Having idle time is part of life – especially for people who commute everyday and need to wait for the bus or train and for travelers who take frequent flights.
Sometimes, I find that I have too much free time while waiting so I have to find activities to pass the time. Here are my suggestions on activities you can do as well:
1. Play games
Playing games is what I call a “healthy break” because it keeps your mind relaxed. When I was still working on a day job, I would often play games while waiting for the van on the way home. It helped keep the boredom away and clear my mind from the day’s stress.
Nowadays, I always make sure I have one or more games to entertain myself. My favorite apps are Choices (a story-telling game) and Candy Crush Saga. Recently, I’ve also discovered a website called Plays.Org that offers various games.
The good thing about Plays.Org is that they offer a variety of games and there is no need to download.
It’s a good choice especially for kids. There are different types of games, from adventure to arcades (Tetris, Invaders, etc.). A lot of the games feature known cartoons like Adventure Time, Powerpuff Girls, and Spongebob Squarepants. The instructions are simple and easy to do. There are also educational games like Math Boy, Virtual Xylophone for playing music, and more.
I have nieces and nephews, so I know how challenging it can be to keep them occupied especially outdoors!
Plays.Org also has games for adults. I like browsing for variety, but mostly I settle for mahjong solitaire. It’s simple and it fits my idea of a healthy break. It’s also quite addicting.
2. Read books
Having free time is a great opportunity to catch up on reading.
I’m a voracious reader so I often have several unread books on my phone. I make sure I have one on different genres, so I can choose which one I’d like depending on my mood. I have YA, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and self-help or spiritual books for light reading. I don’t really read romance books, since I find that the quality of writing is often questionable in this genre.
If you are looking for free books, I suggest looking at archive.org which offers books on public domain and free to download. If you have an account on Kindle, you can also find books listed as free for a limited time — these books are not advertised, but you can search for them and they are listed with price $0.00.
If you’re looking for something different, why not try an audiobook too?
3. People watching
Some people like to watch other strangers while waiting in public. You can see people’s individual fashion styles or demeanor, or make harmless guesses about their life stories.
Personally, I’m not into people watching because I don’t like it when others stare at me, but I can understand its appeal. I prefer watching cats or other animals, if there’s any around.
4. Watch movies and shows
One of the easiest ways to pass up the time is to load up your phone or tablet with movies and shows.
Oftentimes I find myself without wifi, so what I do is I download the shows I like in Netflix so I can easily access them when I want to. I suggest downloading series you’ve already seen and would like to rewatch as safe choices and then new shows you haven’t seen yet.
5. Listen to podcasts
Having a song playlist is nice, but sometimes no matter how long your playlist is, it may feel like you’re listening to the same songs again and again. Sometimes this can actually make the wait more agonizing.
I find that podcasts are a great alternative to song playlists. Download a podcast of your favorite streamer, depending on what interests you have. I like discussions about shows and characters, real-life crimes, and the occasional update on spiritual topics. My boyfriend likes listening to stand-up comedy.
6. Practice meditation
If you’re waiting somewhere where you can sit down (e.g., airport), you can listen to guided meditations.
I have a list of guided meditations on my phone. Some meditations are very basic and allow you to relax and focus on the present. Others are aimed at shifting your energy or mindset to achieve a certain goal, like having a positive day or attracting more money in life. I like doing this when I can because I find them relaxing and productive at the same time.
Aside from meditation, you can also practice sitting with a correct posture and breathing correctly.
Make sure that you’re still aware of your belongings while listening to a guided meditation. Also, I find that it can sometimes make you sleepy as your body relaxes, so after listening you might want to take a walk or stretch.
7. Browse thru Reddit and Quora
One of the things that I like doing during waiting or downtimes is browsing forums.
I like going through discussions of my favorite books, shows, and movies on Reddit, as well as discovering new posts about other interests. I also like Quora because I learn more a lot about people’s stories and what’s going on with the rest of the world. I have a profile in Quora where I occasionally answer questions about my home country, the Philippines.
What do you do to pass up the time while waiting? Let us know in the comments below!
Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).