9 (and a half!) things to do at work when there's no longer work to do (also good for a boring day at home!)
My job is crazy one week and snail-slow the next. During the slow times, it's easy to get sucked into the web, clicking from one page to the next, waiting for someone to have a fire that I need to put out (that's what I do--put out those proverbial fires). So I've found some things that are fun to do and that make me feel productive at the same time.
*Warning: Different corporate cultures are different. Some of these may be completely acceptable in one environment and totally unacceptable in another. So use some discretion when trying them out!
1. Take surveys. Sure, there are a lot of scams out there. But there are also some good ways to earn yourself a little extra cash now and then, or to earn points toward giftcards. Free Christmas presents anyone? The best I've found are American Consumer Opinion and e-Rewards. They've proven secure and dependable to me!
2. Set up your own Etsy store. Do you make something others like? Could you learn? Setting up a store on Etsy is easy, fun, and easy on the bank account. If your item sells, fabulous! If it doesn't, you're not out too much (20 cents per item).
3. Sell some stuff on eBay. Setting up an auction is no more than a couple clicks away. You can sell those old Rollerblades, or the briefcase you just replaced. If work gets really bad, auction a date with your hot coworker!
4. Check for freelance jobs. Can you read? How about type? If you can, then there are jobs for you. I have entered a PhD. students' sources into EndNote, edited a manuscript, and more, all without any specialized skills in those areas, just because I was available and willing. A bonus? Freelance pay is often better that you'll get at your job, particularly when people are desperate to get their project done. (at least in my experience!).
5. Plan your next trip. Kayak is only a click away, so why not? Besides, there are a million resources where you can see pictures of hotels, read reviews, access online travel guides, talk to people who live in other countries, and more! If you have to sit at the computer, why not plan your dream vacation. Even if you can't take it now, it'd be great to know exactly what you wanted to do when you could!
6. Find a need and plan to meet it. Do you really wish there was a different sort of option for web-based email? Is there something you've always wanted to be able to do online but no one's built it yet? Do you wish your shirt had a hidden pocket where you could hide you stack o' 50s? Whatever it is, you could make that thing. Check out Startup Nation for a realistic sense of what it would take.
7. Work on your flexibility. Even when you're sitting in a chair, you can take positive steps toward good health, less stress, and greater happiness.
8. Network. Did you meet someone interesting last night or remember a former colleague you'd like to keep in touch with? Shoot them an email. If you don't know their address, see if you can't look it up from the last information you knew about them. Who knows? One of them might have a more interesting job just waiting for you.
9. Take it to the next level. Would your job be less boring if you knew how to code and so didn't have to hand that part of the project over to someone else? Are there any skills that would give you less downtime in the job you have or make your more marketable for a job you'd like more? Then take this time to pick up some serious skills.
Be bored and frustrated at work no longer! Try out one of these ideas today, and let me know how it goes.