It's not unusual to sometimes have little or nothing to do at work. And depending on the nature of your work, there may be times when you won't necessarily have a lot of responsibilities or tasks to take care of. At times you may wrap up things quickly or in the first half of your work day and just sit around waiting for the clock to strike five and go home. This can happen in small companies and startups, especially if they have many employees. However, this shouldn’t stop you from taking on new responsibilities to further achieve the company’s goals. Create something for yourself in your free time at work!
Sure, having little to do at work at times can be a bit demotivating and if there are a couple of days like this, you will begin to think about whether you're in the right job role and your perception of the work culture will begin to change.
But instead of feeling demotivated, disheartened, or frustrated in your free time or during slow days, it is important to take such occurrences as an opportunity to become more proactive with other things. In light of this, we're going to talk about some interesting things you can do when experiencing a particularly slow day at work and the things you can do when you're feeling bored.
For instance, you can press your manager to give you a new task or you can engross yourself in other miscellaneous productive things in and around the office. You can also learn to use new technology being introduced at work or work on your current to-do list if you are having a slow day or you could learn new skills.
Understanding What it Means Not Have Anything to Do at the Office
If there are no assignments to work on, it just means that your employer doesn't necessarily have anything they can assign you at the moment. This can be common in job roles in the stock market or financial industry during inflation or times of uncertainty. While this can be good news for employees who are in more fast-paced job roles such as marketing and sales, repeatedly having little to no work can eventually lead to a feeling of demotivation and may adversely affect your overall mood. You will end up thinking why did you even get up to go to work?
It doesn't matter what situation you are in, there are still plenty of ways to keep yourself occupied and stay productive. There are a lot of things you can do to either accentuate your job role or learn something new. For example, you can do stuff that you would normally do in your personal life, such as reading a book. No matter what, you need to stay productive and positive.
Interesting and Productive Ways to Keep Yourself Busy When there's Nothing to Do at Work
See if You can Do Something About Tasks on the Back Burner
It is common to pause assignments in favour of completing urgent tasks. Now that you don't have anything else to do, it can be a great idea to revisit backburner tasks and see if you can take care of them. You will eventually have to do them anyhow, so why not take the time you have now to submit them? You can even try to do some research on your personal projects if you have any. Or you could ask your boss to give you a new project.
Partner with Your Colleagues
Another excellent thing to do when you don't have any work is to offer help to your co-workers if they need it. You can always say that you're free and have time to help them complete their tasks or projects however they feel fit. The best way to do that is to first approach people that you are close with at work as it will increase the likelihood that they will share some of their responsibilities with you.
In addition, because they already know how qualified or well-trained you are to handle things, they will willingly accept your help knowing that you will probably complete the tasks faster and with a lot of diligence. Both you and your co-workers happily work on complex and time-consuming projects. You can also volunteer to help your colleagues attend client phone calls on different tasks. Try to do anything you can to accentuate your career.
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Discuss Things With Your Manager or Boss Over a Meeting
If having not a lot of work to do every day is becoming a frequent occurrence, it is a good idea to schedule a meeting with your team lead or manager. Talk to your manager and explain the situation. Ask them why you aren't being assigned anything. Chances are that your manager may just discuss a possible new job role or give you any advanced upcoming projects to expand your career. The added benefit of having a meeting with the boss is that you can also seek career advice from your manager.
In addition, spend some time talking things out with your manager to show your determination and motivation to work and take up other responsibilities. It shows character and reflects your commitment to continuously advance in your career. You can also discuss whether or not there are any special assignments that you can help the company with should you find yourself without work any day of the week or if you are having a slow day. Try to increase your productivity when facing a little downtime. Spend some time reading news articles.
Brainstorm New Ideas on How You Can Become More Productive
If and when you don't have anything to do at work, one of the best ways to keep yourself motivated and headstrong is to brainstorm new ideas to further your career. For example, you can brainstorm creative and productive ways to enhance your work efficiency during a not-so-busy day. You can seek more knowledge about your job role and become even better at tackling a complex project. Being free at work is the perfect time to search for new jobs if seek a transition.
Moreover, you can also play an instrumental role in consistently optimizing the business relationships between different clients and the company your work for. In addition, you can also participate in things such as review procedures, and catch up on the email notifications sent by the upper management to always be in the know of things around the workplace.
It’s a great way to increase your productivity. You can also brainstorm different opportunities to solve issues when it comes to the workplace environment or culture. In addition, you can also complete a boring task, something that you have been putting off for a while now. Spend time doing research on your competitors.
Take a Breather and Reflect
At times, the best solution to combat feelings of demotivation and workplace anxiety on slow workdays is just taking a short break. For example, when you come into work and see that you don't really have anything significant to do, instead of sitting at your desk with a train of thoughts running through your head, take a 15-20 minute break or seek knowledge about anything at the company. If you're hungry get a small snack, some coffee, and take a stroll around the office complex. Do some meditation to reflect on your inner self and find some measure of positivity at the company.
Come back to your workstation after finding more motivation within yourself and start working on new projects that had to be put off because of other more important tasks. It doesn't matter how small the project is, set your mind to completing it with precision and excellence. You can even learn a new skill or two and get a head start when you’re finally assigned something.
Bonus! List of Things To do at Work When You're Bored
While at the office, it is expected of you to always bring your A game. Your team lead or manager expects you to be focused, motivated, and productive throughout the day and work efficiently to get the best results. However, when there's not enough work for fast-paced employees or people who are in more creative roles, having not much to do can really be boring. Sure, while it isn't going to be often that you don't have enough work to do, when it is the case, know that there are still a lot of things you can do at the workplace to kill your boredom irrespective of what part of the industry you belong to.
However, one of the things that you should not do when you're bored at work and don't have any projects to work on is sit idly at your workstation. Understand that you can quickly convert boredom into something more exciting and create something interesting for yourself. In light of this, listed below are some things to do at work when you're bored.
- Open your Twitter and start following important people (also unfollow unrelated accounts)
- Watch motivational videos or an interesting TED talk (should be on related topics)
- Read a book you've been wanting to finish
- Send motivating emails to other members or those related to your project and appreciate their work
- Try to correct your posture by getting a more ergonomic chair
- Do some meditation and clear your thoughts
- Update your to-do lists
- Clear your social feeds of irrelevant things
- Learn a programming language or some other field-related skills that can enhance your career
- Create minor tasks such as doing an online course on increasing your focus
- Document the process you follow to complete your work
While not having any work to do at the office is not going to be a common occurrence, if you do have to face a couple of days without any work, know that there are always interesting ways to make the best out of each day while remaining motivated and productive. Spend time doing work-related research when you’re bored at work or want a little down time. The important thing is to look at the big picture and take on additional responsibilities to enhance your personal goal or learn a new skill.