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Hurry Up & Wait: Strategies to Handle Wait Time

I banged the steering wheel and whipped my head against the headrest. The traffic of my nightmares lay in front of me, besides me and behind me. I was stuck with nowhere to go. I imagine my car is a tank and I simply climb over the ones in front of me, like some robot from a science-fiction movie. It’s a nice fantasy that makes me smile.

Placing my car in park, I envision a conversation with the lady next to me. She’s on her way to drop off her daughter at daycare. The man on the other side is singing to some heavy metal song, thrashing his head back and forth. The man in my rear-view mirror is smoking a cigarette. He tells me quitting is easy. He’s quit at least a dozen times before.

I imagine explaining to my boss that I’m late because of an accident on I-95, everyone in the DC area understands. He’s fine with it, but I’m not. In reality, I berate myself for not leaving earlier. I dislike being late. In 1991, there were no cellphones to alert anyone; it’s just you and the radio and an endless string of advertising.

A voice that sounds a lot like Dad fills the airwaves. “You’ve got to be somewhere,” it tells me. Yes, maybe it is my Dad, his advice filtering through.

We are all given 86,400 seconds in a day. While ten minutes or one hour might be wasted on the highway, the post office line, or the grocery store’s deli line, how we choose to spend the rest of our seconds counts. As our rushed society puts less value on downtime, we’ve become increasingly judgemental of wasted time.

My Challenge for You: Develop a strategy for wait-time

  1. Refuse the urge to reach for a screen--especially if you are in traffic

  2. Prioritize--mentally review your goals

  3. Strategize--plan what you'd like to accomplish in the week

  4. Think old-school--count how many blue things (or red or green) things you see nearby. What you might notice could be something special.

  5. Compliment yourself--for your patience, and count your blessings.

  6. Enjoy a book on tape--or a podcast (like the Florida Writer Podcast--shameless plug)


Executive Mom Nest advisor, professor, speaker, and author Alison Nissen (pictured with Dad) is the executive director of Branded Interviews, a platform that creates video business cards, webinars, and courses for authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs. She is also the co-founder and president of Revel Coach, a career growth platform and author of the 2016 RPLA Unpublished Memoir of the Year Resolve, Courage, Hope. Follow her Tales from the Laundry Room @

For more information about Executive Mom Nest, visit


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