Sure, I can sit in traffic without getting bad road rage. Waiting for a table at a restaurant really doesn't get me bent out of shape at all. Basically, waiting in a line is something I don't necessarily like (who does?) but can deal with.
When it comes to other things, I have learned that I don't like to wait. I like to get things done. In the last month or so, I've had to wait for several things. Contracts to be signed, next steps from a client or feedback on a stage of a project. Right now, my wife and I are in the process of buying a home which has its own levels of waiting involved.
My last few weeks have been defined by waiting. I've learned I don't like it. That said, just because I don't like it doesn't mean waiting isn't good for me.
What do to while waiting
I think the thing I don't like about waiting is the lack of productivity that can accompany it. If I'm not actively doing something, I feel useless. The thing is, those waiting times are ample opportunities to get things done that normally don't have time to. To help me cope with that "useless" feeling, I've tried to make these waiting periods work to my advantage. Some things I've done include:
- Taking a step back and evaluating what I'm working on from a big picture perspective. What's going right? What areas could be adjusted?
- Look for details or holes in a project I may have accidentally overlooked but need attention.
- Prepare and plan for when things do get busy again, it's not as overwhelming.
- Using that time as professional development time. Keeping up with what's relevant and important in marketing and PR is time consuming. I've found that those waiting times are great opportunities to do a deeper dive into a subject I've been wanting to learn more about.
Sometimes doing nothing isn't so bad
Especially with the house buying scenario, I'm reaching a point where all the paperwork, phone calls and negotiation pieces are wrapping up. We have to sit on our hands until our closing date arrives. I feel like I should be doing something more (packing aside). But, doing nothing has its advantages.
We aren't machines, we need rest. A waiting period is a time to recharge and regroup before things get busy again. Sometimes the waiting periods are what help us power through the crazy busy times. Without the waiting, we may not be as fruitful or effective when it really counts in the busy seasons.
I've even learned that there's merit to just sitting and staring at a wall from time-to-time.
So how do you cope with waiting?