How can I be productive when there is nothing to do?

For some of us this question never really poses itself because there is always something to do, whereas for others this can be a real issue. I once had a job where I really had nothing to do for hours on end. Yes, I was glad I had a job and money coming in, but I did wonder why they hired me. Whether you’re in such a job or running your own business and are not super busy because business is slow, here are some ideas to spend your time productively.


You’re in a job with not a lot to do

  • You could help a colleague who is busy, and you know they’re struggling to get everything done. Work is not always distributed evenly, so they’ll be super thankful for the extra pair of hands. They might be able to reciprocate in the future when roles are reversed.

  • If there’s a lull in work for your department, why not find out if you can help another department. You’ll definitely pick up brownie points that way. This is what I ended up doing in the job I mention in the introduction. I did the filing for the neighbouring department which had been piling up because they never got round to it. They were super grateful, and I made some friends I wouldn’t have made otherwise who helped me out when my work did suddenly get busy.

  • If none of the above is an option, why not use your spare time to update your resume. You might not want to stay in a job where there is nothing to do for long periods of time, so having an updated resume will help you start the process.

  • Many jobs require continuing professional development (CPD), so why not use your time to do that. Catch up on online courses and reading that you might otherwise have to do in your spare time.

  • What would you need to do to get a promotion? Find out and start the ball rolling by doing the first steps.

You’re running your own business and it’s a slow day

When you’re running your own business, this is probably unlikely, but it can happen. Rather than fretting about it, use your time wisely. You don’t know when you’ll have that gift of time again.


  • If you don’t have someone doing admin for you, it’s usually what stays undone the longest. This would be the perfect time to catch up.

  • How about your bookkeeping? Are you up to date? Maybe you haven’t done your taxes yet and they’re due to be handed to your accountant soon? Get ahead and spend some time on it.

  • Do your clients or customers pay on invoice? Look through your invoices and chase any outstanding payments.

  • If you use blogging and/or social media for your business, you could use your time to write blog posts or social media posts for the next month and schedule them saving you time when it gets busier again.

  • Can you do some professional development? Improve your skills by doing an online course or reading some business books you’ve been meaning to “when you have some time”. Now you do!

  • What can you do to create more time? You could find processes in your business you could automate or do some research into hiring a VA to take some work off your plate if you’re normally super busy. Some examples for process automation include social media scheduling, inbound lead follow up emails, lead nurturing via email sequences, new client or new employee onboarding, etc.

As you can see, downtime can be used very effectively.


If you need to create time to do these types of activities, however, I can help. My goal is to free you from the clutches of endless to-do lists and give you your evenings and weekends back. We can achieve this through getting to the root of your overwhelm and working together in our coaching sessions to put systems and habits in place that will help you get more done during your workday without being totally exhausted by the end of it so you can enjoy life again.


If this resonates with you, please get in touch. You can check out my Work With Me page or contact me directly at isi@wellorganised.org

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