In modern society, waiting has become anathema. There are times though when you just have to stay in the car: waiting for an accident to clear, dad needs a ride to the grocery store but insists on his shopping independence, or your friends are going…in there-no thanks, I’ll stay in the car.
Instead of wallowing in your boredom, consider this list of productive things to do. You will just be ‘looking’ for the time to do them later.
Set radio stations: We are all used to technology these days but changing the radio stations on the car’s pre-sets is always frustrating. Do I press set, find the station, and press set again? No, that did not work.
Doing this type of brain crunching while driving is not safe and will leave you listening to talk radio or worse, country music, if you are not careful. I like my regular rock-and -roll, thank you.
Concentrate on this and do it right when you are not actually driving or waiting at a light but passing time waiting in the car. This can be especially fun if it is not your car.
Clean insides of windows: This takes some premeditation. It means having a spray bottle of cleaner and paper towels/ cloth on hand. Now that you will be doing this time-saver, make space for such in the car somewhere.
It seems that when I get in the mood to take the time to clean the whole car, I give up when most is sparkling. A small detail like the insides of the windows is last on the priority list. Use found time while waiting to spray and wipe.
Stretching: Open the door if the weather allows and you can sit with the door open. Try stretching from side to side hanging your body out the door nearly to the ground, this feels great. If raining: head rolls, neck stretches, and finger exercises will do. These small gifts to your body feel so good; you will wonder why you don’t do them everywhere.
Sort receipts in your wallet: Not everyone keeps receipts like me, but I like to get them straightened out and in dated order while waiting in the car. I then fold them which make them less obtrusive for my wallet clasp.
I would rather get this necessity done with ‘found’ time then when I have too many other things to get to at my desk. Just pull them out (they are in order now) and get the checkbook balanced. If you carry the checkbook routinely, you might as well get that done in the car too.
Organize glove box: What exactly is in there anyway? Find out and organize it. Fold all the inevitable found napkins into a bundle, remove trash (to add to boredom buster below), and be sure your emergency paper work is easily accessible for the police. They may need it when stopping you for running off the road while trying to change your radio pre-sets.
Gather trash: It has to get done eventually. The place where you are waiting may have a handy receptacle; if not just put it in a bag or at least in one place for the time being.
Work: Many people make efficient use of waiting in the car to get ‘real’ things done. Brainstorm the work project and write lists. Read reports and make some business calls.
Catch up on reading: Keep a book under the seat for times stuck in the car. Maybe you always have one in your tote, after people watching for long enough, turn to the written word. It is more entertaining most of the time.
Okay, so there is nothing ‘hard’ to read. There is bound (no pun intended) to be a reading application on your phone. Now is the best time get familiar with it and utilize it.
Nap: Why not? We are all sleep-deprived these days. Add a blackening eye mask to the other stuff in the glove box in preparation for this if falling asleep in unusual places and positions is tough for you. Naps are absurdly under-rated. Keep some ear plugs with the mask for extra stimulation insulation.
You will love the satisfaction you feel knowing you are not getting agitated waiting in the car. You are a calm, productive, efficient, and patient waiter.