Organisation and Productivity

20 Productive Things To Do When You Are Waiting In The Car

We all have times when we are waiting in the car. This might be when we are picking up kids, waiting for a friend or we are early for an appointment. This might feel like wasted time, but it doesn’t have to be! There are many productive things you can do when you are waiting in the car, and I am going to share 20 ideas with you in this post.

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20 Things To Do When You Are Waiting In The Car

20 Productive Things To Do When You Are Waiting In The Car

1. Tidy your car

If you’re anything like me, your car will get quite messy with tissues, old parking tickets and food packaging in the door storage and glove compartment. Use your waiting time to gather them into one place or put them in a plastic bag ready to take indoors and throw away later.

2. Tidy your handbag

Likewise, you might gather random clutter such as receipts and sweet wrappers in your bag or purse. Take this time to clear it out and tidy the contents of your bag.

3. Adjust your car clock

This tip only applies if you have an older car where the clock doesn’t automatically set to the right time. Strangely, my car clock seems to gradually speed up and get ahead of the real time. Take a moment to check your car clock against your phone and make sure it is accurate. If you wear an analogue watch, you can check that for accuracy too while you’re at it.

A car dashboard showing the car clock, a mounted smartphone, and a hand on the steering wheel wearing a wristwatch.
Photo by BezeVision on Unsplash

4. Add spare change to your parking money

Most people keep a small tin of change in their car for parking and tolls. See if it needs topping up, and if so, add in some small change from your purse or wallet.

5. Review your diary

If you have your diary with you, look through it and make sure you have all your commitments written down. Also, remind yourself what you have coming up in the next week or so, so that you can mentally prepare.

6. Update your shopping list

If you keep a shopping list on your phone (or on paper), go through it and delete things that you have already bought. Also, think about what other things you need, and add them to the list.

7. Clear out your phone notes

I make a lot of notes on my phone. In fact, this blog post is based on a note I have on my phone of things to do when waiting in the car! Many of my phone notes become completely irrelevant after a while because they were short-term reminders. If you have lots of notes on your phone, go through and delete ones you don’t need any more.

A woman sitting in a parked car with one foot up on the seat. She is wearing headphones and looking at her phone.
Photo by Igor Starkov on Unsplash

8. Delete old text messages

If you have a lot of old text messages that are now irrelevant, delete them to make space on your phone.

9. Delete bad or un-needed photos

So many photos can build up on our phones. Go through and delete any that are bad, any duplicates and any that you don’t need or want.

10. Organise your apps

Delete any apps that you don’t use any more, and sort the remaining apps into a logical order. I sort mine by function and frequency of use, but I have seen some people sort them by colour. Do whatever works for you!

11. Optimise your phone

Most phones have a built-in optimiser app. All it takes is one tap to optimise your phone’s performance and make it run a little bit more smoothly.

12. Catch up on social media

This is not necessarily productive if you are just going to scroll down your feed. But if you actually have messages or comments that you need to reply to, this would be a good time to do it.

13. Message a friend

Why not use this spare time to send a quick message to check in with a friend, or even arrange to video call them? It will keep you socially connected and it could make their day!

A woman sitting in a parked car, looking at a smartphone and smiling.
Photo by Junior REIS on Unsplash

14. Learn a language

A language is a useful skill to learn in your spare time. I am currently learning French and I use the Duolingo app which I highly recommend. If you do a few lessons every time you are waiting in the car, you’ll make good progress!

15. Take surveys

There are various apps where you can earn money by taking surveys. Why not download some and use the spare time waiting in the car to make a bit of pocket money? My favourite survey app is OnePulse. The surveys are really short and easy and I have made around £50 on there in the past year.

16. Read a book

You might not always have a physical book with you. I keep magazines in my car because they are easier to dip in and out of at random. But if you happen to be reading a kindle e-book you can read it on the kindle app on your phone.

Related post: 12 Books That I Loved in 2020

17. Read a magazine

I always keep at least one magazine in my car so I can flick through it if I am waiting and I have nothing else to do.

18. Do some Kegel exercises

If you haven’t heard of Kegel exercises, they involve repeatedly contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles to strengthen them. Kegel exercises are subtle and easy to do, even when sitting in the car, and they could help you to avoid incontinence problems later on in life.

A woman applying lip balm while sitting in her car.
Photo by Chase Fade on Unsplash

19. Apply lip balm and/or hand cream

If you tend to get dry lips and dry hands, waiting in the car is the ideal time to top up on lip balm and hand cream to keep your skin moisturised.

20. Drink some water

I always keep a water bottle in my bag when I’m out and about, but sometimes when I’m busy I forget to drink. Time spent waiting in the car is a good time to get hydrated.

What do you do when you are waiting in the car?

Do you do any of these productive things while waiting in the car? Do you have any more ideas of things to do? Let me know in the comments!

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20 Productive Things To Do When You Are Waiting In The Car


  1. Whenever I have to wait in a car I often just scroll through social media haha but I definitely should do something more productive. These are great ideas of things to do!

    1. Sophie says:

      I often just scroll through social media too! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. This is a great list of things you can do to be productive when you are waiting in the car. Thank you for sharing this blog post.

    1. Sophie says:

      You’re welcome, I’m so glad you found this post useful!

  3. I’ve become a survey girl recently. I started it as a way to make extra cash and it’s perfect for when you have a lull like waiting in the car

    1. Sophie says:

      I used to do so many surveys when I was a student! I’ve got back into it recently and I agree it’s such a good filler activity!

  4. There are some great options on here. I recently downloaded Duolingo with the intention of learning a language, but I haven’t started yet – I’m thinking Spanish. Right now, I usually take that time to read/answer emails and catch up on social media. It’s a great way to stay on top of things on the go. I also have the Scribd app on my phone which is a great reading app that allows me to take my books with me wherever I go.

    1. Sophie says:

      I’ve found Duolingo really great for learning French, I’m sure it would be great for Spanish too! Answering emails is another great use of time spent waiting in the car. I’ve had several free trials of Scribd in the past, it’s a useful app!

  5. These are awesome productive things to do. Cleaning up my car would be the best one for me. It would definitely take the entire wait to do! Lol.

    I love all of these ideas though!

    1. Sophie says:

      Lol, cleaning your car would be a great use of the time! I really need to do that too…

  6. These are great suggestions! My husband hates being stuck in the car and will do everything he can to avoid it. When my daughter was a car rider in elementary school I would either read a book or crochet baby booties to donate.

    1. Sophie says:

      Reading and crocheting are such great ideas to do in the car!

  7. This is a great list! Cleaning the car is perfect. Take a little trash bag and pick up, use your little car vac to tidy up. Sometimes I take my laptop and do a small task. I’ve also listened to podcasts. You can watch a tutorial and learn how to do something. That car line wait time is definitely quiet and still and alone. I try to do something that is best done in that rare set of circumstances.

    1. Sophie says:

      Thank you for reading, and for sharing your ideas! Those are really good ideas to do during that time. I agree, the time spent waiting in the car is a rare moment of quiet alone.

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