Make the Most of Your Idle Time on the Job

Posted on 07/27 by Erin Helms

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Idle time at work is having free time and not doing anything productive. It is common in every business and industry. Consider how you spend your idle time waiting in line, in traffic jams and between work tasks. You might think you have no time for complex tasks, but there are many things you can do during your idle time to keep you productive. Try these the next time you have some downtime.

Evaluate Your Goals

Idle time on the job is an ideal time to review your goals. You can achieve these goals during your career or a specific work project you want to complete. Reviewing your goals will help you determine the steps you need to take for your project or long-term career goals.

Plan Next Steps

Consider the steps you plan to take once the idle time ends. Are you waiting on something from a co-worker? Create a list of the steps you must complete once you receive it. Please plan the steps during your idle time, and you can instantly start on the steps once your idle time concludes.


Idle time is the perfect time to learn. Find something you can learn to help with your current job or career. Consider enrolling in a certification course or other online learning. Learning at work is an excellent way to spend your idle time because you become a more valuable employee during this process.

Get Organized

If being organized is crucial, idle time allows you to manage your workspace. It is an excellent time to remove clutter from your desk or organize files on your computer. Try to picture the type of workspace that will allow you to be the most productive once your idle time ends. Create this ideal workspace during your idle time.

Carefully Schedule Breaks

If you have the flexibility to decide when you take breaks, consider scheduling them during your idle time. Suppose you wait 30 minutes each day for a file or part to arrive. How about planning a break during that time? You will still get breaks without having idle time in other parts of the workday.


If you work at a desk all day, idle time is ideal for getting up and moving around. Getting up stimulates the blood flow, which is good for your health. Use idle time to go for a walk or do some stretching. Moving will help you feel refreshed, allowing you to focus on your work after your idle time.

Ask for More Work

Check to see if anyone in the office needs help. If not, speak to your supervisor and ask if there is any work they can assign to you. Not only does this kill off idle time, but it also gets you noticed for additional responsibilities in the office.

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