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Possible things to do when just standing around???

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  • Possible things to do when just standing around???

    There are significant portions of time in my life right now where I am just standing around b/c my presence is required. Oftentimes it is important for me to pay attention, but oftentimes it is now whatsoever. Even so, my presence is still required and I cannot work on a computer, notepad, palm etc., and at this point this can't be renegotiated.

    Is there any good way to make use of this time you can think of? The only thing I could possible come up with was maybe reciting some affirmations in my head.

  • #2
    1) focus your brain power on solving the most pressing problem you are working on when not standing around.

    2) discrete isometric exercises.

    3) think about/plan what you will be doing the next time you are enjoying recreation.

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    • #3
      You can review anything that you can keep in your head, and can make mental notes for the next time you have access to paper. In addition to the content of the review itself, this is an excellent opportunity to exercise your memory.

      Possibilities for mental review include:
      * epic poetry, much of which predates writing anyway. If the ancient Greek bards could memorize all of the Illiad, so can you.
      * chess puzzles and/or chess openings. This is challenging, since it requires good visualization skills, but it will definitely improve your game.
      * anatomy: bones in the hand, muscles in the hand, etc. Probably only of interest to medical students, but at least your own body can serve as a cue.
      * foreign language vocabulary. Particularly for character-based languages such as Chinese, this is also a visualization challenge. If you like, you can start with objects in your environment, then add verbs and start building sentences.
      * things in your environment. Observe the scene in front of you. Then look away, and mentally reconstruct the previous scene in as much detail as possible. Over time, add more detail with less observation time. Trains both observation and memory skills.
      * visualization exercises for athletic activities
      * (on edit) Anything mathematical. Digits of pi, digits of e, trigonometric equalities, first n prime numbers, equations related to any technical field, etc.

      If this torture will last longer than a few weeks, you might want to consider letting your hair grow for the duration. Eventually, it will be long enough to hide ear buds, increasing your possible diversions dramatically.

      Good luck,

      Katherine
      Last edited by kewms; 08-28-2007, 06:10 PM.

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      • #4
        Can you sneak in an earphone / ipod shuffle?

        Could you listen to podcasts, foreign language tapes, seminars, books on tape?

        Regards,

        Matt

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        • #5
          If you can direct your focus elsewhere for chunks of time, the following would be productive:
          • Catch up on your reading - bring your Read/Review folder for FYI reading, and bring project folders or your Action Support folder for critical reading.
          • Bring project materials (they're in folders, right?) and do some planning/status review.
          • If you can make a phone call, do "call" actions.
          • If you can bring your laptop, do actions requiring it.
          • Do a brain dump, then (if you have your tools available), process that into projects and actions.
          • Do a mini review: Actions, projects, waiting for.

          That said, I'd like to hear more about *why* you have to be present. I'm thinking 4-Hour Work Week here - I don't know what your job is, but I might want to ponder this definition of waste (from the lean world):
          Any thing or process that does not add value to a product.
          Just thinking here!

          Comment


          • #6
            Fantastic suggestions!

            My two cents: Can you slip a pack of index cards and a pencil or pen into your pocket? If so, you can pull those out and use them to jot down ideas, organize plans, practice your penmanship, sketch, or whatever.

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            • #7
              I knit in situations like this.

              It allows me to actually pay attention to what is being said, rather than fidgeting and wishing I was anywhere else but there.

              The first time, it startled others - now they are used to it, and one or two other people in my division bring theirs too.

              Emkay

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              • #8
                Having been in a similar situation where I couldn't bring anything with me, the thing I did was memorizing poetry. I kept a small piece of paper with a poem in my pocket that I took out now and then.

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                • #9
                  Holy cow. I think I'd take the opportunity to "do nothing" as asked to. Relax, you'll be back at the grind before you know it.

                  Is it that bad to have a span of time without actually doing, or planning to do something? On second thought....this is most likely blasphemous in the GTD world and I'm about to barred from the forum

                  Just to add something that at least looks valuable to the string, I find myself brainstorming to-do's, or NA's for another project. With any luck I manage to have a 3x5 card so I can sneak some notes for later processing.

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                  • #10
                    I only have a couple.
                    1. meditate, take the opportunity to think about absolutely nothing!
                    2. Pay as close attention as possible to everything, no matter how useless the information is, paying attention to body language of the people you work with might come in handy later. You can also consider this one a mediation as well. It will help give you practice for paying attention to boring conversations you actually have to pay attention to.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 12hourhalfday View Post
                      I only have a couple.
                      1. meditate, take the opportunity to think about absolutely nothing!
                      2. Pay as close attention as possible to everything, no matter how useless the information is, paying attention to body language of the people you work with might come in handy later. You can also consider this one a mediation as well. It will help give you practice for paying attention to boring conversations you actually have to pay attention to.
                      I agree. Grab a meditation book or website which has a list of `spot meditations' in it. These are short 1 - 5 minute meditations you can do with
                      your eyes open and without no-one noticing.

                      Michael

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by smaffin View Post
                        Holy cow. I think I'd take the opportunity to "do nothing" as asked to. Relax, you'll be back at the grind before you know it.

                        Is it that bad to have a span of time without actually doing, or planning to do something? On second thought....this is most likely blasphemous in the GTD world and I'm about to barred from the forum
                        Ouch. That's a little insulting to the fine members of this forum.

                        I think the original poster is not quite in the situation you describe. It's not a matter of having occasional minutes of free time; the OP seems to have hours and hours in which s/he can't get to his/her work.

                        OP, are these replies helpful? Would you like further clarification?

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                        • #13
                          My two cents with change to spare: Focus on your breath. It's amazing how relaxed, yet more aware, you can be by simply counting your breaths. Up to 10 and back down again...depending on the time you have.

                          Just stand there, pay attention to the air going past your nostrils...and count.

                          I know that may sound a little fruity-tooty, but it's a great centering exercise and if nothing else, it gives you the appearance of paying attention to whomever is talking!

                          hak

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                          • #14
                            I have to admire the restraint of the responders. Many suggestions have been provided without questioning the original premise. I can't picture any scenario that would require you to stand for an extended period of time as your presence is required but your attention is not.

                            Are people speaking? Can you improve your listening skills by summarizing what you are hearing in your head, coming up with the top 3 points someone made, make mental suggestions for improvements in their argument. Of lesser value, pick out the grammatical errors, identifying classes of errors that are made, count the number of ums, ahs, ers, etc.

                            Are you monitoring students, playground, prison yard, security check point. Can you track what is happening, focus on one individual or group of individuals, count cars, count heads, etc.?

                            Are you guarding property, access, on parade duty? Can you watch people, predict what they are going to do, work out patterns, build stories about them in your head, make Sherlock Holmes/Monk type observations on their dress, behavior, patterns, etc?

                            If you're a fly on the wall without a need to observe anything, can you design something in your head, make a list in your head, imagine what life would be like if ________, read some brain teasers ahead of time and work out the answers, do long division in your head, etc. Mentally walk through your home and identify the top 3 improvements you would make in each room if money were no object.

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                            • #15
                              Admire their restraint????
                              My question was not to ask for validation of my job or my life!!!

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