It’s been the slow season for one of my day jobs for about a month now. Things are crazy from Halloween until Valentine’s Day, pick back up in May through the summer, and then are slow again in September. It’s nice to have a slow season because during the busy season we can be talking to a customer on the phone and have 3 on chat and still have more customers trying to reach us. So when we have downtime, I think we all relax a bit and get things back in order.
I’ll admit that I’m not the best about what I do with my time during work during the slow season. I have to be sitting in front of my computer waiting to see if a call or customer chat comes in, but I’m usually on some website looking up random things or watching videos online. It’s not the best way to spend my time, but sometimes that’s what helps me get through a very slow day. When you are stuck at a computer for 7 hours and you only end up working with a customer for 3 minutes (which happened to me the other day), you kind of need something to help keep you sane.
For a while, I was using the time to watch the Olympics or catch up on things that were on my DVR (my shows piled up in there after being gone for a few days). Mindless entertainment is fine (and I’ll still probably end up using my time to catch up on TV occasionally), but it’s not what I should be doing. I’m using it as a distraction and not as something productive to do in the free time that I’m lucky enough to have.
I’m also lucky that even though I’m working from home I don’t feel isolated. But in reality, I am isolated because I’m just stuck behind a computer without any real human interaction. I do use our messaging system to talk with my co-workers and I talk to customers on the phone, but it’s not the same as going into an office. So if I can figure out how to be more productive during my work downtime, maybe I’ll find more time in my schedule to be social when I’m done with work. I shouldn’t have to be stuck behind a computer after my work shift is done and I’m trying to work on staying off my computer if possible (even for fun things) when I log out of my work shift. I’ve been getting better at doing that, but I know there’s a lot of improvement I could make in that aspect of my life.
I really want to get out of the pattern of just getting through my time at work during the slow time and not really knowing what I did with my time when I’m done. I do have my other job I work between customers, but that job had to significantly cut back my hours so I’m only doing that a few hours a week. And I was thinking about spending the downtime looking at other job options because I do need to start making more money, but I honestly don’t know when I could work since most jobs wouldn’t allow me to work between customers at a job (I’m so lucky my other job lets me do that). I’m also hopeful that I will be getting more hours at my other job so that will make it so I don’t need to find something else.
So I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do while stuck at my computer that is productive but not something that requires so much focus that I couldn’t put it down when I do have customers. So far, I’ve been doing a lot of reading books and news online. I’ve been listening to the backlog of podcasts I’ve got on my phone. And I’ve been doing some of my educational apps on my phone (although that only takes maybe 20 minutes to get through). There are other things I wish I could do during my downtime, but if it requires me to be away from my computer (like cooking so I have more home-cooked meals), I can’t really do it. Work still needs to be my priority, but there’s still so much time that I can devote to something else awesome.
I’d really love some suggestions on ideas of what I could do while I’m waiting for a customer to need help. I know that the slow season will be over before I know it and I’ll be missing all this downtime, but I still want to make sure I use this downtime well and take advantage of the opportunity I have. I know there are better ways I could be spending my time even if I am stuck at my desk, but I just don’t know what they are yet.