Stuck in a Queue? Here are 18 Ways to Kill Time

Stuck in a Queue? Here are 18 ways to kill time

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic, everything related to our lifestyle and mental health changed. There are a lot of countries that are no longer on lockdown, have withdrawn travel bans, and stopped curfews. They are walking on the path of getting the normal lifestyle back, but things are never going to be the way they used to be.

Although everywhere is open and functioning, there are different precautionary measures taken by all countries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The primary precautions are wearing face masks and gloves and maintaining physical distancing.

I am not sure how it is in your country, but here in Saudi Arabia, when it comes to the rule of physical distancing, shops are not allowing all customers to enter the shop and wander around freely having to get close to other people and increase infected cases.

Instead, a specified number of individuals are allowed inside the shop; whether it be a supermarket, mini-market, department store, bank, etc. This makes people forced to wait in a long queue outside the shops to take turns in getting in.

I don’t know about you, but I hate long queues. During our gold-old days, whenever I saw a queue at any place I went to, I just choose to step back and forget about whatever I wanted from that stop/store (unless I have to face it of course).

While short queues can be bearable, having a long queue in front of you and waiting for your turn can be daunting. Imagine how boring and frustrating it is having to stand there staring around for the next 20 mins just so you can get a cup of coffee or a shirt. It is just unbearable.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of just staring at the nape of the person in front of you, there are a lot of things you can do while standing in a queue that would kill your time and make your waiting process more productive.

Suitcase, Woman, Girl, Waiting, Journey, Person, Kill Time, Queue

So what is it that you can do while waiting for your turn?

1. Go through your inbox / Send an email

I am sure you have these unread emails in your inbox that you thought of reading later when you have the time to do so. Now it that time. So go through your inbox and read those emails.

Also if you have an email that you plan on sending or a reply to someone, now is a good time to do so. I don’t know if you are like me, but I take time to send an email because mostly, my emails are just too long to be written in 2 mins. So it is a good thing to type an email and send it while in a queue.

2. Text someone

I know this is the first thing that comes in your mind whenever you have free time to kill. Yes, just open your WhatsApp, Instagram inbox, or Snapchat and either text people or reply to your pending-to-reply messages.

3. Engage in social media

While waiting in a queue, you can go through your Instagram feed, Twitter threads, Facebook or LinkedIn posts, TikTok videos, and also view stories on these different social media platforms and engage with your friends and followers. You can also explore interesting accounts and try making new friends on these platforms.

4. Update your contact list

I am sure you have a contact that changed their phone number or you are no longer in contact with. It is time to go through your phone and look for those contacts that need elimination from your list.

5. Engage in a conversation

While standing in a queue with no internet access or your phone is on low battery, you can try to engage in a conversation with the person in front of or behind you.

Starting a conversation with someone can be a huge deal for introverts and people with anxiety. But there is a great probability that the person standing in a queue with you would be as bored and wouldn’t mind having a conversation with someone to kill time too.

So just think of how you can make new friends and engage with them. Here are some conversation-starting techniques and phrases you can use to initiate conversations in a queue.

6. Observe the interesting characters around you

If you are in no mood to talk to anyone or feel unfocused when you are surfing your phone, you can just try to enjoy the view around you. Focus on the different characters in your surrounding. You will be surprised at what you can observe.

Different people have different personalities. By observing around, you can start noticing how people are; the way they talk, their standing positions, their conversations, etc. This may sound unreal but observing people keeps you busy and kills time.

7. Brain dump

You can open any notes app on your phone and start dumping your thoughts in it. For example, it can be a shopping list, a to-do list, a grocery list, etc. Anything that comes in mind related to something I want to get done.

8. Plan

Did you think about going somewhere but you couldn’t place it in your busy calendar? Take out your planner (or even Google Calendar) and start planning on when you can achieve what you wanted.

When it comes to planning, I normally take the time in a queue to plan my coming week. Although I may have my month planned ahead, but I always update my plan weekly in case some unexpected changes took place that I hadn’t kept in mind when planning for the month.

9. Reflect on yourself

Queue waiting can be a good place to reflect on yourself. I have this habit of finding myself to be thinking about a lot of things when I am doing nothing. This includes things I did and whether it was right or wrong, why I acted a certain way, what thoughts I had going on in my head when it happened, etc.

I write about things that improve my self-awareness and reflection. Think about it. I am sure you have the same (or similar thoughts) whenever you are in the waiting mode. Reflecting on yourself will help you become more aware of yourself and your actions which in turn will help you be more conscious of your decisions.

10. Read a book / a magazine

It is good to have a book/an ebook with you when you are going out. You never know when you’ll have nothing to do and boredom floods your passing seconds. When this happens, you have a book that you can bury yourself in.

Going through a print magazine is more practical if you are in a place where you can find one like a beauty parlor or something. However, having access to digital magazines is another reading resource to help you kill time.

11. Listen to music / podcast / audiobook

Ok, I’ll admit! What is a better way to enjoy time than to listen to your favorite music while observing others? I find it to be therapeutic to listen to music while dwelling in your own thoughts.

Also, having an account in podcasting apps like Spotify and iTunes, are great for listening to interesting podcasts in any category you choose. I always look for podcasts related to my niche and sometimes download them to listen to them when I have no internet access.

For those of you who are not a fan of book-reading, listening to audiobooks can be a great way to enhance your skills and knowledge and get insights from a great book that you couldn’t read.

12. Watch YouTube videos

Remember that YouTube channel you subscribed to and it’s been a while that you haven’t checked their latest videos? Now is the time to have a look at them.

You can also make a list of interesting and/or educational YouTube videos that you can watch when you have time to kill.

13. Research an interesting topic

With access to the internet, you can make a research about a specific topic that you might be interested in. Another habit of mine is writing down a number of questions or topics I would want to research during my free time. Whenever I am bored and got nothing to do, I do some research and enlighten myself. So this is another thing you can do when you are in a queue.

14. Play (video) games from your phone

Again, this goes without saying. Especially the kids of this generation, can not go without playing some kind of video game whenever they get the chance to go so.

While it is interesting to play video games with your virtual friends online, it should be a limited practice. Doing it during your free time can be acceptable but being obsessed over it is not acceptable.

15. Engage in brain powering games

I would root for this one big time. When you engage in games that help improve your brain skills, you will notice a change in the way you think, the way you act, and most importantly, the way you grasp knowledge when learning something new.

Play Store (Android) and AppStore (iPhone) has a number of brain powering games that can be very interesting and useful.

16. Window-shop online

So, I know you’re gonna say this is what most girls do the minute they go through their phone. I can not totally disagree with that because girls love shopping. We girls love exploring the different shops online and purchase the things we love that we can afford.

By saying window-shop online, I mean to go through products you are interested in online that you want to purchase. If you can not afford it at the moment, then you can just add it to your wish list and purchase it whenever you can. Or, merely explore what is new in the category you normally purchase from.

There are two extra things to the above points that you can do when you are in a drive-thru queue inside your car:

17. Organize the storage compartments in your car.
18. Tidy your wallet

Final Thoughts

There is always a way to find an alternative to your boredom. The points shared above are basic ideas on the different ways to kill time. I truly advise you to use these ways to stay more productive with your time. Because, as Tozer said:

“When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.” ― A.W. Tozer

Thank you for reading till the end 🙂

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What do you do when you are in a long queue? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.



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