Five Ways to Make the Most of Downtime at Work
Every day can look and feel similar at work, but every once in a while, things are a little different.
Sometimes, it’s because there’s an event and you find yourself twiddling your thumbs until the event gets underway. Sometimes, it’s because the power goes out or IT is working on something important. After all, the statistics on cybersecurity attacks are sobering. It isn’t uncommon for businesses to experience downtime updating infrastructure or trying to recover after an attack.
No matter what the reason, there will be times in your career when your day seems like it has gone out the window, but it hasn’t! There are things you can do when you have downtime, even if it means you can’t work on your regular projects.
Brainstorm With Pen and Paper
Most of us spend the vast majority of our day at a computer. There are benefits to doing work on the computer. Some of us type faster than we write, and storing information on the Cloud or on computer systems is a lot more convenient than keeping bulky file folders around. However, there are some serious benefits of writing by hand. Take advantage of those benefits when you have downtime at work.
Have a document you’re supposed to start writing? Need to brainstorm for a new project? Even if you have to type it up later, try doing it by hand when you have downtime. You may decide you prefer putting pen to paper than fingers to a keyboard!
Prep to Get Ahead
Busy days often leave us scrambling at the beginning and end of the day. That’s because there is very little time to prepare head of time. With downtime, you are able to prep to get ahead.
How can you prepare ahead of time to boost your success when the office is operational again? Can you collect materials, conduct interviews, or write down a rough outline?
Prepping to get ahead may also mean doing some of those other things that you always wish you had time for. For example, you may find it very rewarding to mark important to-dos, appointments, and other events in your planner.
Declutter and Clean
If prepping always finds itself at the bottom of your to-do list, chances are, decluttering and cleaning isn’t even on your list anymore! Downtime is the perfect time to tackle your desk, your computer, and other areas of the office to boost your mental health when you’re aren’t able to get back to work.
Some things you might want to declutter and clean include:
• Your desk
• Your computer desktop
• Unneeded files on your computer
• Break and meeting rooms
• The refrigerator
When we say clean, we mean it! Don’t just get rid of the clutter and wipe down tables. Clean keyboards, clean screens, wipe out the refrigerator, and clean the coffee machine.
Spend Time Daydreaming
Daydreaming may seem like a waste of time, but it isn’t. It can actually help you get ahead at work.
Having downtime gives you the perfect opportunity to daydream a little bit about work and office matters. Let your mind wander while you’re thinking about a project or imagine the details that would go into the perfect day at work. You may stumble onto a solution to a problem or be the reason why coming back to the office is more enjoyable after everything’s up and running again.
Don’t think you have to daydream about work. Daydream about a vacation or anything else that makes you happy and you’ll still bust stress and reduce anxiety.
Ask Others How You Can Be Helpful
Teamwork is important at work, at least some of the time. When you have downtime, think about how you can be of service to others.
For example, you may have downtime due to a computer problem, but the IT department is working overtime. Is there anything you can do to help them, even if it’s just picking up coffee or grabbing lunch?
Is there a coworker who is running to pick up supplies and could use a hand or a boss who needs packets stapled? Don’t be afraid to ask around and see how you can help!
Having downtime at work can make you wonder why you even showed up at all, but just because you can’t do your normal routine doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do! With these tips, you can make the most of your downtime and get right back to work as soon as it’s possible.