Making Use of Wasted Time

| April 9, 2014 | 19 Comments

scribbles of a crazy commuter...

scribbles of a crazy commuter…photo by I Tell Stories

I think most mothers (and fathers!) would love to find an extra few hours in the day. And we all collectively groan when the time comes to “spring forward” and we “lose” an hour. But I recently realized that I was losing two hours a day of potentially productive time. I am not talking about cutting out TV or the computer, which are both more obvious time-sucks. I realized I was losing the time by not making better use of the 120 minutes I spend daily commuting by public transit.

Yes, I take the red and white limousine to work each day. I work on the Gatineau side and when you take into account traffic, gas, and a parking pass, commuting by car quickly loses its lustre. Yes, it’s more comfortable – you aren’t sitting beside a total stranger and trying not to fall asleep on his shoulder at 6 am. But it just didn’t make sense for me. I don’t like wasting money and I don’t like traffic. Makes it an easy decision.

So, here I am sitting on my 261 Express from Lebreton Station (yes, I have to transfer –can’t have it all in life!) and writing my blog post to you. I realized the benefits to riding public transit early, such as reading or using my smart phone to answer emails, but I didn’t think outside the box. I wasn’t interested in bringing my tablet on the bus in case I dropped it, or someone decided to pluck it from my hands, but I was willing to bring my notebook and a pen. Yes, that’s pretty old school for some. But my trusty pen and paper are helping me to be more productive as a writer and blogger. When I am on the bus, I can jot down ideas for short stories, or draft a full blog post that only takes a few minutes later in the evening to type (in front of the TV! Haha). I am not good at “multi-taking” well when it requires my brain to be in multiple places at once (are you?). For example, I couldn’t watch a favourite TV show and type a blog post from scratch at the same time. My mind has to be on either one or the other. Not both. But on the bus, although  people are usually talking all around me and you have the usual noises of traffic whooshing in and out as the doors open and close, I can tune it all out and focus on what I am doing.

So, I am a little embarrassed that I spent so many lazy hours reading articles on the internet or looking up random bits of information on Google while I was struggling to find time to write each day. The time has been there all along, I just didn’t make proper use of it.

Are there any “time-wasters” in your day? If you had more time in the day, what would you spend it on? 

*Read this article with Regina Spektor’s “You’ve got Time” in your head… 🙂

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Category: Living, Travel, Wellness, Work

About the Author ()

Samantha lives in Stittsville with her husband, Jon, and their daughter, Mary. Samantha works full-time for the federal government and also enjoys writing part-time, including as a writer for Ottawa Parenting Times Magazine. Feel free to check out her website – and follow her on Twitter @I_Tell_Stories

Comments (19)

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  1. Brenda A says:

    My guilty time wasting pleasure is watching video on my computer from the Food Network. I call it “dinner research”.

  2. Janet says:

    Yeah, I goof around on the computer when I could be working on my drawings. I just want to check one more article or pin one more cool idea, then, boom, it’s my 9:30 bedtime!

  3. Lea S. says:

    I have so little time these days to myself that there are always competing things that I could be doing. No matter what I do, I could think that I am misusing the time by not doing something else. I try to just ignore that feeling now and get things done, one-by-one, without going crazy in the process.

  4. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    I loved this post and of course nearly everyone wastes some time during the day but sometimes that’s just what you need to do to give your brain a break – mine needs lots of breaks for coffee, though I am on my computer at the same time so that doesn’t really count I suppose.

  5. nicolthepickle says:

    This is good-idea post. We all do this. And I would have to say that the first commenter Brenda says exactly what I would say. Dinner research.

  6. JaimeeM says:

    When I used to take the bus to and from home, I would finish up my homework. If it wasnt done in class, it was done on the bus.

  7. Tara Gauthier says:

    I take the bus here to work, granted it’s an eight minute walk and then a 15 minute bus ride, but I use that time on the bus to read my paper.

  8. BobbiJo Pentney says:

    I have many time wasters in the day.

  9. KD says:

    I waste too much time browsing on the internet. 🙁

  10. Penny says:

    I spend too much time on the computer, when I need to be outside taking care of the garden

  11. Judy C (Judy Cowan) says:

    My time wasting is Pinterest, but I consider it menu

  12. Lynda Cook says:

    I spend way to much on the computer, but then it’s only me and hubby left at home, the girls are gone and he works so here I sit all day long, not a very interesting day but it keeps me busy

  13. kathy downey says:

    I have MS and do not get out much and the computer sure helps me past the time !

  14. Dussel_Brad! says:

    A cool initiative I must say 🙂 I am sure you must be knowing that it is not just time saving but saving in couple of other ways to! I have been doing the same from quite a while now; probably the best way to save extra expense, time and especially for intra-personal communication.

  15. Karen D says:

    Wise use of time!

    You could also meal plan, or make up your grocery list too!

    I spend too much time online… But I like to call it research… 😉

  16. Laurie P says:

    Great use of your time! I get a little “freetime” in the a.m to be online. But if I could have time without a little one around, I’d love to catch up on my sewing. Can’t even think about busting out the machine with little miss “mine” around.

  17. Wendy Jabkowski says:

    I definitely waste some time on the computer but I’m putting off not-fun things like housework so I can’t help it!

  18. kathy downey says:

    It seems I find myself here more often

  19. Debbie White Beattie says:

    I’m disabled and the computer and TV get me through the day

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