- Look up definitions of words whose meaning is a mystery to you. If you don’t have a dictionary, Google them.
- Write a thank-you note or sign and address birthday, anniversary or other celebratory cards.
- Check your appointment schedule for the next day. This is particularly important for people such as myself who write down meeting and other appointment dates but fail to open the calendar where they are written.
- Scan the weather report in the newspaper so you can find somewhere in the world with worse weather than tomorrow’s forecast for where you live.
- Check to see if your pet’s water bowl is filled.
- Get down on the floor and do a minute’s worth of push-ups or abdominal crunches.
- Stand on one foot during the commercial. With practice you might be able to do it for the full length of the advertising. This is a great way to improve your balance.
- Go through the container where you keep your earrings and line up them up. Think about what to do about those missing a partner.
- Fold clothes (this always has to be done).
- Write down what you remember eating during the day and check to see if you consumed any vegetables, fruits or dairy. If not, program your cell phone or computer to remind you to do so tomorrow. This may take two commercial breaks to accomplish.
- Empty your wastebaskets or yell at your kids to do it if it is their chore.
- If you plan to travel to a foreign country, repeat an essential phrase in that country’s language like “where is the toilet?”
- Check the thermostat and argue with your partner/spouse over the setting. This may take longer than the commercial break.
- Floss your teeth, again. It’s impossible to do this enough.
- Brush your cat or dog. Do not do this if animal is on bed unless you want fur on your pillow.
- Watch the advertisements. Sometimes they are funny.
Television advertisements for highly caloric, yummy-looking foods have been around for so long that some of us avert our eyes when they appear so we won’t immediately give into the temptation to obtain the food. Otherwise, we would be phoning the local pizza place or raiding the freezer every time the commercials came on the screen.
Over the past several months I noticed something about the commercial breaks that may drive all of us to the kitchen to find something to eat even if the advertised product is not food. The time dedicated to showing commercials between segments of a network television show seem to be getting longer and longer. I noticed this when, during the commercials. I tried to take care of those last-minute household chores of the evening. To my astonishment, it was possible to get the coffee maker ready for morning breakfast on one break, brush my teeth for the allotted time on another and, if my dog was fast enough, take him out for a last minute “pee” break. But then once these tasks were completed, I was faced with the problem of what to do during the subsequent two or three minutes of advertisements. Going to the kitchen to find something to eat was always a possibility as was spending the time deciding whether I wanted to eat or not.
Eating to use up time is a chronic problem that many of us face. regardless of whether we are on a diet or simply trying to maintain our weight. When faced with large amounts of uncommitted time, such as on a rainy Sunday afternoon or during the evenings, it is too easy to spend the time walking back and forth from the kitchen. Often the best way to prevent this is to get out of the house or become so involved in an activity that the desire to snack is forgotten. In fact, diets will succeed only if the dieter can figure out how to spend the time he or she used to be spend eating doing something else.
It is easier to identify activities that use up several hours than it is to find something to do for three-minute intervals every ten minutes of a television show. Few people are going to run to the piano to practice a scale or put a few strokes of oil on a canvas during the commercials.
So I thought I would come up with a list of activities that can be done during the advertising interval and are far away from the kitchen.