Be Productive During your Down Time


July 30, 2007   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Feeling Down

It’s not very often that I find myself with any free time. In fact, if I have any, a power nap is usually in order. However, I have recently been trying to better utilize free time. The time I gain from cutting workplace distractions alone has provided me with at least 45 extra minutes each day. For those that aren’t math wizards, that’s like 5 hours per week! However, perhaps that time is best utilized relaxing the brain as opposed to clearing out the inbox.

Once you master distraction extermination, how can you best utilize the time? Take a peak at the ideas I wrote down on my train ride today and decide if and how you can implement these.

    • Do Nothing: You didn’t expect this one but instead of napping, just sit and think. Grab a newspaper and plain old relax. While some may call you a slacker, there is a lot to say for increasing your productivity by relaxing your brain. Try it – go somewhere quiet and just chill out.


    • Build the network: No I am not talking about anything technical. I am talking about building your personal network. Send an email or give someone a call that you normally wouldn’t. There are always people that can help advance your career, the key is to remind them that you exist.


    • Get Out: While I hate to use the fitness cliche, getting out for a walk can help clear your brain. The fresh air and the increased blood flow will help you think. Bring your notebook with you because clear thinking provides a unique chance to brainstorm and you’ll need a spot to write your ideas. To plan your route and build some diversity, try TrailLink or look for an appropriate resource here.


    • Clean: I don’t care if it’s your office, your inbox, or your mail. Spend some time organizing the things that constantly demand attention. Whatever it is, your busy time will flow if you get rid of anything that slows things down.


    • Hit the gym: Ok, I am an internet junkie so many times my free time is allocated to the internet. However, by committing to simply walking or lifting weights twice per week, your energy and health will surely increase. Put together a simple workout schedule and commit to it on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you already workout, try mixing it up!


  • Challenge yourself to learn: I enjoy trivia so occasionally I will take a few minutes and try to learn 5 things in 5 minutes. The facts and vocabulary I pick up impress the boss, my wife, etc. We wrote a post recently on learning resources so if you have time to kill, read it!

I am all for wisdom sharing so if you have something unique that you do during your down time, let us all know.


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