Benefits of Legally Mandated Non-Productive Time

I spent yesterday in divorce court, one of many sessions in this long legal process. There’s no joy or ease at family court, that’s for sure.  But I’m trying to find lessons here.

In this particular court room, no electronic devices (or food and drink) are allowed.  You have to be silent. And we had to wait our turn, in the courtroom, on hard wooden benches, for hours.  For next time, I know to bring reading material, but for then I couldn’t help thinking “Waiting here is such a waste of time!   The kids are at school. It’s a work day. I want to be productive while I wait – catch up on emails, write a proposal, support my clients, plan something!”  What’s an entrepreneur to do in such a situation?

So, in my attempt to unearth the lesson, I brainstormed and applied this list of possible activities for a brilliance-based entrepreneur temporarily unable to shine brightly:

  • Pray – I went with the Serenity Prayer on that hard bench
  • Meditate – similar to praying, but with more receiving
  • Breathe deeply – instantly relaxing
  • Compose a blog post  – ‘nuf said
  • Make a gratitude list – fortunately for me, this one takes a lot of time

Try some of these next time you’re stuck in traffic.

Have you had a situation where you couldn’t be productive or genuinely enjoy your present surroundings?  Any other ideas for how to handle it?  Please share in the comments below.


  1. oncealittlegirl

    Search out the silence. You will be amazed at what you hear.

  2. Stef

    I usually space out and try to relax. I figure there's nothing I can do about the forced un productivity so why worry about it. That being said I haven't dealt with anything like this since I got my Kindle (greatest invention since sliced bread). Assuming they allowed that "electronic device" (yeah right) into a courtroom setting my nose would have been in one of my many E Books. Or while waiting in court I used to just watch the hearings before mine. They would range from fascinating to silly to downright boring — wasn't in divorce court all that often though.

  3. Debra Woog

    Thanks – that's certainly what I tried to do! What's the name of the book?

  4. Kerry

    Awakening the Buddah Within. I will email you in a minute.

  5. Kerry

    I have a wonderful book on tape that I think you would benefit from. It is about Buddhism (not sure how you feel about that) but essentially it is like learning about the topic while listening to Woody Allen. There are small lessons each of us can take away from the practice and one of them is definitely meditation while waiting in line, in traffic or in your case in court. Look at it as one moment that the world forced you to disconnect electronically so you could connect with yourself. In the face of what you were dealing with, this was an arduous task, no doubt. But if you found that moment that you could breathe, think and be in a place such as that, let that be your gift and your reward.