If someone handed you 15 minutes, what would you do with it?

If someone handed you fifteen minutes, what would you do with it? Take some time to think.—Well, I am about to hand you fifteen minutes.


Picture this: You are standing in line at your local coffee shop. You normally peruse your personal emails, Instagram or Twitter. Not for a purpose. Just killing time. Dead time.

Now suppose, knowing that you will have such dead time, you plan to use it more constructively. You might be at the coffee shop, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for a meeting to start, waiting to pick someone up from school or the airport, or sitting on the toilet. (Don’t say ‘ew’. You know you do it. I’m not gross. You are. Just make sure to wash your phone AND your hands.)

There are various times that you may feel your time is wasted. The best way to tackle the dead time is to have the tools necessary to get something done. It all comes down to anticipation (i.e. take your tools with you) and prediction (know how long you will have to wait). For the first one, you can take advantage of technology (use versatile gadgets such as ultra-portable computers and Internet enabled phones). For the latter, your judgment is enhanced by experience. The more you anticipate these potential dead times, the better you get at this.


For instance, I use wait time to practice my Spanish on the free Duolingo app. Or I check my work emails during dead time so that I avoid being sucked into the email vortex upon arrival in my office. I also plan ahead which friends or colleagues I can call when I arrive early at an appointment. I’ll say, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about you and wanted to touch base before I go into this appointment. Do you have 5 minutes to chat?” I even use my dead time to catch up on articles for professional or personal development that I had previously emailed myself. I always have a steady stream of tidbits to catch up on.

Yes. I actually plan my dead time, therefore resurrecting 15 minutes here and there.

I’m curious, if I handed you 15 minutes, what would you do with it?

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