There are some workdays when your schedule is so tight and you can’t get anything extra done. A gazillion emails appear in your inbox and you have no choice but to have lunch at your desk. But sometimes you get a break… short-lived maybe, but nevertheless, a bit of downtime at work.
If your boss or supervisor can see your screen, you know it’s useless trying to Facebook at such times. Neither can you catch up on your favourite series, while attempting to quickly press the ESC button when you hear footsteps.
And this is where the trouble lies. Some people are so used to being extra busy at work (or Facebooking on the downtimes), that they have no clue how to be productive in time of famine.
So here’s some good stuff you can do while at work:
Before I joined the firm, I was amazed at how my office BFF used to go on and on about planning holidays in her downtime. But now I understand. Use your downtime at work to find out about holiday deals, and plan your activities on the trip. It doesn’t have to be an overseas holiday. Research local and nearby places of interest. I’m trying to deliberately explore my local area, and I was at Madame Tussauds in London over the weekend, and I had a surprisingly amazing time. Having a Nigerian passport (and the constant requirement for visa) is tough, so I’m forever stalking places to go without a visa. In case you didn’t know, Barbados is one of those places – and it is amazing. I should probably blog about that.
That you can’t be on Facebook doesn’t mean you can’t be on any social media. This is a good time to update your LinkedIn page. Think of your recent track records and achievements and put those down. Connect with like minds, and generally find out what your mentors are up to. Research conferences or seminars that may apply to you, and make a list of your short term professional aspirations.
When I look at the heap of papers on my desk, the four pairs of shoes under my desk and my full inbox, I’m often confused and overwhelmed. So hopefully, I can take my own advice and do a bit of organising. Having a clean desk helps you function better. Or so the experts say. Some of us like plenty of papers on our desks so we look busy. Haha. Just kidding (kinda).
So you have a 9 – 5; or a 9 – whenever your boss leaves the office. But you’ve had some thoughts that’ll make you break out of the 9 – 5 hustle. Except there’s no time to put these together. So why are you spending your downtime snap-chatting the fact that you’re bored at work? Grab your note pad (if you’re serious about that money-making idea or hobby surely you have a notepad dedicated to this) and write down your notes. Fine-tune them. And before you know it. Bam! you have a full pitch or proposal to present to someone. You could also sign up to learn something new. There are loads of free resources that teach a new language or skill. A 10-minute course could change your life quite a bit. On a famine day, I literally just walked to the stationery room, picked up a note-pad, wrote KacheeTee.com on the front page, and this blog was born!
For my fit-fam peeps, there’s always this option. I find it a bit strange that people use the gym at lunchtime, and then have to shower again (or don’t they shower?). But I guess those abs won’t form themselves. My colleague used to do this – to say I was in awe is an understatement. If you can’t use the gym, take a walk maybe? This helps you get some exercise, clear your head and you can probably do #4 as well while on that walk.
I do this a lot. Book my medical appointment; Call that tailor that has kept my outfit for 6 weeks and counting; Call my hairstylist and discuss hairstyles; Call my mum for random chats I’ve missed out on. There are loads of personal things we often want to do at the weekend and don’t get around to doing. Some downtime at work is a good opportunity to get these done. I have a friend in a long-distance relationship who uses downtime to skype her boo – I guess that qualifies as a personal ‘task’ as well.
This is just a note to self.
I had a boss once who did this. You dare not go into her office during her quiet time. I think it’s a good habit to pick up. We have a ‘Contemplation room’ in my office. I really should meditate more often. I have no excuse! Oh I have one. The room is not on my floor… Oops.
So that’s what I think. Have I missed something? What do you guys do during downtime at work?
Have a great and productive week.
pS: You know checking and sharing my blog is the unwritten 8th thing you could do right? That’s productive innit?