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I am refering to short and scattered fragments of time like commuting, waiting in a queue, waiting for a bus etc etc.

I read an interview of a businessman who said he was working as a photography assistant and he completed two MBA by utilizing the fragments of time during the shoots.

Is there any time management materials or strategy to managing these easily wasted time?

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5 Answers 5

Simply bring materials to read and study with you at all times. Also don't forget to bring a pen or pencil with you. I rather enjoy waiting in a queue and what not, because I can focus better on reading. It's an analogous feeling as going to a coffee shop to work. Whenever I expect I would wait for more than 5 minutes, I immediately bring out the material and start reading, and I feel rewarded by accomplishing that action.

But, this strategy apparently doesn't work with everybody. I recommended it to friends, and I don't know why most of them cannot pick up this habit.

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I usually find it hard to read during fragments of time because of the time needed to really focus (if it was learning material) or enjoy (if it was a novel). For longer commute like 20 to 30 minutes this would work tho. –  Gapton Jan 17 at 3:56
    
I summarize everything I read. Make notes of what you're reading into bullet point format, probably on something like Evernote on a smartphone. It's easy to come back to in the future. Not just 3 hours later, but also a few years later. –  Muz Jan 18 at 2:51
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Getting Things Done actually helps with this. You don't have to use the whole process to take advantage of time fragments though. The free Toodledo site and app support enough of the concepts to help.

The idea is to break tasks into smaller ones and to include context. That way you can pick a relevant micro-task based on where you are and what is available to you at the time.

I also keep something to read with me at all times just in case.

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For very short breaks, I find I'm unlikely to get productive work done. However, I do try to utilize that time to read items on my non-essential reading list (e.g., non-technical articles I've been wanting to read, things that were emailed to me, news sites, etc...). Basically anything that doesn't require a lot of cognitive effort will work.

If it was something you were planning on reading anyways at a different time, you may have find it a productive use of time. I use pocket which synchronizes across my phone and browser so I can save things to read later.

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Besides research, reading, or studying you could dedicate these pockets of time doing things you put off such as updating your playlist, compiling a list of objectives, or making a list of books you want to read. Things of that nature, just a suggestion. Mix it up, doesn't always have to be business related.

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Here is what I do: always bring a little notebook and a pen with you. When you have a moment, even short, write down your latest ideas, like this cool thing you thought about a moment earlier in the bus. You can also use this notebook to note some thoughts about current projects or improvements to previous ideas. Yes, you can do that in your head, but writing it down helps you to organize them, and let you free your mind.

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