Good Stuff during Slow Times?

By , February 22, 2010

I’ve been reviewing how I use my slow time, between assignments. It pleased me to notice that my routines are good—for the most part.

This review was sparked as I thought about friends and family who often tell me that I’m always doing something. Even when I’m not working, there’s something going on with me. When I get a call to chat, I have to stop doing something to spend time on the phone. Usually I’m writing, reading, or designing. And I may be doing nothing at all, too—which is something, when you’re otherwise always going.

So, I’ll share my findings, and maybe you can share your thoughts on the matter. I think the following activities are great for slow times if you want to maintain or improve your edge. Consider these activities as investments in your future. This short list has activities that are universal and adaptable to just about anyone. See if you recognize these in your free time routines.


It’s not just reading for fun that’s important. If there’s something you want to know, to learn, or to understand better, one of the great things you can do is read up on it. You don’t always have to go back to school, although that could be a great experience too.


I try to exercise regularly when I’m working. In the slow times, I spend more time exercising, stretching, and walking. I’m trying to increase my exercise since I got so much out of the habit of doing the right things. Walking for the sake of walking is a great way to energize your brain and body. Rigorous physical activity produces endorphins which make me want to move mountains. Oh, the magic of endorphins.

Positive Thinking

I practice this because I struggle with hesitations due to self-doubt. My current note to self, in my office, is a postcard that reads “Maybe I can.” When I look up from what I’m doing, with any doubt that I might not be able to solve a particular problem, that little note makes me smile. Usually that’s the time that I will take a break and clear my mental palette with different work or activities.


Practicing new and old skills helps to make you more efficient at execution. One of the things that I really enjoy doing is website development. I’m new at it, so there are things that slip away from me if I stop doing them for a while. When I learn new skills, I apply them on a practice website. It’s my way of tying everything in, making it easier to call up when I need to use them.

By the way, if you’d like to see the website that I developed, it’s for the Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston project at, and yes it was fun work.

What do you think? This list is by no means exhaustive of what productive activities you can populate your slow time with. What are your activities? What good things do they do for you? For others?

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