How to Make the Most of Downtime at Work


How to Make the Most of Downtime at Work


Americans work longer and harder than virtually every other developed economy in the world. As a nation, we don’t seem to get much downtime. Perhaps that’s why it can be so challenging to find ways to use it effectively. However, that doesn’t mean downtime isn’t essential, as is knowing how to leverage it to your benefit.


Downtime: the Modern Luxury


Modern lifestyles are incredibly hectic and chaotic. Cloud technologies are making work increasingly independent of the office. While that adds an extraordinary level of convenience, it also reshapes what employers can ask of (and expect from) workers.

For some industries and sectors, downtime is already a thing of the past. Few people ever turn off their phones these days, which means that we’re always on-call for all intents and purposes. Downtime has become a modern luxury, often reserved for a privileged few.

This is a broad pattern across most American jobs, but it’s far from universal. There are many sectors, industries, and specific companies with a different office culture. At start-ups and technology companies, for example, downtime is part of your daily routine.

In these set-ups, employers expect workers to have some downtime every day between tasks. This, in theory, can help boost productivity and efficiency, according to the Harvard Business Review. Never underestimate the importance of having time to clear your head!

Best Things to Do With Your Downtime

Here are a few useful ways in which you can use your downtime at work: 


When you work with a plan, your probabilities of success go up no matter what you’re doing. Planning saves us valuable time guessing around, which we can then put towards achieving our goals. Use your downtime to plan out your day, week, or month.


Organizing is just as important as planning. A well-organized space can be used with significantly higher efficiency. Information can be extracted from a well-organized record much faster than from loose papers. Every minute spent organizing saves hours of future searching.


Focusing on your job is an excellent way to get ahead. However, if you only focus on work, you don’t get any networking done. Networking lets you gain visibility for all the work you do, and lets you find the contacts you need to take your career to the next level.


Bonding with your work team is another important activity that is often overlooked, as we rush to spend what precious few minutes of downtime we have on ourselves. However, bonding with your teammates can make work easier to deal with and earn you some loyal supporters.


Sometimes, you simply want to pass the time and get some adrenaline. There’s a lot of online gambling options, like betting on sports or gambling in online casinos. For those who’d rather not risk their own money, there are many new online casinos with no deposit bonus offers.


“Never stop dreaming” is among the best pieces of advice we offer children and then ignore as adults. It holds true no matter your age, though. Downtime is an opportunity for workers to engage in day-dreaming. Visualize where you want to be and what you need to get there.


Another excellent use of your downtime is for improving processes, methodologies, and protocols. These tools save us a lot of time in our daily lives, but often have shortcomings that end up costing us extra time and effort. Use downtime to try gradual improvements to your processes.


Downtime is a perfect moment for you to do some learning. Whether it’s professional knowledge that can open doors for you, or simply new information about your favorite hobbies, knowledge is power. We should all strive to learn something new every day.


Modern lifestyles are far too sedentary, according to most health organizations. We could all use a bit more physical activity in our daily lives. Downtime can be an ideal opportunity for this. Many apps can help you get a full-body workout in just a few minutes.

What ways are you making the most of downtime?


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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