How to Thwart Waiting Mode

Appointments are mirages. We wade through sands of time to arrive at the inevitable. No oases await us.

Our minds fabricate Busy Time, Deep Time, Between Time, Free Time, etc.

But minutes cannot be bottled and labeled. There are no slots to deposit our seconds. We are always busy; we are always free.

Waiting Mode seizes us when work seems too large for its allotted slots. 2 hours seems a pittance when reviewing looming to-dos.

To thwart Waiting Mode, transform tasks into portable morsels. Scrounge for Between Time.

To thwart Waiting Mode, foil temptation. Sell your television. Adopt parental-self-controls. Delete social media. Find a phone home. Don’t waste your willpower on worthless pursuits.

To thwart Waiting Mode, make peace with the anxieties of unfinished work. It’s okay to be incomplete, and it’s okay to begin anew. Consider using a scratchpad (or working-memory.txt file) to persist thoughts through interruptions.

To thwart Waiting Mode, take pride in simple progress. Even the longest novels are relentless strings of sentences.

Labeling your hours is a misuse of minutes. Do what you can when you can. Never wait for anything.


A very annoying brain feature I have is what I call Waiting Mode. Like today, I have to leave for an MRI at 2:45. Unfortunately at 12:30 or so, my brain decided to activate Waiting Mode, which means that instead of getting anything done, I just have to sit here and wait.