Productivity Tip #5: Fill small pockets of downtime.

If you ever find yourself waiting on something consistently and have nothing to do, try to find productive ways to fill those small amounts of time instead of wasting them. You may think “I can’t do anything in only five minutes” but you’d be surprised. Also, at the end of the day, all that time accumulates in a big way.

At work, I have my personal laptop right next to my work PC so I can work on it while my work PC is busy churning away on something. When my work PC is busy and I can’t do anything on it, I’ve been checking out courses on the Morningstar Online Investing Classroom which has 172 free online courses about investing, stocks, funds, bonds and portfolios. Each one takes 5 – 10 minutes to do, I learn a lot in a very short span of time.

That way my mind’s always working, I’m essentially doing two things at once and I maintain a high level of mental energy and activity at all times. At the end of the day, I go home having learned something about a subject that interests me, AND having kicked ass at work.

I used to have a business book open next to me to read as much as I could in small snatches of time. There are a lot of things you can do like that if you think about it, and don’t raise the barrier to entry too high. If you think “I can’t read unless I have two uninterrupted hours to myself” then you will probably never read. Get what you can out of every minute!

What are other ways you can fill your small pockets of downtime?

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