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Take Advantage of Downtime at Work

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson, Monster Contributing Writer

We often dream of having downtime at work. But when we actually get it, we don't know what to do. You should realize this is the perfect time to complete the tasks you've put off or to pick up some new skills.

Stretch Yourself

You may have passed on projects you did not feel you had the skills necessary to complete. Those projects may still be sitting on your boss's desk.

Tell your boss you would like to take a stab at one of them. With the slowdown in your workload, you will be able to take the time to research the best way to complete the project.

If you need help getting started, don't hesitate to ask your boss for suggestions. Just because you have more time on your hands doesn't mean you should waste it.

Explore Self-Development

Now's the time to pull out your file of seminars and workshops and start selecting courses that will help move your career forward.

If your boss gives you a hard time about the cost, simply remind him of how your attendance at the program will benefit both your boss and the department. If your boss still is not willing to spend the dollars and you are in a position to invest in yourself, say so. Your offer to pay for the course will show how committed you are to taking it and may prompt your boss to cough up some bucks.

Go Back to School

You've been thinking about pursuing an advanced degree but have hesitated because your job has required you to work a lot of nights and weekends.

There is no time like the present. Even if you have not taken any necessary admissions tests to officially get started, see if you can take some courses that might be transferable to a degree program.

Be sure to let your boss know of your intentions so you're not overloaded when things do pick up again.

Update Your CV

Use this time to refresh your CV. If the downtime appears to be never-ending, you will be one step closer to finding other employment.


Perhaps you swore you would get involved in a local professional organization, but you've never made it to any meetings. Your excuse of not having time is now gone. Attend some of those dinner meetings to which you've been invited.

Relax and Enjoy Yourself

Leave work at 5 p.m. to attend a Little League game. Take that knitting class you've been talking about for months. Do something for yourself or your family.

Consider joining a gym and getting back into shape. You'll need to be fit when things start moving again at warp speed.

Remember, downtime can be a good thing. Before too long, your job will be super busy, and you'll wish you had more free time to do all those things that are once again on the back burner.

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