Making Use of Lost Time

I would find podcasts waiting to be listened to, filled with useful information and enough humour to make them interesting, but I couldn’t find the time to dedicate an hour (or so) to listening to them. But when I started looking, I found bits of time that were not being used productively. Bits of time that, if I were to take advantage of them, would make my life a whole lot more organized, and, in the end, grant me some down time that I could take without thinking about the dishes piling up in the sink, or the podcasts I should maybe listen to.

I have found a few useful bits of time that allow me to get these things done while remaining productive, and granting myself some free time when I don’t have to think about work or what else I should be doing, instead. For one, podcasts are wonderful, I have found several pertaining to my areas of interest that are informative and give me insights into the world I am beginning work in. Without the hour or so a day each week to dedicate to listening, I have found that listening to these while doing other chores makes both the chore go faster and helps me learn. It generally takes me an hour to an hour-and-a-half to mow the lawn. Enough time to listen to a podcast and a bit. The only catch with this one is they must be quality podcasts with a solid sound that I am able to hear it over the mower. Some, no matter how loud I turn up the headphones, I can’t hear a thing. I also turn these on when I am painting, either redoing a shelf, painting a room, or other such tasks that come with maintaining a home. And of course the usual housework. Take a bit of time and research a few podcasts that will inform you about the area you are trying to go, and cue them up to play continuously until you’ve finished.

The other bit of time I have found is that often throughout the day I need to take a break, say to make tea or a fresh cup of coffee. It is easy to just sit and wait for the water to boil, the tea to steep, and then continue on with work. But, if, while you’re waiting, you instead take that ten minutes and switch the dishes, or wash up the few in the sink it will save time later, and make things more enjoyable when you’re trying to make dinner and there is no counter space. On that note, making dinner is also a good time to listen to another podcast (you may need to find a few).

When you start looking for extra time it is easy to find, ten minutes here, five there. Use it to do a bit of those less enjoyable tasks and it makes the other time truly down time. By adding a bit of research to menial tasks they go by a bit quicker and still leave a productive feeling. It also means I will mow the lawn more often than otherwise?I enjoy listening to podcasts and this is the time I get to the most.

Working and learning from home means learning to balance many tasks that you don’t have to if you are staying in a dorm. It means balancing taking care of the home, the yard, and the family; it means carving out time to finish all the daily chores you have with the school work that needs to be done. In finding these small bits of otherwise unused time, it helps to maintain that balance, to feel productive when you’re working on other tasks and it keeps you on track. I find in doing this I come back energized (maybe it’s the coffee) and refocused. Whether it is because I don’t have the image of a dirty kitchen haunting me, or the lawn that I can hear growing, or because the podcast I listened to reignited me, it doesn’t really matter: what matters is that the task is done, my time is saved, and maybe by the time I turn in for the night all the tasks on my list will be neatly checked off.

Deanna Roney is an AU graduate who loves adventure in life and literature. Follow her path on the writing journey at