I work in a job where I normally have too much to do. However, several cycles of downtime have recently caught up with our team. About that time, an article was brought to my attention, “Ways To Use Free Time At Work”. I perused the article, and while some of the items I balked at (like “update your finances” or “make some extra money”), it got me thinking about what I do. Here is my list:
10 things You Can Do in 5 Minutes At Work
- Clean Up Your Desk Top. When I am in a busy period, little bits of paper, old printouts and all sorts of other items accumulate on my desk. I generally only clean them off when I realize I can’t see the top of the desk, or I can’t find what I need because of the litter. Cleaning it off gives me a sense of order.
- Purge Pens. My pen cup seems to attract stray writing implements. I know I’ve caught at least one coworker putting pens in it, so I understand why it seems to burst at the seams. Going through, evaluating the items, and tossing what doesn’t work is a good way to make things more useful.
- Declutter Cube Walls. With a school-aged child, I have lots of artwork to hang up. Sometimes it threatens to take over. A quick declutter of the walls is a good idea from time to time.
- Tend the Plants. One of my coworkers has a green thumb and can be counted on to remind me to water my plants. But a few minutes of clipping dead leaves makes the plants look much better, and I believe is better for them.
- Read a Relevant Article. Many of my coworkers live and breathe our profession. Some of them forward me articles to help me stay up to date. A few minutes a day can keep the “To Read” pile down.
- Return a Phone Call. Sometimes talking to a person is easier than doing fifteen emails back and forth. I can always find someone I need to talk to.
- Shred Documents. Unlike at home, few of us have our own shredders at work. My shredding piles up, and I can quickly fill some time by taking the stack to the shredder and getting rid of it.
- Dust. What is it about cubes that attract dust? Mine seems perpetually growing dust bunnies. A few minutes a week keeps them from being a problem.
- Weed Out Old Notes. While my old notebooks have sometimes been useful, I archive them into a file drawer when the notebook is full. I took to writing “Toss After X” on the cover so that I wouldn’t hang on to a notebook for more than six months without reviewing it.
- Clean a Drawer. Almost as bad as the pen holder, my desk drawer seems to breed paper clips, rubber bands and loose staples. The little effort is well worth it.
Photo by Sonya