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Stuck Waiting? Here's How to Get Ahead While You Travel. Make pockets of down time work for you so you arrive focused and fresh.

By Jason Womack Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Many people say the same thing in different ways:

  • "I don't have enough time in my schedule."
  • "I'm in back-to-back meetings."
  • "I'm pulled in so many different directions, and I'm already trying to do so much in not enough time."

I understand where you're coming from. I know you're busy trying to make every moment count for something and leave the world a better place than when you found it. So I'll keep this short.

Waiting -- especially while you're traveling -- can be frustrating. Whether you're waiting for your Uber to arrive or your plane to land, it's safe to say you're not actually enjoying your time.

We live in a "more, faster, now" culture. We expect everything to get done quickly, efficiently and according to plan. But what happens when things don't happen that way? How we handle situations in which we have no control says a great deal about our character and capacity for problem-solving. Do you find yourself losing your temper quickly? Do you find someone to blame?

Related: 3 Occasions Where Patience is Key

We all get the same 24 hours each day.

Entrepreneur and self-made media mogul Oprah Winfrey views time this way: "Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift."

What if we reframed our perspective? Could you view your time spent waiting as a gift and find ways to use it for your gain instead of your loss? Better yet, what if you're finally able to get ahead because of something you did with this idle time?

Related: 5 Practices to Gain More Time and Master Productivity

Be intentional about using unexpected 'free time.'

Reflect for a moment on how you personally handle times of waiting. Do you sit back and space out? Do you get stressed or angry? Picture yourself arriving for a meeting that's been canceled, but no one told you. Would you use this extra time as an excuse to run to the local coffee shop, or would you self-direct to activities that could help you get ahead?

When life gives you a surprise block of time, it can be equally important to take a break. If you're taking care of you, you're not doing "nothing." But if you're motivated to channel your newfound time into productive work, there are a few ways to go about it even in a short span.

  • Read a chapter of a book or magazine related to your trip, event or client. You'll get ahead mentally and prepare your mind for what's to come.
  • Call to confirm any upcoming reservations. Sometimes it is hard to keep track of your bookings -- or which appointments you forgot to book -- while you travel. Ease your mind by calling and securing confirmations ahead of time.
  • Apply the 30/30 rule. The idea here is to spend 30 minutes of undistracted, uninterrupted, completely intentional time every day on something that will occur 30 or more days in the future. Checking into your schedule 30 days out eliminates the possibility of forgetting things that matter to you and helps you gain a clear vision of what's coming down the pipeline.

Related: Hustle While You Wait for Something to Happen

Find and make time in your day-to-day.

So where do you find this so-called "extra time"? Grab a sticky note or a set of index cards, or open a notes app on your phone. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, keep track of the number of times you experience having extra moments to yourself. Once you start recording your down time, you'll soon realize you actually have more minutes to yourself than you'd originally thought.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "Lost time is never found again." We are our own time keepers. Don't lose out on valuable time you could use to get ahead. It starts by acknowledging that such times do exist for you. Let your excuses live in the past, and you'll find more time waiting for you today.

Jason Womack

Cofounder, www.GetMomentum.com

Jason W. Womack is the CEO of The Womack Company, an international training firm that helps busy professionals be more productive through coaching and consulting. He is co-founder of the Get Momentum Leadership Academy, author of Your Best Just Got Better (Wiley, 2012) and co-author with his wife, Jodi Womack, of Get Momentum: How To Start When You’re Stuck (Wiley, 2016). Since 2000 he has coached leaders across industries and trained them in the art of increasing their workplace productivity and achieving personal happiness.


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