Waiting Rooms…We’ve all been there.

You show up at the doctor’s office on time, only to discover that they’re running behind and four others with appointments ahead of you are still waiting.When waiting for the receptionist to call your name in the doctor’s office, you are powerless. You can’t go anywhere. You don’t know how long it will take. There isn’t much to do. Some people play games on their phones and some of us read. When you are busy and stressed, even a short wait feels like eternity. Every minute that you wait, is a minute wasted. “Wait time” can be the most frustrating time – if you let it. With just a little bit of planning though, you can turn the “waiting room” into a “I don’t mind waiting room”, who knows, you may actually surprise yourself by looking forward to it!

Here are some simple tips to get you started.

1. Use it to de-stress and relax

Play games, browse, respond to emails, facebook or twitter on your smartphone. Read magazines. Carry a book with you everywhere you go. Listen to music or podcasts. The key here is to make this an intentional break instead of doing all these things just because you’re bored.

2. Plan and organize the rest of your day

Most of us are so busy that we are like rats running through a maze, often landing in dead ends. Use the wait time to create a TO-DO list and prioritize/organize your day so you can be more efficient with what you have to do when you’re finished with your appointment.

3. Catch up on phone calls

Too busy on weekdays and too lazy on weekends for those “lets-stay-in-touch” phone calls? This may be a good time to catch up on those calls.

4. Exercise the “other” side of your brain

If your job mostly requires logical thinking, use this time to give the creative side of your brain a workout. Doodle, write a poem, make up a bedtime story for your kids, click away with your camera phone or just browse Flickr. On the other hand, if you are in a creative profession, use this time to jog your logical side. Solve crossword puzzles/sudoku, balance your checkbook or plan the logistics of your next big gig.

5. Get familiar with the features on your phone

Even the most non-savvy phones these days have reminders, alarm, calculator etc. And the smartphones have so many features and apps, you’d need a lifetime to figure it all out. Waiting at the bus station or the doctor’s office is a good time to explore all that your phone has to offer!

6. Strike up a conversation with someone

Never underestimate what you can learn from total strangers. You may discover a gem of a restaurant. Or fix an annoying problem. Or learn deep life secrets that only mystic strangers can teach. And don’t underestimate the joy of helping total strangers either. Being that informer, problem-solver or the mystic teacher can add a definite upward spin to the rest of your day.

7. Let your mind wander

Go ahead, indulge yourself in some daydreaming. Not the kind that involves your everyday life and it’s boring details – that’s just stressing out. Instead dream of the fabulous startup you’ll create or the fantastic vacation you’ll take… It can be quite relaxing, and who knows – it may even kindle a spark for a new adventure.

8. Count your blessings

We get so carried away in the daily grind, that we hardly take the time to count our blessings. This can be a great time to think of all that is good in your life and send silent prayers for everyone that helped make it happen. And don’t underestimate your own role in the successful things in your life – acknowledge all that is good in you and reinforce your spirit.

9. Meditate (Self-Reflection)

You can meditate practically anywhere without the need for any props, special music, sitting in a special position or chanting. Meditation is just a means to calm your mind and let go of your stress – try it.
Well, wait time — be it scheduled or unscheduled — is something that nobody likes. But if you start making good use of it you may just start to enjoy it, and who knows, maybe even look forward to it.

What are some of your favorite things to do during long wait times?