I don’t know about you guys, but this past month has been REALLY slow for me. I went from being so busy that I could barely breathe to wishing I had a million things to do and couldn’t breathe again. My husband always tells me that I am never happy – that when I am slammed at work I complain and when I am slow I complain – and maybe that’s true. While I hate having to come into work on the weekends while my husband soaks up the sun with our friends, I would rather do that than have absolutely nothing to do. How about you guys?
So, what have I been doing at work this past month? I have been trying to read through certain code sections to at least know what they discuss (yes, I know, fun stuff). But now I am at the point where reading another code section is going to maybe, possibly, make me scream at the top of my lungs.
Summer is one of those times where people just seem to be slower at the office. Maybe this is because the weather is nice and people are enjoying their time outside rather than generating business, or maybe its just a coincidence. Whatever it is, there is no denying that being slow at work is miserable.
If you are in my situation and your work has dwindled during the summer months, what are some things you can do to stay busy and keep progressing as a professional? Obviously Facebooking, online shopping, or chatting with friends on G- chat is not the best way to spend your time (although I know a LOT of people do it anyways). Here are some POSITIVE things you could be doing with that extra time you have on your hands.
READ ABOUT THE CHANGES IN YOUR INDUSTRY
If you are in a particular field where changes in the laws, regulations, etc., affect you, then spending time on those slow days making sure that you haven’t missed any of those changes is probably a good idea. If there are such changes create a Word document making note of those changes and make sure that you thoroughly understand them. What I mean is don’t just read that the government is dropping funding for the program you are working for – find out how this is going to affect you, where the additional funding will come from, and why they are dropping the funding. In my line of work (legal) it is always important to read up on the changes in the laws and make sure that an opinion that was issued the previous day doesn’t somehow change something that you are working on today.
ORGANIZE YOUR EMAILS
If you are anything like me then your inbox contains thousands and thousands of emails that you have not yet taken the time to organize into folders. I don’t do this because it is VERY time-consuming to go through all of your emails and organize them, and because I like being able to search through my inbox for something that I need. But, even I have to admit that it is nice to have your emails organized into appropriate folders, so if you have the time to do it – then do it.
READ A GOOD PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOK
The slow times in the office provide a great time for you to help develop your professional skills. Try reading a professional development book. Here are some of my favs:
If you aren’t in the mood for reading an entire book then read professional development articles by typing “Professional Development” into Google and reading the various things that come up.
WRITE A MANIFESTO
If you don’t have a how-to document that would tell someone how to do your job if you died tomorrow, i.e. where everything is, who to call, what to do in certain circumstances, then making one is a great idea. Not only will this help someone if you decide to leave your job in the future, but it can be used as your go-to guide if you ever draw a blank on what to do next.
TAKE A CLIENT TO LUNCH
If you have the time to connect with a client on a particular day then call a client and asks them to lunch. Not only will this phone call give you a chance to chat with your client, but the lunch may lead to work (which, if you are reading this, you are in desperate need of).
ASK SOMEONE IF THEY NEED HELP
Just because you aren’t busy doesn’t mean that the people around you aren’t. So, if you are in the mood to get busy and keep your mind occupied, ask someone around you if you can help them out. Being a good neighbor is always important, and maybe they will offer to help you one day.
Have you guys been slow this summer? If so, what do you do to occupy your time?