When you have a slow day at work, you can spend your time watching the clock or you can see it as an opportunity. It’s important to make the best use of your time during the work day; Not only are you ethically obliged to deliver the service for which you are being paid, but being productive on a slow day sends a positive message to your boss and colleagues. If your work days are consistently dragging, however, you may want to consider other strategies.
Planning Enhances Performance
A slow day is a great opportunity to do some planning. For example, although there’s nothing much happening right at the moment, you know there’s going to be a big push on a major project in a few weeks; so spend a little time jotting down ideas, making notes or conducting preliminary research. If it’s a slow day for all of the members of your team, get together and do a little brainstorming for the new project. When there’s nothing in particular on the horizon, use the extra time to do some planning for your own advancement -- research a class or seminar, work on ideas to present to your boss or write down some of your recent accomplishments in preparation for your next performance evaluation.
Get Caught Up
Routine office tasks often slip to the bottom of the "To Do" list when employees are busy. Your inbox may be full of old emails you’ve already dealt with, or even emails you haven’t been able to get to. You might also have leftover filing or clutter to deal with. A slow day could give you the time to clean things up. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about a better way to manage your files or considering ways to reorganize your workstation; Now that you have the time, you can actually implement those ideas.
Extend a Helping Hand
Your quiet day doesn’t necessarily extend to other people. Check with other team members to see if they need help. You could also let your boss know you have some time for an extra project, or offer to take a task off her hands. Network with people outside of your department or organization. Check in with former colleagues or contact someone you met at a conference. A slow day might also provide an opportunity to do the little things, such as write a personal note of appreciation to each of your team members.
When They're All Slow Days
If the clock seems to crawl every workday, you have a different problem. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your job or you’ve simply become so good at what you do that there’s no challenge left. Although you could look for a new position, there may be some things you can do to liven up your current situation. Ask to take on a new assignment that will make you stretch. Set new goals for yourself, such as ways to complete projects in less time. Offer to mentor a new employee. If all of these strategies fail, however, it may be time to look for a new job or even make a career change.
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