What is the one thing that everyone says they don’t have enough of? Time.
Yet time is one precious resource that we seem to waste constantly. When it comes to jobs, there are many low-level jobs that have a considerable amount of inactive time. This idle time could be taken advantage of, rather than simply waiting for the minutes to pass by. Doing so will relieve the boredom. But more importantly, it presents an opportunity to pursue or prepare for new opportunities.
What is done during this time will vary based on interest and job conditions. Following is a list of 8 ways to recapture this idle time:
From an article on your phone to a dusty book, there are always benefits to reading. Checking the news and being aware of local, national, and worldwide events and trends not only makes one more informed, but provides perspective. Being informed shows that you are engaged and intelligent – which are signals that prospective employers look for.
Biographies provide insights into how successful people have approached challenges. The variety of approaches and realistic reflections on strengths and flaws provide perspective that can inform our own responses and goals.
Brush up on your history. As the saying goes, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Realistic assessment of history provides insight into many of our current social and political challenges.
Have decent knowledge of “the classics.” An appreciation for the classics demonstrates a well-rounded individual who has sought out personal appreciation of works of literature. Plus, chances are other people will have read them, and they’ll make for easy conversation.
Follow cultural trends in entertainment, which influence various marketing strategies. If you wish to pursue an entertainment related job, then an appreciation of trends and current topics is crucial. It's important to develop an understanding of how entertainment is funded, marketed, sold, and how profits are realized.
Write your version of the great American novel, write poetry, songs, ideas! Make lists of your goals and plans for the future. Often envisioning your dreams and putting words to them can help you realize them and create actionable goals. For inspiration on discovering what those goals are, read our post on shifting your perspective.
3. Listen to Podcasts
Make excellent use of your commute time and listen to a podcast. There are countless podcasts on varying topics, from the news, to science, to social issues, you can always find something to learn.
4. Learn a New Language
Learning a new language provides mental exercise that is said to provide cognitive benefits beyond simply learning another language. There are numerous tools for self-study including books, audio files, and websites. There are a ton of free apps you can use too, which make learning a new language super convenient. The most popular is DuoLingo, but there are others out there too!
5. Learn to Play the Harmonica
The harmonica is extremely portable and learning to play a musical instrument is stated to provide numerous benefits from improved mathematical reasoning to staving off dementia.
6. Learn to Juggle
Similar to learning a new language or new musical instrument, juggling forces mental concentration and learning a new skill that improves cognitive functions. Juggling is purported to have numerous benefits from improving concentration to stress relief.
Drawing provides a creative outlet that not only unleashes creativity, but also can relieve stress and be cathartic. Don’t worry about creating a masterpiece, just sketch whatever you want or take inspiration from your surroundings.
A pocket recorder (even on a smart phone) can be used to record the spoken voice. Compose songs, dictate a novel, poetry, or anything else that suites you. Recording can also be used as a mechanism to practice public speaking. You record yourself then play it back to critique yourself. The pace of delivery, the choice of wording, the tone of voice, the use of crutch filler sounds can also be analyzed and improved upon.
These suggestions all focus on activities that can be done in a wide variety of settings, requiring nothing larger than a book.
We’d love to learn what suggestions you have. Do you have idle time at your job? Share your experience on to tell others what a day in the life of your type of job is really like.
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