10 Surprising Ways to Stay Productive During Your Downtime

10 Surprising Ways to Stay Productive During Your Downtime

How often do you find yourself with nothing to do? No, social media and napping don’t count as activities. I get it, your Insta game needs to be on point. So, let me rephrase. How often do you find yourself doing meaningful and productive things during your downtime?

You might find yourself in a lull at work. Maybe you have an hour commute. Or you might just find yourself bored while you are sitting on your bed, waiting for the next episode of Big Brother to come on. There are plenty of little pockets of time scattered throughout our days that we can use in meaningful ways.

Next time one of these moments hit, try one of these 10 ways to stay productive during your downtime.

(Don’t have enough time to read all these words? Check out the infographic at the bottom!)

Inbox Zero

Minimum duration: 5 Minutes

10 Ways to Stay Productive During Your Downtime - Inbox ZeroI have 237 unread emails, and I have a lot more emails that should be archived. I could easily get down to inbox zero by spending my downtime to crank through it.

We wouldn’t be as overwhelmed every time we open our emails if we used our free time to respond and archive some messages.

Network

Minimum duration: 10 Minutes

10 minutes of free time!

Awesome, I’ll call my mom. Better yet, I’ll DM an Instagram influencer that I want to network with.  I can also send out texts to my friends, share cool blog posts (like this one ?) and videos to my network, and call up a friend to see what their plans are later.

Keeping up with one person in your network can take a couple of seconds. Imagine how much larger your circle of influence will grow if you spend your downtime making connections.

Review Goals

Minimum duration: 5 minutes

You wrote down your goals. Do you remember what they are? Have you reviewed them lately? You should review your goals at least 3 times a day to increase the chances of succeeding.

I review my goals by taking out a sheet of paper and writing down my goal three times. Then, I note what I did that day to get closer to it.

The possibilities are endless with your goals. Think of how much more of your list you could accomplish if you spent your downtime reviewing your goals. The results would be, LEGEN wait for it… DARY!

Exercise

Minimum duration: 7 Minutes

Get off your bum and move. Do something active. If doctors were to give you a magic pill that 10xs your health, they would give you exercise.

Let’s take a quick pause so you can do 10 pushups. I’m serious – get down and give me ten.

You will have more energy, a better memory, and you will look good in the mirror. Just don’t spend the rest of your downtime checking yourself out.

Passion Project

Minimum duration: Varies

Passion Projects are projects that get you all giddy.  My passion project is my blog and brand awaketobegreat.com (#ShamelessPlug).

Some passion projects include learning to dance salsa, writing a book, woodworking, competitive basket weaving, cooking, staying active, water purifying, or dog food baking school. The list is endless.  A passion project is literally whatever you want. If you love it, do it.

Extra credit

Minimum duration: Varies

It’s time to stand out and go the extra mile. I bet you can do something in your company to impress boss. Can you send them an article that they might like? Learn to code? Can you get 15 sales when you only needed 10? How can you use your network to advance the company or the team?

What is something that you can do to, as the Swift Kick team would say would say, play to win?

Journal

Minimum duration: 10 Minutes

I started journaling to log my activities during my day. It was a timeline of my life. But, an unexpected benefit happened when I journaled. I became more sociable, I had more stories to tell in conversation, my writing became better (I hope), and my stress levels went down.

It takes 10 minutes to log your day. Are you up for it?

Listen to a Podcast / Audiobook or Just Read a Book

Minimum duration: 10 Minutes

There are an infinite number of podcasts and books. I’m positive you will find one that catches your interest. I like to spend my downtime learning about self-development. Often, I read during breakfast or when I’m waiting in line. I listen to audiobooks when I cook, drive, and workout.

As I said, you can find any topic you are interested in. Just do a quick Google search: “podcasts about ____” or “books about ____.”

Talk to your coworkers (as long as they aren’t busy) ?

Minimum duration: 5 Minutes

You’re bored at your desk. The only thing to do is tap your pen and make large sigh noises until someone hears you and says, “what’s up.”  Or, you can take some initiative. Go to the lounge and spark some conversation. If you’re in a big office, there are probably people you don’t know. In a small office, there are people you can get to know better. If you’re a solopreneur, this may not be for you. No need to fear, we have plenty other options.

Meditate

Minimum duration: 10 Minutes

If doctors could give you a second magical pill, it would be meditation. Sit down in a quiet place and have at it. Meditation has been shown to reduce fatigue, reduce stress, increase memory, increase quality of sleep, and increase your rubber band slingshot accuracy.

Ok, that last benefit is a little bit of a stretch (?).

Here is a valuable resource on how to meditate.

 

What if your downtime doesn’t exist?

Say whaaaaaaaaaat?

If you can’t find 10 minutes of downtime, you should re-evaluate your life. You can find extra minutes in the day when you are eating, standing in line, commuting, or just not doing anything. People look at their phone, close to 150 times a day and spend about 4 hours on it. Phones take up your free time.

Some of these activities can be chunked with passive tasks. Listen to a podcast when you cook dinner, eliminate emails as you respond to your network, or do yoga as exercise and meditation.

 

What if your entire workplace adapts productive downtime?

If all your teammates adapted a goal reviewing habit, or they all made an effort to talk to new people, your work environment and work culture would change. If your team already does something like this, comment below and let me know how it is working.

You can become gym buddies with a coworker, have a meditation retreat, or talk about your passion projects. That sounds like a playground, not a work environment. All of this is possible.

  • Share this article with your team
  • Invite them to participate
  • Ask them about their passions
  • Reward their extra credit work
  • Start a book club

The possibilities are endless. Your downtime has so much potential, and you have the potential to spread this idea to your team. Start working on using your downtime productively and meaningfully. Use those minutes of nothing and fill it with the extraordinary.

10 surprising ways to stay productive during downtime

Elon Kline
elon@swiftkickhq.com