invited may prevent the prompt forming of a quorum to commence a meeting, power outage may force us to shelve important tasks that require electricity ….
There is no end to the different kinds of unpleasant happenstances that can crop up to ruin our day. We know that time is precious and once lost, cannot be recovered. This knowledge alone can get us worked up and push up our stress levels at such times. Well, since a lot of the adverse circumstances that leave us stuck at one point or place are beyond our control (like the lockdowns implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic), our best option would be to devise means of salvaging the time we were going to lose.
We can do this by first changing our perspective about the prevailing circumstance. Most of us know the Serenity Prayer. Its first stanza comes in handy to help us adopt the perspective that can prevent our stressors from going into overdrive at unwanted delays and idle time.
“God, grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And Wisdom to know the difference”
– Reinhold Niebuhr
When we are confronted with something we cannot help, rather than giving in to feelings of anxiety and lamenting its fallouts, we can look on the bright side and find creative ways to engage ourselves in order to avoid the time being totally wasted.
7 Ways You Can Salvage Your Time
What you can do to reclaim your time when something untoward crops up depends on where you are and the facilities available to you. Let’s assume you are in a meeting that is taking forever to begin or one that involves lengthy procedures you are not critically involved in but have to sit through. I was in such a meeting last Friday. It was an election and accreditation of voters, explanation of the rules, introduction of the candidates, appointment of their agents and selection of election officials took about three hours (probably two for me based on when I arrived). Imagine sitting still for two hours with your mind flying to myriad stuff you’d rather be doing. Here’s what I did in point No. 1 below.
1. Write or create something
The day before the election, I’d learnt something interesting from the Book of Esther in the Bible. I hadn’t had the time to write it down. I decided to compose a blog post about it and thankfully, it kept me engaged till the time for voting. It worked so perfectly that as I ended the post titled, “Very Often, Timing Is Everything,” the officials began to distribute the ballot papers.
Maybe you don’t write. But perhaps you draw, knit, crotchet …. Always have handy what you need to continue an existing project or initiate a new one. Think of the fun you’ll have if you’re an artist and do caricatures of people as you wait or how relieved you’d be if you spend the time finishing up the sketches for illustrating a book due out soon.
2. Read or surf the internet
Perhaps, you have a book you’re reading (it could even a portion of the Bible you’ve been longing to delve into). The unwanted lull in activities may be a good time to go through it.
Sometimes , we have a list of things we’d like to check out on the internet- new concepts to understand; developing stories to catch up on (like the ongoing hostilities between Israel and Hamas); mails, social media notifications and updates to go through and respond to. If you have a website and no virtual assistant, that means more time in cyberspace. With battery power and cellular data or Wi-Fi to browse with, you can run your internet errands.
But always carry hard copy material or something you can look at in case cellular data connections or Wi-Fi signals are weak. That would also help you to keep busy if your device battery runs down because the wait is very long.
3. Observe people, nature, other stuff
So many interesting things can be observed when we choose to look around us. We can also learn a lot from these observations. You may see an act of kindness being performed, a harsh retort to a statement …, any number of things that may be heart-warming or cautionary. A lot of my blog posts have arisen from just looking around.
4. Talk to people, make new friends
As you look around, you may see some warm and inviting faces to strike up conversations with. You can start by asking a question about what is going on, you can then go on to introduce yourself. It may not always turn into a sufficient exchange to fill the time and your efforts may be rebuffed. So pray before you approach someone and move along when you think the conversation has run its course.
5. Preach the gospel, offer prayers and encouragement
A trying fix may provide great opportunities for ministry. You can help to calm down those who aren’t taking the delay well, you can offer physical means of making them more comfortable if you can- a drink, a snack, a more relaxing seat. You can talk to them about stuff you guys seem to have in common- perhaps, you are in the same line of work, you’re both parents, you’ve both been ill recently, you love the same celebrities or media shows. If you wish to be a blessing, God will likely provide some common ground and wisdom on how to proceed.
If you get a chance to preach, share the true gospel, not the babalawo type that promises an end to all troubles once the person surrenders to the Lord Jesus. Stick to Jesus died to save us from sin. He will send His Spirit to live in us and help us live right if we repent and embrace Him. You can pray the sinner’s prayer with them if they consent and present whatever needs they reveal to God. Encourage them to join a group of believers and read their Bibles daily.
6. Listen to music
If you have an ear phone, headphones or noise is permitted, you can listen to some music and possibly sing along. It’s a great way to lighten your mood and have time fly by without your notice.
7. Make outstanding phone calls and replan your day/week …
Idle time is perfect for ringing all those you haven’t got around to calling for a while. Perhaps, you need to have a long conversation with your distant relative or give lengthy counsel to a friend. As long as you have enough privacy to do it, utilise this slow time as the blessing in disguise it is and fulfill those obligations.
You can also use the time to rearrange your duties and activities that would be affected by the current delay. After that, you can see if any of those duties can be quietly attended to while waiting, like planning a meal or tidying up the slides or video for a forthcoming presentation.
If you apply any of these means to salvage your time, you will come out of the idle time forced on you with a sweeter temper and eagerness to get on with your normal routine or what’s left of it. That would be a lot better than griping over the loss of your time, getting yourself down in spirits or succumbing altogether to sickness from heightened anxiety and anger.
Perhaps, you have other ideas that may be helpful to those trapped in circumstances that are eating into their time. Please suggest them in the main comment thread.
Thank you and God bless you!
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