Downtime Productivity

Recently, I was a panelist and guest of The Society of Composers & Lyricists (SCL), in a conversation about Downtime Productivity. You know, that time that you have when things are a little quiet at work – no matter if you’re working for someone else, or for yourself?

We all have those lull times when we might slip into a sort of sleepy boredom/depression, or maybe it rears its head for you, like a frantic anxiety of, ‘OH NO! Why is this happening??!’ On this May 20th panel, we discussed these common reactions to downtime. So, what to do? Read on for some helpful tips.

Four tips to live with – and learn to love – downtime productivity, when it strikes:

1) Give yourself a break and nurture yourself back to health. If you’ve been working hard for a while it may be time to take your foot off the pedal, and coast a little bit. This downtime won’t last forever, so if you need a little extra sleep, some time to read and reflect, do it!

2) Keep a list of all of the projects that you wish you could work on, when you’re in your busy times. When the lull comes, turn to your list and start having some fun ‘getting’ to these projects. This list can steer you clear of wasting time watching daytime TV, or aimlessly shopping online! And you’ll have interesting projects to talk about with friends and colleagues.

3) Talk to your peeps. Great time to reach out to your former colleagues, friends, and new sources of professional information. Do you have time to go to a conference? Go! An association meeting, or a meet-up about specific areas of interest? Go! Now’s the time to engage.

4) Learn something new. We all need to be lifelong learners these days, and the options for taking a class are plentiful. Community college, extension programs, online…or a combination. Degree, certificate, or one-time workshops provide an excellent way to update your skills for the work you do now, or you can work on developing that ‘Plan B’ skill set that will serve you when you’re ready to transition to the next chapter of your life.