Nine Productive Things To Do During Downtime

So you’ve got a couple of hours or days of free time? Maybe it’s the winter holidays, spring break, or summer break? Maybe you are stuck in a long layover between flights? If you’ve maxed out all of the tv series you were binge watching and want to feel a tad bit more productive, below is a list of things you can do to squash that nagging feeling of doing nothing.

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#1 - Review your budget.

  • Do you have quarterly or annual bills that you don’t see until it’s around the corner? I know my website domain renewals slip between the cracks, so I schedule notifications in my calendar to remind me that they are coming up.

  • Get rid of subscriptions that you don’t use. For a few months on 2018 I had a membership to a creative co-working space and only visited it maybe 4-5 times, despite paying $60 for unlimited access and as much coffee as I wanted! In the long run, if I were to pay for that again I would use it wisely and the space would be my daily office space and networking space.

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#2 - Schedule some fun!

  • I like work. It is fun, especially when I’m doing things I love. But sometimes silly fun is necessary for my mental health. Fun outings I love are: ping pong, bowling, karaoke, board game cafes, dancing in pairs or as a group, sports, etc. Or you can have fun alone such as watching a movie, going rollerskating, kayaking, hiking/nature trails, bingo, dancing, paint and sips, laser tag/paintball, or good ol’ personal fun (if you know what I mean).

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#3 - Meet new people

  • Meeting new people can be beneficial to your personal life or professional life. You could meet your next business partner or your next best friend. I used to think that meeting people meant networking events (oh, how naive I was). You don’t have to JUST meet people at networking events. You could meet them at:

    • Volunteering;

    • While taking a class;

    • Finding a meetup;

    • Through another friend of yours, etc.

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#4 - Work on your craft

  • As a blogger, if I don’t create and schedule content in advance, nothing will be posted. So during downtime when I am getting kicked off of my own Netflix account because too many people are watching, this is when I tell myself to get my shit together and write an article (or at least draft one).

  • I am also new to the film and tv industry, so as a production manager, I am often watching Producer’s Guild of America panel discussions while cleaning my room or meal prepping.

  • Also updating your resume is important because you tend to forget all of the small things you do while you are working. Take the time to review action lists, meeting notes, and accomplishments that can be put on a resume - you never know who will be asking for an updated resume!

  • Research industry events that you can attend or dig deeper into your industry. Learn about reoccuring patterns or trends happening.

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#5 - Rest

  • It seems obvious, but it’s true. Some people can’t remember the last time they slept without a piece of technology in their room. Others can’t remember the last time their mind was calm and free from thoughts racing around. Downtime can also mean rest time. Take the time to slow down and do nothing for a little bit.

  • If you have health benefits and can use them on additional things (ie. massages), consider using your benefits to help rejuvinate your body.

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#6 - Exercise

  • One of the most common new year’s resolutions is to exercise more. It is a vague goal, but this is the time to work towards fulfilling the goal. Grab a one-time session to a gym or register for a month-long bootcamp or pickup a 10-class pass for yoga and pilates. When I don’t want to leave the house, I do apartment-friendly workouts.

  • Simply moving around can help get your blood flowing. Leave the house and take a walk outside!

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#7 - Expand your mind

  • Books, podcasts, courses, video series, articles, etc. You can take the time to learn something new. I’m always trying to learn from various resources in hopes to becoming a better person in the world. I especially love learning from books (check out my “What I’m Reading” list to review some book summaries I created").

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#8 - Share your gratitude

  • Have you ever recieved a shout-out on social media or a personalized thank you note? Then you know how special it feels to have someone show how grateful they are to you. Gratitude is highly underrated. Take some time to say thank you to loved ones, team members, mentors, etc. Schedule shout- out posts on Twitter and Instagram, call your extended family, mail a thank you letter to the person, say I love you to your beloved and explain in detail why you love them, if you are a person who prays offer gratitude in that way.

#9 - Do something that scares you

  • I’ve been fearful of solo travel for a long time, until there was a conference I wanted to go to and no one around me could make it work in their schedule or didn’t have to funds to go. So I said fuck it, Imma go. Now, travelling to the USA is easy peasy. The next big leap I need to make is travelling to places where I don’t know the language. I hope to go on a guided group trip in the future or possibly a meditation retreat.

  • Another thing on my bucket list is to go skydiving. Drops on roller coasters scare the bejeebies out of me, but I figured I should just face my fears head on. Once I do it, I can look back and say “that wasn’t so bad”.

  • For other folks, something that scares them is asking for a raise. Maybe that’s you. Maybe it’s time to plan what you say to your boss in order to negotiate a raise. Scary, isn’t it?

When you get some time to chill, consider these nine options!