We all need downtime. The human mind and body can’t go at full speed full time. Usually, that downtime is imposed on us. The flight is delayed, the code hasn’t finished compiling, the customer at the front of line is arguing about a coupon, and the friend you are supposed to meet for dinner is stuck in a traffic jam.
Wasting time doesn’t have to turn into wasted time. We can use our downtime productively. Here are a few tips.
Doing nothing can be the best thing to do. Allow yourself to relax. Take a deep breath, take your attention away from whatever you’re working on, and just be still. If it is a nice day, step outside. If you’re stuck in a line, just look around and take in the sights and sounds of what is happening around you. By taking a break, you can return to the task with a clear mind and renewed focus. Instead of feeling frustrated by having to wait, we can feel calm and renewed.
If you know there is a long wait wherever you’re going, bring a book with you. Or download a reading app on your phone and bring a lot of books with you. Sure, you can play a game or watch YouTube videos, but books are a good way to feed your mind as you pass the time. They also won’t drain your battery like games and video.
(Meaningful) Web Browsing
If I’m waiting for documentation to finish compiling or for someone to get back to me with a question, I do a little Web browsing. I’m not looking for news about the Kardashians. I look for meaningful information I can use in my work. I look at technology news websites for trends and new products that can affect our industry, message boards on subjects related to my job, and general news sites to stay informed. Even social media on appropriate sites can provide valuable work information.
Before you fire up your Web browser, check your company’s policies on Internet usage and make sure your usage is not excessive and does not interfere with your work. Also note that your company may monitor the sites that you visit.
Several times during your work day, stand up and take a short walk around your office. If you have an Apple Watch or a fitness band, you can set it to remind you. Some other ways to fit exercise in your day: Take a walk at lunch instead of going out for a heavy meal. If you’re stuck in an airport terminal or a mall waiting for your spouse and children to finish shopping, take a walk around.
Making Every Minute Count
Pastor Rick Warren said, “Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time.” Find ways that you can make the most of your time. Relaxing can be a great use of time because it enables us to recharge. Reading useful books and websites and exercising can benefit our mind, body, and spirit. By finding ways to use our downtime, we can make every minute count.