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The joy of forced downtime

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Yesterday was a pretty busy day. There were website woes, prep for a speech next week, book launch interview requests, and the like. But, in the midst of all this, I absolutely had to take care of a nagging task: getting my car inspected.

After moving to Pennsylvania and becoming a vehicle owner for the first time last year, I soon learned that this state requires annual inspections. Allegedly, this is to ensure all cars are roadworthy and not polluting excessively. It also helps the state's mechanics.

Either way, yesterday was one of the last days I could fit it in before my inspection sticker expired at the end of the month. In the middle of the day, I showed up at the car dealership, dropped my car off, and then found the Internet connection in the waiting area pretty slow. So I had to figure out what to do with myself for 90 minutes.

I decided to make the most of it. I walked around outside. I found a beauty salon and got my hair done. I shopped a bit. So the emails were piling up in my inbox. I might as well make a mini-vacation out of it.

If we're prepared and stay positive, any forced downtime can turn into a vacation. Train is delayed? Head to the station bar or a restaurant. Stuck in line? Seize the time to read a magazine. Even being stuck in traffic can be a mini-vacation if, like me, you turn on the 80's station on SiriusXM and jam out to St. Elmo's Fire, quickly going to a happy place that is far from the jam-up on the Schuylkill Expressway.

What do you do with forced downtime?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user aussiegall
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