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Nothing To Do? Here's What To Do!

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As you know, productivity is a typically key factor used to measure an employee’s success. It’s probably on your performance evaluation, and it may even be used to calculate your income. But how can …

As you know, productivity is a typically key factor used to measure an employee’s success. It’s probably on your performance evaluation, and it may even be used to calculate your income. But how can you remain highly productive when work isn’t piling up on your desk? This article reviews the ten top ways to stay productive when work is slow.

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  • 1. N O T H I N G T O D O ? H E R E ’ S W H AT T O D O !
  • 2. NOTHING TO DO? HERE’S WHAT TO DO! Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates 11639 E. Wethersfield Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85259 USA marketing@docntrain.com www.docntrain.com Phone: 480-614-8440 Toll-free: 877-614-8440 Fax: 480-614-2775 Copyright © 2008 Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates. All rights reserved.2Page
  • 3. NOTHING TO DO? HERE’S WHAT TO DO!1 0 WAY S T O S TAY P R O D U C T I V EWHEN WORK IS SLOWAs you know, productivity is a typically key factor used to measure an employee’ssuccess. It’s probably on your performance evaluation, and it may even be used tocalculate your income. But how can you remain highly productive when work isn’tpiling up on your desk? Below are 10 ideas from productivity experts and people whoresponded to the same question on the LinkedIn Answers business networkingwebsite. 3 Page
  • 4. NOTHING TO DO? HERE’S WHAT TO DO! Career Development Ideas When your project load lightens up, it’s a great time to polish your skills and network with other peers in your industry. Try the following tips to stay productive career development activities. 1. Become active in business/network societies. All kinds of business and networking societies are available online and in your geographic area. Inquire at the local Chamber of Commerce for specific business chapters, or search online for groups and organizations that might interest you. Examples of general business online networking groups are LinkedIn, XING and CollectiveX. Networking can also take place at conferences and seminars, where people expect to meet new faces and discuss new ideas. Interacting with others can teach you new tips and tricks that may boost your knowledgebase, skill set and confidence. Meeting face-to-face with others in your industry can also spark new opportunities. Better yet, you can network with people who are not in your industry. They may find your talents quite impressive which can offer new opportunities for your company. Networking and business groups promote both you and your company. Because of this, you may find that your organization is willing to expense membership fees to certain societies.4Page
  • 5. NOTHING TO DO? HERE’S WHAT TO DO!2. Expand your horizons. Here are some relatedYou know that new skill or software that you’ve been dying to learn? Now’s the time to try it out! You can do this by articles about productivityparticipating in company training programs, taking a course online, listening to industry podcasts, preparing for a when work is slow:Six Sigma test or reading those industry publications that have been sitting on your desk collecting dust. The internethas an abundance of information you can easily access. For example, you can read industry blogs, sign up for  Take Advantage ofGoogle Alerts, or even sign up for an RSS feed on a topic that interests you. Downtime at Work http://career- advice.monster.com/workp lace-productivity/human-3. Spread the wealth of your knowledge. resources/Take-Advantage- of-Downtime-at- Work/home.aspxAre you an expert at a skill, tool, process or topic? There are so many people who can benefit from your knowledge.Some examples of “spreading the wealth” online are answering Q&A panels such as LinkedIn Answers or  Ways to Make Use ofYahooAnswers; reviewing books on Amazon; adding content to Wikipedia or a wiki specific to your industry; or Your Downtimecreating a lens on Squidoo. (What is Squidoo? It’s a fast, free and easy way to build a webpage, which they call a http://www.business-lens, on a helpful topic youre interested in.) opportunities.biz/2008/04/ 03/ways-to-make-use-of-You can also write helpful articles and then distribute it to your contacts, company newsletter and networking groups. your-downtimeYou will not just impress your audience with your knowledge but also with your creativity and enthusiasm.If you work for a smaller company, you can start a mentoring program or even a “Share your knowledge” workshop. Ifyou work for a larger corporation, you can present the idea to the HR department or volunteer to be a Subject MatterExpert (SME) for internal training programs – the training department will love you! Then, when you feel reallyconfident, spread your wings even further by offering to present to local or regional chapters of professionalorganizations. 5 Page
  • 6. NOTHING TO DO? HERE’S WHAT TO DO! 4. Volunteer to assist with other projects. Even if your project load is light, chances are that other teams in your organization are experiencing heavier loads. You can increase your productivity and acquire impromptu on-the-job training by assisting a co-worker. This way you can help your teammate get ahead with the workload and you gain a new skill – it is a win-win situation! Your manager may not know you have available time and will appreciate the initiative. This makes you a team player and can benefit you, especially during review time. 5. Volunteer to create company document templates. You probably know that document templates streamline production when times are busy, and downtime can be a great opportunity to update those company templates or create new ones to make your future life easier. There are numerous benefits of taking this one on:  You build your skills and become the “template expert.”  The templates will be easier to work with when you are at crunch time on your next project.  You manager and other team members will appreciate your efforts (first, because they do not have to do it and secondly, because the daunting task gets done).  It will bode well for your next performance review.6Page
  • 7. NOTHING TO DO? HERE’S WHAT TO DO!6. Update your resume and contact information.Often times you become comfortable in the status quo and forget to updateresume postings and contact information. It does not necessarily mean you arelooking for a new position but if the time comes, the updating is already done andyour resume is ready. Or simply keep your contact information current with thesocial networking groups and industry organizations to spark new opportunities.7. Clean and reorganize your office.If you are like most people, your desk becomes a mini war zone when you’reheavily involved in a project. Downtime is the perfect time to go through all ofthose old files and either box them up or throw them away. It may be a dauntingtask at first but, ultimately, it will feel good to give your CDs, binders and loosefiles a new home. Don’t forget to organize those old emails and computer files,too.Cleaning up your office space or cubicle will help you get in the right state of mindto be more productive. If nothing else, you will now have room for new projectsand new opportunities to make your desk messy again. 7 Page
  • 8. NOTHING TO DO? HERE’S WHAT TO DO! 8. Organize a volunteer give back event in the name of the company. There are many charities and nonprofit organizations that are constantly seeking volunteers. If you choose to use your time in this manner, pick one that means a lot to you (or survey your co-workers) and present the idea to your HR department or manager. If your company allows for event planning off site, organizations like Habitat for Humanity or local soup kitchens are great ways to participate in a community service project. If your company does not allow offsite sponsored events, you can organize a canned food drive for the local soup kitchen or for Salvation Army. The American Red Cross can even come to you for a blood drive. Community service projects are great publicity for the company, and you help support the community.8Page
  • 9. NOTHING TO DO? HERE’S WHAT TO DO!Personal Development Ideas9. Find inspiration.Inspiration can come from anywhere! In fact, this idea wasfound in a great article online called Ways to Make Use ofYour Downtime. If cleaning your desk or helping thecommunity does not provide inspiration for new workprojects, go find it. This may mean going to a museum, aconference, brainstorming session with co-workers or evenspending time with your family. Find something that upliftsyou and makes you think creatively.10. Enjoy yourself!Soon you will be busy again and will be unable to have theextra “me” or family time. Take advantage of your downtimeand spend it with family, read that book you’ve been puttingoff, start the home improvement project you have beenprocrastinating or even take a vacation! It will recharge yourbatteries and bring a new perspective on things. And yourmanager will appreciate you taking a vacation duringdowntime rather than taking it in the middle of a project.Devesh Dwivedi, a senior associate with the Siegfried GroupLLC, stated very clearly, “A well timed and taken breakalways helps you come back with energy and rejuvenated.” 9 Page
  • 10. NOTHING TO DO? HERE’S WHAT TO DO! Adopting several of these ideas will certainly keep you productive when work is slow as well as make you a more relaxed, inspired, and knowledgeable team-player. In no time, you will find yourself saying “What down time?” For more information on these and other great ideas, Our team of expert consultants is here to help. Michaels & Associates – Lets get engaged! marketing@docntrain.com www.docntrain.com toll-free: 877-614-844010Page