A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life. ~Charles Darwin
Do you ever find yourself waiting in line and being upset that you have to wait? Or how about pulling out your phone to kill time because you realize you have nothing to do for the next three minutes? Do you ever get frustrated because someone is making you wait for them and all you do with that time is sit in annoyance at having to wait? We are all guilty of this (myself included). However, we all know, at least intellectually, that time is precious and limited and that every moment that passes has been swept away forever. Isn’t there a better way to use our time?
The 18th century Jewish scholar, Vilna Ga’on, studied math while in the bathroom since the holy book of Torah was not allowed to be in such an unclean place. In fact, he actually produced a book on Geometry while on the toilet! While you may laugh (and wish to avoid physical contact with the original copy of his book), who can say that this man truly did not value and make the most of his time?
Now, I am not saying that we should never sit and do nothing or meditate or sit and talk idly with friends. On the contrary, these can be very beneficial and valuable experiences. However, when we realize that we will have to wait, why not make good use of the time? If we have to wait in line for five minutes would you prefer to spend it bouncing up and down frustrated that you have to wait in the first place? Or would you like to use it in a way that helps you and those around you?
Below is a list of 10 things you can do instead of killing time. Of course there are any number of things we can do and I’m sure you can add many to this list (if so, please leave a comment below), but these are things that I’ve found to be rewarding and enjoyable instead of just watching time float past me.
10 Things You Can Do Instead of Killing Time
1. Practice Positive Thinking – The perfect place to do this is when you are waiting in line for something. Why not practice positive thinking and train your brain to see the glass half-full? It’s easier than you think.
2. Strengthen Your Vision – Something many people don’t realize is that you can actually restore much or all of your visual acuity if you exercise the muscles in your eyes. Corrective lenses actually make your eyes lazier and more dependent on them (as anyone who has used them for a few years will no doubt attest to). Why not try out some eye exercises which will help bring back (or maintain) your precious eyesight?
3. Share a Warm Smile – Look around you and notice who looks unhappy and who could use some warmth. Brighten up someone’s day by giving them a kind, genuine smile. Smiles are contagious!
4. Smile for Your Own Sake – Research shows that smiling is physically good for you and will positively affect your mood (of course). If you are alone (or not afraid of what others will think of you) you can try the smile exercise given at the bottom of this article.
5. Breathe Your Way to Health – Common sense tells us that our breath is important. But do you truly know how incredibly powerful your breath is? Instead of killing time, skyrocket your energy and boost your health with these breathing exercises, proven to wake you up, boost your immunity and increase your overall health.
6. Exercise the Creative Part of Your Brain – It is no secret that our educational systems do a fairly good job of beating the creativity out of us. And of course, those who think outside the box are valuable and highly sought after individuals. Try this simple exercise to strengthen the creative part of your brain: Create a story in your mind, beginning with, “Last night I had a dream…” From there, create anything you like. Dreams are usually not logical and restricted by time and location, which is perfect for developing a unique and inventive tale. You might just surprise yourself with what you can come up with.
7. Stand Tall – Practice having a good posture. Do I really need to tell you why? Your grandmother knew what she was talking about and, it turns out, if you listened to her, research shows that you are probably more successful because of it.
9. Daydream – As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Let your mind wander into the world of imagination. Use this incredibly valuable tool that we have at our disposal. Imagine, dream and explore the wealth of your mind.
10. Nurture a Sense of Gratitude – The wealthiest of all feelings is gratitude. There are many people who have more than enough yet are emotionally bankrupt. There are also those with little to nothing to their name, yet they radiate joy because they are grateful for what they have. To feel wealthy, nurture a feeling a gratitude. The most effective way that I have experienced to do this is to say (out loud if possible) the following affirmation of a female zen master:
“Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.”