Just Wait! The Waiting Habit and How it Will Change Your Life.

Waiting… When is the last time you waited? The last time you waited not because you had to wait, but because you chose to.

Waiting: "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.", Leo Tolstoy
Be patient to have time.

Patience is great, but why wait? Instead, you check your email, browse Facebook, or check cool images on 9gag.

You can do that, but you’ll be missing out. Missing out on work.

Missing out on work

It’s surprising, but you don’t want to miss out on work. Hear me out.

You’re spending most of your time in the office. Working a job that I hope you love, but you likely hate.

Love your work? Great, this will make it even better.

Hate your work? This is the first step to falling in love with it!

If you work at a computer, which most of us do anyway, you’re bound to some downtime. If you’re not, draw the comparison between desk work and your work.

So, you’re waiting for the website to load, the next customer call, the download to finish, or the code to compile. What do you do?

You take out your phone to fill the gap. You do.

Now, think of that. When was the last time you were amazing at work? Everything was going brilliantly well, you were the star, and you felt amazing.

Want to feel amazing? Don’t choose cheap fun over waiting.

Wait to feel amazing

Why choose tedious waiting in place of a quick, harmless distraction?

Waiting lets your mind relax without breaking your focus.

Filling the wait with a side activity breaks your focus. You focus on something else.

When you do something new your mind needs to build focus from the ground up. Even harder than that since some of your focus is left with old tasks. So, your mind needs some time to go back, collect all your focus, and then build a new.

This is called attentional residue. I’ve touched on it in the Disconnecting blog post.

Switching from work to Twitter means that you’ll be a bit less focused on your feed. Nothing to cry over.

But, switch from Twitter to work and you’ll be less focused on work. This is important. You’ll be doing much better if you deeply focus on work.

The deeper your focus on work, the closer you draw to the flow state.

While in flow you’ll feel amazing.

In summary, when you wait your mind relaxes and your focus improves.

After you wait, your deep focus leads you to flow and you feel amazing.

Next time, you have an urge to distract yourself, choose to wait!

That’s the waiting habit in a nutshell.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Be patient to have time.” quote=”Be patient to have time.”]


Waiting: There are times in life breaks are more important than works. If not, make them!
There are times in life breaks are more important than works. If not, make them!

You should not distract yourself while working, but what about breaks?

Let me make this clear – you need breaks.

I want you to change the breaks you impulsively take in the midst of working. No, the website loading for 30 seconds doesn’t mean this is a break per se.

So, how to differentiate a “real break” and a “distracting break”? How do you decide when to wait and when to relax?

Take breaks away from your workspace. Physically move to somewhere else.

Once you do that, go crazy. Check Twitter, upload 13 images of your mug to Instagram, and grab a coffee. Don’t worry about work and relax at least 5,10, 15 minutes.

Those deliberate breaks will refresh you and help you avoid burnout.

I usually run a Pomodoro timer and do 50-minute sessions with 10-minute breaks. Try it out and don’t forget to experiment with the work & rest intervals.

What to do when you have to wait

There is “good waiting” and “bad waiting”.

The waiting habit is all about the good one. It’s accompanied by good feelings and satisfaction.

This bit is about the bad kind. The waiting in a traffic jam or while waiting in line at the store.

I’m sure you hate waiting in line as much as I do.  I hate feeling my precious unrecoverable time is being wasted.

But I’ve found something that makes it bearable, even pleasant: Learning.

While you’re learning time flies by, life is easy and enjoyable. You’re a creature designed to learn.

But, how do you learn while stuck in a traffic jam, you ask? You don’t ask? Well, I’m telling you anyway!

In your car, you learn by listening. Listen to books, podcasts, or talks, learn new a language and practice singing. Your car is your world, own it instead of resenting the slow driver in front.

In the bus, you can also use your hands to learn. Read on a Kindle, master the Rubik’s cube, learn card flourishes, or even practice guitar chords.

Making the choice of filling that time makes all the difference. It’s your time now. And your time is awesome.

The Waiting Habit

Waiting: "Patience is a virtue, and I'm learning patience. It's a tough lesson.", Elon Musk
The Waiting Habit will not only teach you how to be productive, but how to be more patient, as well.

Now, you know what the waiting habit is.

I’m pretty sure, you won’t need reminders to take regular breaks at work.

Now it’s your turn! Try waiting, enjoy it, and feel awesome at work!

How poor are they that have not patience!
William Shakespeare

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  • This post beautifully explains that patience and perseverance can teach us many great things in life whereas impatience can’t. Thanks for sharing!