How to Minimize the Time you Waste Waiting

Perception of time is as real as the passage of time.

by Colter Reed
2:07 read (647 words)
Waiting is one of the few times you can truly multitask.
by Colter Reed
2:07 read (647 words)
Waiting is one of the few times you can truly multitask.

In the mid–1700s, Poor Richard (aka Ben Franklin) said that “a watched pot is slow to boil”.

Today, we could update that colloquialism to “a watched car is slow to charge”. This is the topic of a recent video from Black Tesla. Watch the video, because spoiler alert: I’m going to discuss his super-secret tip for charging as fast as possible after the video.

So if you want your car to charge as fast as possible, get out of the car.

It sounds cheeky, but he’s not wrong. When you’re in the car, the screen stays on and the climate controls keep running to keep you comfortable. These take energy. It’s like trying to fill the bathtub without stopping the drain. Net rate of charge is equal to the rate of electrons flowing in minus the rate of electrons flowing out. If you get out and let the car focus on charging instead of keeping you comfortable, it will charge faster.

But there’s another reason that your car will charge faster. It’s completely subjective, which is probably why he doesn’t mention it, but the benefit is just as enjoyable. Let’s circle back to Poor Richard.

When you’re sitting there watching the car charge, it seems like it takes forever because your brain isn’t doing anything except sitting there and watching a green bar advance.

Is this how you charge your phone? No! You plug it in and you do something else.

Take a walk. Stretch your legs. Grab a bite. Use the facilities. Go shopping. Play with a Hacky Sack. Whatever. Waiting is easier when you’re distracted.

Psychologists call this expectancy. Studies have shown that we are more acutely aware of the passage of time when we’re paying attention to the passage of time. Makes sense. Whatever you focus on is going to seem bigger, and everything else diminish.

Sometimes, you do need to sit there. That’s fine. You need to send an email, so you type your message while your phone is tethered. Or it’s raining and you’d rather stay dry in the car and watch Hulu than get soaked taking a walk.

You can still distract yourself. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Continue the conversation. Play a little travel board game. Sing. Create a journal entry. Review your progress on your today list.

As an added bonus, getting out and doing something else is a great way to multitask. While your car charges—which it’s perfectly capable of doing unattended—you can take care of something else that needs done today. That can free up more time in your day.

Whatever you do, remember to be curteous. If you leave your car, be sure to return by the time it’s done charging. Others may be waiting to charge, and that’s something that does require their attention.

Question: What are you waiting for? What could you do in the meantime? Share your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.