The strategic planning session. The all-day workshop. The never-ending meeting. The seminar. We've all been there.
I'd like to share a method I use to get through those situations while keeping my brain alive. I like to call it "Alphabet Roundup." But you can call it whatever you like; maybe you should brainstorm names during your next long meeting. You can write them down while pretending to take important notes.
Playing Alphabet Roundup is really simple. All you need is a basic knowledge of the alphabet. Start the game by listening for the speaker to say a word that begins with the letter a. After you've heard one, start listening for a word that begins with b. And so on and so forth, all through the alphabet. When you've finished with the letter z, you get to check the clock. That's your prize.
If you've got limited time, consider adapting Alphabet Roundup (also consider yourself very lucky). You might make certain letters "wildcards," which can be found any time, not just in their sequential places in the alphabet. For example, if you decide that v is a wildcard, and you hear the word "voracious," go ahead and count it even if you're really only through h. I like to make a little box on my agenda with my wildcard letters, so I can cross them off as I hear them.
Of course, there are many other adaptations that can be made to Alphabet Roundup; why not listen for words that end with each letter? Why not start with a list of all 26 letters and cross each one off as you hear it, regardless of the order (that goes really fast, and I only recommend it in a big group because it's pretty obvious)? The possibilities are endless.