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Barton Goldsmith column: Things you can do while you’ve got time on your hands

Time is our most valuable asset, and wasting it is not good for your psyche

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If you're in line at the bank, stuck at the office or trapped at home hoping the plumber will arrive soon, you can do a number of things to enhance your life.
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Time is our most valuable asset, and wasting it is not good for your psyche. If you’re in line at the bank, stuck at the office or trapped at home hoping the plumber will arrive soon, you can do a number of things to enhance your life, and not just wait for the time to pass.

Barton Goldsmith
Barton Goldsmith is a columnist for Tribune News Service.
Contributed / Tribune News Service

1. Get out your phone and do some work or play. You can listen to music, read an article or call a friend. If you use the time to relax or do something productive, that will help you feel better about having to wait for whatever it is you’re needing to do or get done.

2. Always be reading a book. It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year, because having a book you are leisurely meandering through is a great way to improve your mind and help you ease any tension you might be feeling. Audiobooks work great, too.

3. Make sure your playlist is up to date. It’s wise to have music for any occasion on your phone, because you never know when you might need a little Mozart or perhaps Dr. Dre. Music can lift your spirits and soothe your mood, so having it handy is a great self-preservation tool. Don’t leave home without it.

4. J.K. Rowling wrote her first book in her spare time. I think I did the same. If you’re always working on a book, you always have something to do, and the process can be very rewarding as well as fun and creative. Rowling certainly did well. There’s a book inside of you, and you know it.

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5. Organize something. A junk drawer, your desk, your bathroom counter, the garage — but wait there’s more. We all have something that needs to be straightened out, and when you complete that simple task, you get some really good energy, which will lead to better thoughts and actions.

6. Clean out your digital devices. You no doubt have too many old emails, texts and calls taking up space, both on your device and in your mind, every time you see them. Such momentary distractions add up into wasted time.

7. Do the dishes. It will take about 10 minutes, and during that time, just enjoy the warm soapy water. Afterward, you can give yourself a manicure.

8. If you have a pet, give it some love. When our cat had a cancer scare, we totally doted on her, and even though she’s been very loving her whole life, during that time she got used to the extra attention and is now demanding it. She asks you to pet her whenever you walk by; it’s pretty cute and we are soaking up the love more too. Our pets are not with us forever.

I really hate wasting time. It happens to us all, but some of these methods will make the passing of this time more pleasurable and perhaps enlighten you a little. At least you won’t be bored, and you’ll feel better about yourself.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, California, is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time." Follow his daily insights on Twitter at  @BartonGoldsmith  , or email him at  barton@bartongoldsmith.com  . ©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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