How to Use Those Usually Wasted Minutes During your Day

Time is a leader’s most valuable asset (Click here to Tweet that). However, most leaders have several minutes (Even hours) of wasted time during the day and week. The problem even affects the most productive, effective, and time conscious leaders. This is because time can be easily be wasted during a break, waiting for a client, in between meetings, walking from one area to the next, arriving early to work or an appointment, ect. Below are 8 practical solutions for how to use those free minutes during the day:

1. Read – Smart devises allow you to have access to books, magazines, and blogs. Why not read a few pages or blog post during those usually waited minutes. I have had several people ask me how I read and comment on so many blogs, part of the answer is that I read several blog posts throughout my day then comment on them when I’m at home.

2. Listen to audio- When you have a few minutes you can listen to a podcast, audio book, or music. Listening to audio can give you a boost of inspiration and motivation. Both reading and listening to audio throughout the day can allow you to grow and develop your leadership abilities.

3. Write- The next time you have a few free minutes you can write something you want or need to remember down, this can include a to-do list or an idea or thought. The program I mainly use for this is Evernote, which I highly recommend.

4. Take a minute to breath- A few minutes of unproductive or down time can be very beneficial for a busy leader. It can be a time to relax and take a breath which can calm the body and mind. A few minutes of quite time can do wonders for you.

5. Make a phone call- During those usually waited minutes you can make a phone call, to those people you have been wanting to or needing to call. For leaders, this can be valuable because it can allow you to give a follower, co-worker, friend, or family member a call so you can encourage them.

6. Catch up on your email- Looking through your emails, and responding to them can allow you to have and keep a low email in box. This can be done when you’re in or outside (through a phone) your office.

7. Pray- During those usually wasted minutes a person can take time to pray. This is one of the most valuable and beneficial ways to use your time. This is because staying closely connected with God through prayer can allow us to lead effectively.

8. Build your online platform Leaders who have an online presence can be visible through social media during those free minutes. It’s also a great way to start or build your online relationships, which is a significant aspect to being an online success.

Implementing these suggestions can help you gain back those usually wasted minuted during your day which will allow you to maximize your time.

Question: Can you add to the list? what are some other ways a leader can do during those usually wasted minutes during the day?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Along the lines of prayer Dan, we can meditate for a few minutes to be more mindful of our day to day actions. And it will help increase focus and concentration.

    I try to run errands, eat meals, reach out to friends via phone or email and listen to music during my periods of down time or during breaks. While driving, listening to audio books has been the most helpful and keeps me awake. Always looking for a few good audio books to listen to in the car during long car rides.

    • Meditation is a great addition Vishnu! Great ways to maximize your time. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  • I love listening to audio Bible and audio books in general. I listen when I walk to work, I also listen every morning as I get breakfast ready for my kids and as I’m eating breakfast. That ends up being at least an hour of time every day that I would otherwise have lost!

    • That’s great Caleb. Keep using your time well. I also save about 1 hour or so each day by listening to audio books or podcast during my commute. Thank you for sharing.

  • DS

    Reading and writing during those down times are the one’s I use the most. These are can definitely be great ways to regain some of your lost time.

    • That’s great, do you use Evernote? Glad to share some other ways:)

      • DS

        No – I don’t have a smartphone, but I manage.

        • So you use the classic method, pen and paper?:)

  • When I was commuting to school, I loved reclaiming the time. At first, I would ride down the interstate in the early-morning fog of student fatigue. Finally, I reclaimed the time by listening to constructive programs or turning the radio off and spending the time in reflection. Sometimes we miss the importance of quiet time. Reclaim your wasted minutes and turn them into powerful moments to recharge and reflect.

    • It’s great you started to regain some of your down time! Taking time to reflect and think during are commute is so important and valuable. Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. I appreciate it.

  • Dan, great suggestions. One I’d add is reviewing Scripture.

    • I second that. I’ll even say meditating (or muttering) Scripture :)

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Charles, thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Great post Dan. These are some great points.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, I hope it helps.

  • Great thoughts! I agree with what you mentioned. I always like to be doing something, so when I have down time, I enjoy reading, connecting with people on my social media accounts, golfing, writing, and talking with people.

    • Thank you Brandon. Those are great things to do during down time. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • I’ve multi-tasked for so long that this list is pretty much a habit for me now. For some of us the challenge isn’t to be as efficient and use the seconds for productivity, my challenge is to see all life and it’s struggles unfolding before me… interesting the stories and raw beauty that is waiting to be discovered… I know that you know how to be productive, but I also know how important your family is to you. I sense a cup of coffee is in our near future!

    • Nice! You must be a master multi-tasker:)

      Oh, the waiting season until we become “discovered”. Being productive (online) is harder these days due to spending a lot of time at work and with family. YES, a cup of coffee is in my future:) Thank you for being along the journey with me:)

  • This post serves as a good supplement to my laziness & idleness series, because it really gets at how you can make idle times in your lives have purpose and thus show the value of time. One I would add, and you sort of got at this with prayer and taking a minute to breathe, is rest. True rest has value & purpose because it rejuvenates and prepares us for future productive activity. Great tips, Dan!

    • Hello Kari,

      It does:) Great thoughts about rest. God commands us to rest and our bodies demand it. Thank you for sharing.

      • The question is, then, why do we neglect rest so often? It’s often the first thing to go when life gets a hold of you.

  • Excellent points. I like to use the time while I am working on something at work to listen to a podcast or inspirational message. I also use about 30 minutes of my lunch time to read, write or study.

    • That’s great Bernard! Using lunch time or a break to grow our leadership is so beneficial. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • I’d say catch up with family. The times that have blessed me the most are when I get the chance to have a great conversation with my wife. She is really a good advisor on a lot of things. Hearing from her, even when I don’t want to hear the advice that hurts, really helps me a lot.

    • That’s such an important and valuable point. Taking time to call our spouse during the day is so important. Godly wife’s are the best, they keep us in line:) Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • One thing I like to do is to write notes to my spouse and leave them for him to find…words of encouraging, scriptures, prayers, praise and appreciation for all his hard work. Sometimes we don’t have “time” to let our loved ones know how much they mean to us and a little note can go a long way in letting them know they are always in our hearts and minds.

    • That’s really cool TC Avey!!! It sounds like you know and do things that are inline with his love language. Words of encouragement from our spouses is so valuable. Thank you for sharing:)

  • Great points Dan, I love all of them. I’ve found lunch breaks and breakfasts to be a great time to catch up on my reading list (cos my husband is away at that time). I am trying to get into the habit of reading something relaxing, not just “heavy” books but am not there yet :) I also fellowship with God when am exercising. it’s amazing the many things we can do if we take advantage of the little moments laying around in the day.
    I agree with you about relaxing as well, we can’t pack up too much in our days! A good leader is a relaxed leader :)

    • Thank you Ngina:)

      Those are all great! It sounds like you maximize your time, keep it up:) Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation.

  • I always always always have an aticle I’ve printed out, a magazine, or a few sheets of paper with me. I read in the elevator, while waiting for others to come to a meeting, or just down time.

    • Great way to maximize your time David! It’s amazing what we can get accomplished or done during those down times. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Back on Monday, I was stuck at the repair shop getting an oil change and new tires put on the Taurus. I used that time to do something I’ve wanted to do for months: clean up the apps on my iPhone – getting rid of ones I don’t use anymore and reorganizing them based in the ones I use the most. I also knocked out a lot of messages in my inbox. I like to use my little moments of free time to do stuff like that.

    • Great use of your time Jason! Thank you for sharing a personal example:)

  • Plan. A leader can take those spare moments to strategize needs and solve problems either mentally or on paper.

    • Great addition Dan! That’s a great way to use our down time.

  • Great thoughts Dan. I like the first one the best. You will never find me without a book!

    • Thank you Luke. Ha, same with me:) I always have a book or my phone handy. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • Hi Dan,

    Wonderful post my friend! One thing I like to do when I have a few spare moments, which is related to the point you made about breathing, is to spend a few minutes meditating and just observing by respiration going in and out. It really helps me to stay focused and in the present moment.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you Hiten, I appreciate it. Taking time to meditate is a great use of those our down time. Thank you for reading and adding to the topic.

  • I usually ask myself a few things for review:
    1. How am I living out my mission today?
    2. How have I exuded my cor values today?
    3. What am doing to reach my vision today?

    Then, I write these down. This helps me internalize many things I’ve learned.

    • Those are great questions to ask our self’s Paul! Your defiantly living a intentional life! Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • Good list! You touched on this with #5 above, but lately I’ve been trying to take a moment and ask/pray “Who could I invest a few minutes of time in, for no other reason than to make their day better.” It’s been fun – and will hopefully become a habit! I also like your reminder to “Listen to audio” – DOH! I have tons of un-listened-to audio books/blogs.

    • That’s a great prayer. I try to do the same thing. It’s a powerful way to show someone we care and love them. Ha, me too. I have several Podcast I need to listen to this week/weekend. Thank you for stopping by to read and add to the discussion. I appreciate it.

  • Brenda McGraw

    Hey Dan. Thanks for the post. I am trying to do all of these. I just started building my online platform this year! Glad I found your site thru TW! Have a great day! Brenda

    • Hello Brenda,

      I think your going to save a lot of time when you use these tips. Thank you for taking the time to stop by. Do you have a site or blog? Talk to you soon!

  • Great list Dan! I have learned that I need to identify how I will spend these slices of time BEFORE they happen – this keeps me from wasting them. I ask myself “What will I do when I have 2 minutes of free time?” That saves the trouble of making the decision in the moment.

    • Thank you Jonathan:) Great point about being prepared before those down times happen. Thank you for adding so much value to the topic. Genius comment.

  • Awesome list of things to do to use up those spare minutes in the day. If we all think with a conscience mind like this we would accomplish more and most likely triple our production. Thanks for the suggestions Dan,.

    • Thank you bro!:)

      It all start when we have a “conscience mind.” Thank you for reading and adding to the topic.

  • Angela McCall

    I just love your blog, Dan. You always include God. And this is very important. I try to make a consistency of praying before I start work. He is my number one partner in business!

    Angela

    • Thank you Angela:) Praying before work is a good habit. It’s always good to hear from you.

  • Very useful and supportive article. I wish I can do all of
    that in a short period of time.

    • Thank you:) It’s about doing one or two of the points throughout your day. Thank you for sharing.

  • Charly Priest

    Great tips, I usually focus on your tip number 8, I find it useful to read every other day the blogs that follow me and the blogs that I follow. Really read one of their posts, not just glance over it and make a little comment that says “great post” or “very interesting and helpful” because you can see that person really didn´t read it and didn´t really gave thought to the writing. He just glanced over it put a “Liked” and leave a little comment which doesn´t add to the conversation. This last part I think is crucial to add to the conversation or make a thoughtful comment. It´s both rewarding for the person who reads the comment because he or she can see that you really gave thought to what they wrote and at the same time it´s rewarding to myself since it gets my brain working, and I can come up with a new idea that I can use or not, but it´s the process of making the wheels turn in your head that gives you that bit more of knowledge, that´s why I follow very different blogs, always try to keep learning new things.

    • Hello Charly,

      Great point about leaving good and well thought out comments. Every comment we leave should add to the conversation and topic. It’s amazing what we can get done through or phones to build our online platform. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • Love these ideas, Dan – especially #4 and #7, because they speak to the idea that it’s not all about productivity. I write from home, so I often use small bits of time to clean, cook, and play games with my 17 year old daughter (we play short ones – backgammon or a few hands of rummy – sometimes we’ll have a game of Scrabble going throughout the day and just keep coming back for a few rounds).

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Barb! Taking breaks (especially when you work from home) is so important. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • Love this post, Dan! I think the best way to take advantage of those minutes is to have a plan. Have a list of brief little things you can do if you find an opportunity of a few open minutes.

    • I thought you might. Having a plan is a great idea. Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation.

  • Dan – I’m reading this while.sitting in the backseat of a carpool headed to a meeting 2 hrs away. 4 hrs of car time to read, write, pray…pretty much 1-8. These are fantastic! How do you personally keep the “quiet time” in check? I think it’s most important but often takes a backseat!

    • Hello Matt,

      That’s great you planned your time during those hours! I try to take time to think in the morning or/and evening. I guess another point to add is to think/reflect which I also try to do during the spare minutes. Hope your trip was good:) Have an amazing week!

  • My favorite thing to do is to read or listen to audio books while riding the bus. It’s hard for me to believe how many people waste that time every day doing nothing more than listening to music or playing games on their phone!

    • That’s great, I love audible.com. Cheaper audio books that I can listen to while I’m doing other things (like driving or working out). Thank you for reading and sharing.

      • Yes, audible rocks!

        • danonleadership

          It sure does!

  • Btw, Dan the site design is looking awesome! Way to go!