We all have free time but it’s becoming mechanical to exhaust it on whatever glows in our screen. The trouble is that free time occupies intervals of our day—they seem small but they add up. If we spend these trickles in careening from point A to infinity, how would it feel later when all our time has been gobbled up?

What wonders await us, instead, if we spend the bulk of our time on things that can make us more?

During these waiting times, we have a choice to just sit still, enjoy the silence. Once we have gathered our thoughts, we can then fill the in-betweens with small activities—bursts of any creation, errand or habit. Write, code, pay the bills, walk the dog, whatever intentional activity we care about.

While it’s easy to ignore these time trickles as they seem so short, we can occupy these for things we think we don’t have time for: While waiting on a queue—instead of whining—we can catch up with a friend; on a long haul, we can learn a new language (duoLingo is awesome); on a lazy Sunday, we can get back on a special project.

I actually started a draft of this blog while on a queue for a dentist appointment. I thought: “‘Downtimes… I can write about this.”

Downtimes give an ample room of room to clear our minds and create new perspectives. Unperturbed, we can even unravel a funny memory or unspool an answer to a problem—clarity in-betweens.

They have deadlines, too. And that’s a good thing. Expiration can nudge us to make the most of it. Okay, I only have half an hour to write, so get the time capsule running and let’s do it well.

We can even tie a habit to a particular downtime. While on a drive to work, I can listen to a podcast. Walking home, I can take pictures. On a break from class, I can take a long walk. On lunch times, I’ll do a quick research for a new recipe. Early in the morning while seeping coffee, I can get back on some reading. The day welcomes variety.

We only have so much stamina to spend in a day. Downtimes, for this reason, can be used not to delay, but to lighten our loads and whittle the things we like to do—sometimes the seemingly boring tasks that are in fact worth the trickles.

Imagine how much satisfaction we can derive if we begin using more of our limited time with merit.