Allison Rapp

7 Ways to Spend Time Without Wasting It

When you have “extra” time on your hands, do you spend it with or without intention? Here are 7 ways to use time you didn’t expect t have without watching part of your life simply disappear without value.

Truth be told, I play a game on my phone sometimes when I need to disengage from thinking… and of course, it has ads for other games. The one ad I really hate is the one that says their game is “The best time-waster of all” — like I said, I’m playing my game for a reason — who has time to WASTE??

So that makes me think about what we can be doing that has value, now, when we have so much time we (sort of) don’t know what to do with it?

7 Ways to Use “Extra” Time with Intention

1. Take a course that means something to you, to your family or to your business.

Warren Buffett says that the best investment you can make is in yourself. That’s truer than ever when you can’t go out and do what you normally do… so pick something that will make a difference and commit.

Among other things, I’m doing a 25-day dog-training challenge that’s helping me AND my dogs stay sane when mostly what they’d rather do is bark at the new (and terribly threatening!) puppy they can see next door.

I’m also working on my new website. It’s a lot of pages to go through so I’m not trying to get it all done at once. Daily time makes a big difference and I find that knowing what I’m going to do before I sit down to do it helps me get started as soon I “arrive.” The best time to figure out what to do tomorrow is at the end of my session today, when it’s obvious and clear… and only takes 2 seconds to write it down or make a bookmark.

2. Finish one project.

Start with a small one, or one that’s sooo close you can taste it. When it’s done, pick another.

Bonus points: Decide on categories and pick one in each. For example, you could pick one each that’s personal, to do with your family, improves your home or makes a difference in your business.

Hot tip: Stick to one thing in each category until it’s done. Doing a bunch at one time is how you ended up with unfinished projects in the first place!

3. Make a list of people you wish you could talk to, or people you’ve lost touch with, or clients you used to see — and call them.

Reaching outside yourself will make you feel better than dwelling on everything that’s wrong with your own situation.

Hot tip: Acknowledge that you feel isolated — it will help your friends to know they’re not alone and not crazy. Start by asking how THEY are doing. Find out what they’re doing that makes a difference, helps them feel connected and brings them up. Look inside yourself to find your answers to those questions so you can share them when they say “How about you? What are you doing?”

4. Have an online lunch or dinner with a friend.

Get out your calendar and make Zoom dates for lunch or dinner. It works from phone, tablet and laptop with the camera and mic built into those devices. On a desktop, you might need an external camera and mic.

Here’s how: If you don’t already have Zoom, go to and get a free account, then watch their starter tutorials to get yourself going quickly and easily.

5. Pick one new TV show to stream.

It’s okay to want some entertainment — where the extra 40 pounds are living is in the bags of snacks that go with continual entertainment. Pick something you really like and make sure to recognize how much you’re enjoying it as you watch!

Tip for connecting: Ask for suggestions on Facebook, and ask people to tell you what they loved about the show. Thank the folks who respond. Ask questions about the suggestions they make. Let them know if you watch and like what they recommended.

Bonus points: Ask people to tell you why it’s a good pick for this time.

Here’s my fave: Sens8 on Netflix. I love it because it’s eight, really well-told, hero’s journey stories about people all over the world who know they are connected and use that connection to defeat a massive threat. In the process, every one of them becomes more of who they truly are by stepping into their fear and showing up anyway.

How it helps now: it’s about diversity, working together, triumph over adversity and it makes me realize how connected we all really are. And the music is great.

6. Do something together with a friend or a group of colleagues or invite all your neighbors.

You could watch a movie together or share happy hour on Zoom, or create a watch party on FB. If you meet on Zoom, you could even create a number of breakout groups for discussion, or just sharing how things are going with a couple of other people.

Hot tip: people are quicker to share when you give them permission — in other words, when sharing is expected. Also, it’s easier for most people when you ask for specific information or give them prompts — so take a few minutes to jot down questions you’d like to know the answers to and use them as conversation starters.

7. Find gratitude.

It’s always a good idea, anyway, but at times like this, connecting with what there is to be grateful for can make the difference between staying balanced and falling into a hole.

We can all be grateful for our incredible health care workers and the sacrifices they are making just because… it’s who they are. And for the people who staff the grocery stores and pharmacies and do all the essential jobs we usually take for granted. If you’re at the store, thank the people who made it possible for you to buy food. If you need help from support on one of your online platforms, let the people who are helping you know that you appreciate that they’re working and making it possible for you to get what you need so you can keep going. Believe me, they don’t hear it often, and can’t hear it too often.

Each of us has other things — more personal things — we could recognize as reasons for gratitude, if we just took the time to think about them. It may be hard at first to find them, but that muscle gets stronger from use.

  • Did someone offer to shop for you?
  • Did you get an email from someone that made you feel seen?
  • Do your pets tell you 165 times a day that you are their Number ONE?
  • Did you squeeze one more meal out of what was in the fridge?
  • Is the sun shining after a lot of rain?
  • Is it raining when the ground was totally parched?
  • Are you getting more sleep?
  • Are your neighbors banding together to keep an eye on each other and help if needed?

If you need more connection or more ideas, more support, or just want to share with like-minded folks, join us on Facebook in the Transformational Touch group.