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Tick Tock…Waiting Can Be Productive

Standing In Line


Does anyone know how many minutes, months or years we spend waiting?

•    We wait in line at doctors office.
•    We wait for clients to show up.
•    We wait for offers to be faxed that we thought were coming?
•    We wait for appraisals to come in.
•    We wait for Short Sales to be approved. (oh how we wait….)

Fact of the matter is we do a lot of waiting. Obviously we can’t get those minutes or hours back, but we can use the time to be productive. (or just relax and enjoy the quiet.)

Become an Expert at Using Waiting Time

The first thing to do is have a good attitude when we our waiting. View “waiting time” as a gift or unexpected opportunity to get something  done to increase your productivity.

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Decide before hand what types of tasks you want to do or complete while waiting.

1) Add phone numbers to your cell phone address book.
2) Create a grocery list.
3) Listen to a self-development course on your iPod. I am a  big fan of Jack Canfield.
4) Do a little social networking on Facebook or twitter.
5) Carry a book in your car and pick it up and read a few chapters.
6) Catch on your RSS feeds.
7) Call a past client
8) Call your mother

Let “waiting time” be your new best friend.

One thing to consider is which tasks you have been putting off. Gaps in time can become the time we use to do those things that find there way on the back burner at the end of the day. You know the things that don’t get marked off at the end of the day.

Regardless, of what you do during the lull, having a plan can keep the anxiety down. Most Type A personalities have a difficult time waiting. Patience is not our virtue.

So what are you waiting for?

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Photo Credit

Written By

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.



  1. Jill Wente

    October 2, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    My iphone has become my best to turn those potential non-productive times to productive times. I listen to podcasts instead of the radio when I am driving to meet a client or waiting on a client. I can easily respond to email and read some of my RSS feeds. Plus I can make appointments and it synchs up with my Microsoft Outlook calendar.

  2. Matthew Hardy

    October 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I like this Eckhart Tolle quote:

    “Give up waiting as a state of mind. When you catch yourself slipping into waiting… snap out of it. Come into the present moment. Just be, and enjoy being. If you are present, there is never any need for you to wait for anything. So next time somebody says, “sorry to have kept you waiting,” you can reply, “that’s all right, I wasn’t waiting. I was just standing here enjoying myslef – in joy in my self.”

    – from Practicing the Power of Now

    Also, love your idea of audiobooks on iPod – awesome way to learn.

  3. Lani Rosales

    October 2, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Missy, I am a ridiculously impatient person but you would never know it because I’m still chipper on the outside. On the inside I’m raging like a drunk chick who just got her purse stolen. SO, what I do is (1) breathe (2) reorganize my to do list. I’m a big list maker and I learn and remember kinesthetically, so I have to write everything down. When I’m waiting somewhere and have the ability to, I re-write my lists and it gives me a sense of control and order.

    My other activity and a more common one for me is praying and saying the Rosary.

  4. Brian Block

    October 2, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Jill beat me to it in her comment, but the iPhone has made waiting infinitely better — more fun and more productive at the same time.

  5. Missy Caulk

    October 2, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Sorry for not responding quicker been out and about all day…

    Jill and Brian sounds like a need a I need an IPhone. Although I do check emails on my BB and Twitter.

    Matthew that is a really cool statement. Never thought about that.

    Lani, I am low on patience too, always on time and would have 5 kids ready for church, bathed and in the car before my 1 husband would get ready.
    I know patience is virtue….I find carrying a book in my car really makes the time go fast, if I am waiting.

  6. Lesley Lambert

    October 2, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I, too, use my iPod as a wait time filler. That and twitter on the blackberry!

  7. Matt Stigliano

    October 3, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Missy – I hate waiting too. Especially when what you’re waiting for ties into how the rest of the day pans out. We all know how one piece of paper can change your entire day in real estate. I find that I need to fill those gaps, because the minute I don’t and say “it’ll just be a moment before that fax arrives, I’ll just relax a bit” – that’s the day the fax never comes. I agree with the others about the iPhone. I used my Blackberry in much the same way, but there’s something about the iPhone that makes me use it more productively. Maybe it’s just because I like to look cool using one.

  8. Rob McCance

    October 3, 2009 at 10:20 am


    Good advise.

    Personally, I enjoy some “wait states” and will try to predict them and take along my small laptop, or my Website Magazine, or the lame Realtor Magazine, or some recently printed long articles off the web.

    If all else fails, I’ve got the blackberry and I never delete my inbox so I can scroll waayy back and find someone to swap emails with, or call, or whatever.

    So waiting is not all bad, unless I’m about to late for something else.


  9. Sandra Matson

    October 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm


    Great post! I learned long ago to take advantage of waiting. If sitting in traffic, I have educational or self-help CD’s. When waiting between appointments, I have a book. And most recently I broke down and got a BB. I catch up on news, emails, etc. I also have audio books on my BB. If I am at an open house, I bring work just in case it is a slow day.

    I hate to wait but I have learned long ago to be prepared so for me waiting is an opportunity to do something enjoyable and/or productive.


  10. Bruce Dietz

    October 5, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Missy,

    Always good to talk to another KW family member!

    Good tips on ways to fill the dead space in the day. I use my Blackberry to check up on emails, return calls and run errands for my awesome, but way too busy, working wife.

  11. Paula Henry

    October 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Missy – Great advice! I have little patience for waiting, but am patiently waiting for someone besides AT&T to carry the iphone. Til then, my BB keeps me connected when I do have to wait.

    Sending out a few emails or making contact with someone makes the time you are waiting seem to pass more quickly.

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