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The Opportunity of Unscheduled Time

by Randall Craig on June 12, 2007

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Time management

I am writing this as I’m sitting in an airport terminal, enjoying yet another flight delay. In particular, I am sitting in a seat where I can survey all of my fellow passengers. It is very rare that I find an entire three hours (and counting) where I can spend time thinking, writing, and preparing for meetings without interruption. When I need a break, my fellow passengers provide ample entertainment. They fit into several categories:

The angry ones: They pace back and forth, upset at the delay, scowling at the gate attendants, and often raising their voices in anger. Perhaps they haven’t realized that weather delays are beyond anyone’s control, and no amount of anger can make the incoming airplane land faster.

The time wasters: This group of people are spending their time playing computer games, staring into space, or catching a cat-nap. They haven’t realized that once the time is gone, it can no longer be recaptured. And if you spend all of your time waiting, you’ll have missed most of the journey.

The cell-phone complainers: This group uses the time to call friends, workmates, and family to complain about the delay. They haven’t figured out that most people aren’t interested in hearing about their complaints and problems.

The driven do-ers: This is the group that is either using the time to do work, read a journal to actually gain benefit, or spend time on the phone strengthening their relationships.

There is a very fine line between this last group, and the first three. It is precisely this difference that determines your success on the job – and in your relationships.

This week’s action item: When you are faced with an unexpected delay or a long line-up, how do you deal with it? Why not bring something with you, so that whenever you have the “opportunity” of unscheduled time, you can use it productively.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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