It’s hard to go anywhere these days without having to queue for ages! Be it the supermarket, the chemist, the post office, the vet, the takeaway, or any shop that happens to be open. So what things to do when you are in a queue?
Everyone knows that the British are good at queuing, even if we don’t particularly like it. Most of us accept the inevitable and, in the spirit of fairness, stand in line for as long as it takes.
Personally, I only do this when absolutely essential. If I can avoid hanging around pointlessly I will. I turn up to the post office early and use a Drop and Go account so I can hand over a bag and leave quickly. The weekly shop tends to be done on a Monday morning.
We made the mistake of taking the dog to be weighed and get his flea and worm stuff on a Sunday. What were we thinking? The queue was so long, I knew Archie would be fidgeting, jumping up at everyone and barking. We drove off and decided to leave it for another day. There are a limited number of things to do when you are in a queue with a puppy!
Being a busy person, I like to make my time count, so I tend to do something productive to help the time pass by. I might start a blog post, write something for Instagram, or update my eBay listings. However, if you don’t happen to do any of those things, what other possibilities are there? Here are a few suggestions. Feel free to add yours to the comments.
10 things to do when you are in a queue
1# Get your news fix
Early on in the pandemic I stopped watching a full news programme on the TV. Instead I listen to the headlines on the radio or look them up on the BBC app on my phone.
It is important to know what is happening in the world, but endless media discussion and analysis isn’t. Constant news bulletins and going over and over the same stuff just makes me feel anxious. I know from talking to others that I am not alone in this.
So get you news online in some way whilst you queue, then it’s done for the day.
2# People watch
There are few things more interesting that other people. That’s why reality TV shows are so popular! Have a look (with an open mind, not a critical eye) at the other people in the queue and see if you can work out the kind of life they lead.
You may be totally wrong of course, but it doesn’t really matter! It’s just one of the interesting things to do when you are in a queue.
Listen to what they have to say to get other people’s perspective. It’s not so easy to chat when you are staying two metres apart, and I have found people are quieter than usual because of the strange and slightly stressful circumstances, but I still quite like to hear how other people interact and feel about things.
3# Plan for the future
This pandemic isn’t going to last forever (hopefully). Some kind of normality will return at some point. Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns at this point. We don’t know how bad the economy is going to be at the moment and how this might impact on us as individuals.
However, we need to be optimistic about the future to keep us feeling positive. So, how about making some plans? I wrote a list on the notes app of my phone with all the DIY jobs doing in the house. There are a lot! Unlike other folk, I haven’t particularly had lots of spare time because of the pandemic. I work from home anyway! In addition, we got Archie the pup just before it all kicked off and there is no way I am going to attempt any painting whilst he is around. Nightmare!
Our hallway is still awful and tatty. I am embarrassed that it is the first room people see when they come into our house! There is so much to do in there that we have decided to break it down into small sections and will take it in turns to do a bit each whilst the other does something with the dog.
Your plans might include job hunting (signing up with agencies, improving your CV, etc), a future holiday, what to do with your garden, new hobbies, getting fit – whatever. They are all positive things to do when you are in a queue.
4# Meal plan
Since meal planning saves you time, mental energy and money – as well as helping prevent food waste – it is a great activity for when you are standing around.
Ideally, meal planning and writing a shopping list is best done BEFORE you leave your house, so that you can check what you already have in. However, if you weren’t that organised, why not do it in the supermarket queue? Or if you have already planned this week, try the week after.
5# Sign up to some survey sites
I quite enjoy spending 5 minutes here and there doing surveys, as I said in this post about easy ways to make money online.
Prolific is my favourite, but I also find YouGov quite interesting. If you are in a queue and bored, sign up or check to see if there are any surveys you can do if you are already a member.
6# Check your bank statement
It is really important to know what funds are coming into and going out of your current account. Checking your bank balance regularly will alert you to any unusual, potentially fraudulent activity, and you can check you aren’t slipping into an expensive overdraft.
Use an app on your phone and you can check your bank statement in just a few seconds.
7# Catch up with friends and family
If the queue is long, why not give someone a call or send them a text? I’m always chatting to my mum when I am out and about. Not my dad though – he is a bit deaf and I don’t want to shout when I am standing in a queue!
It’s an opportunity to catch up with friends, family, work colleagues and neighbours to check how they are all doing in these unusual times.
8# Listen to an audio book
I love the Borrowbox app! Since I discovered it early on in this crisis, I have listened to so many fantastic audio books, and all for free.
For those not in the know, Borrowbox is part of the library service. You first need to join your library (most councils allow you to do this online) then input your library card number and off you go. They have e-books too, if you prefer to read. If you want to listen, don’t forget your headphones!
I think this is a UK only app. If you don’t have anything similar in your country, there is always Amazon’s Audible*. You can get a free 30 day trial by clicking the link, including an audio book to keep. After the trial, it costs £7.99 a month.
9# Have a digital declutter
How many of us receive emails to our phones? I have two email inbox apps and they are always full of junk. One of my favourite things to do when you are in a queue is to go through and delete any unwanted emails, unsubscribing from anything that feels a bit junky on the way. I also create folders and file away emails that I may need to refer to again.
Every now and again, I also have a cull of apps on my phone that I downloaded with all good intentions and then never use.
Photos are another area that gets totally clogged up on mine. I take a lot anyway, but then loads extra for my eBay listings that I then forget to delete. They used a lot of memory, so get rid of those you don’t want to keep.
10# Read a book
You may prefer to read a book rather than listen to an audio version. A slim Kindle can be a godsend when you are hanging about waiting, or you can get the Kindle app on your phone. (This is too small for me to comfortably read, but your eyesight is likely a bit better than mine!). Like Audible, Kindle is also available to try free for 30 days*.
Failing that, stick a paperback in your bag on your way out. Why not?
Can you think of any good things to do when you are in a queue, or do you prefer to just chill and watch the world go by?
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