In summary, don’t. Or do, but. This is what was asked on Reddit’s productivity site:
I find myself doing nothing between classes, meetings, etc. How can I make use of these 10-30 minute breaks to do something productive? I often feel like it’s too little time to actually do anything big…
Unnamed poster, Reddit productivity (20 February 2015)
The discussion isn’t exactly bursting with responses but it is continuing and one of the more sensible comments is this from someone called Orangemenace13. (There were 12 Orangemenances before him-or-her-but-you-know-it’s-a-him?)
Yes, but you could be doing some productive / proactive that you still find relaxing. I always have a book and/or magazine on me for these moments of down time, for instance.
Sometimes sitting and “doing nothing” is great during these moments, too – and breaks may make you more productive. But it seems as if more often then not people spend this kind of time screwing around on their phones, checking Facebook and playing Candy Crush.
Read the full discussion.
This is hard to hear but writer Kelly O’Laughlin has a point. In her blog Quiet Revolution, she recounts how a pal was overwhelmed at work, overwhelmed to the point where she was thinking of leaving.
For people like me and my close-to-quitting friend, the concept of giving anything less than our best doesn’t cross our minds. It simply isn’t an option. We set high standards for ourselves and are disappointed and frustrated when we can’t always achieve those standards. It’s that impending anxiety of failure that caused my friend to believe: “If I can’t do my job well, I don’t want to do it at all.”
But the brutal, honest truth is that many bosses don’t notice who is giving 100% and who is doing the minimum to get by. If you relate to this story so far, I’m willing to bet that your 80% of effort is most people’s 100%. So, by caring less, you’re actually caring just enough.
It’s great to want to be helpful and make a difference at work, but you have to take care of yourself first. You aren’t helping anyone if you burn out and quit. Putting in slightly less effort in times of high stress doesn’t mean you don’t care about your job; it means you care about yourself more.
Want to Be Happy at Work? Care Less About It – Kelly O’Laughlin, Quiet Revolution (undated, probably 16 June 2015)
I truly don’t know what to think about this. Have a read of the full piece and see what you think, would you?
Who says you should be? You’ve worked all day, put your feet up. Except, when you’re writing there is a need to keep going and there is a satisfaction in having done so. Or at least there’s a hell of a dissatisfaction or plain misery in having gone another week or month or year without writing.
Lifehacker has the answer. It has several answers and here’s a taster of the first one, which also happens to be the one I most agree with and do my most to follow too:
Get Started As Soon As You Get Home
A number of you [in a discussion thread] said that if you wait until you’ve had dinner or spent some time with your family, it’s too late and your energy is gone—you’re too far out of “the zone” to really get back into it. The solution? Walk through the door, say hello to everyone, and head right for your workspace at home to do a little work. Whether it’s a few minutes or an hour, getting started as soon as you get home and you’re still in work mode goes a long way.
How To Stay Productive After Work – Alan Henry, Lifehacker (26 June 2015)
Read the full piece.
Stop thinking of relaxing as a ticket to laziness and build free time into your day. Relaxation relieves stress, lets you enjoy the moment and improves your problem-solving skills. So take naps. Breathe. Meditate. If you’re always rushing, develop a morning routine to set a calmer tone for the rest of the day. Don’t be so busy you’re not enjoying the precious little time you have on this earth.
How to Stop Being Busy – Sasha Graffagna, SuperheroYou (2 June 2014)
Read the full piece for more interesting and sobering, even correctly chastising thoughts.
You do this. You know you do. So do I:
Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.
Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.
10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be – Tim Hoch, Thought Catalog (17 June 2014)
That’s “You ascribe intent”, otherwise called number 1 in a series of 10. Some of the other 9 are pretty familiar too.
It’s all ultimately a plug for a book I haven’t read called The Truth About Everything (UK edition, US edition) but it’s a good plug. The ten points are well made and being aware of them, recognising them in yourself, isn’t a bad thing at all. Do have a read of the ten.