In this paper, we seek to find a better way of effective task management when a progress bar interrupts user’s primary activity. We propose to augment progress bars with user controlled functionalities facilitating the switch to temporary activities. We detail a taxonomy of waiting period contexts and possible temporary tasks, then report on 5 participatory design, and a follow-up survey of 96 respondents. Finally we describe an early prototype of active progress bars, and report on initial use.