When the big conference is over or the quarterly sales report is in, then comes the slow day. Everyone in today’s workplace has moments of downtime every now and then —as you probably do if you’re reading this. But forget #NetflixAndChill, it’s time to #HustleAndChill.

Even if you’re excelling at your job, now isn’t the time to rest on your laurels. Use these slow days as opportunities for self-improvement by checking in on your goals rather than your Facebook or Instagram.

Here are a few tips for what to do when you find yourself with a few extra hours on your hands:

Plan ahead

You know how your boss lovingly exclaims, “What would I do without you?”

Make sure he or she is prepared for the unexpected sick day or your departure for a new position by drafting a detailed list of your daily, weekly, and monthly activities to ensure that your successor will be well equipped to follow in your footsteps.

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It’ll also help you avoid forgetting the little things like sending a check for a vendor or drafting invitations to an annual event.

It’s never too early to start on hand-over notes —it’s easier to remember what you’re doing while you’re doing it rather than racking your brain as you’re headed out the door.

(You’ll also earn brownie points from your boss that will help you maintain a good relationship even after you’re gone).

Learn

As the saying goes, “good things come to those who hustle.”

Got your eye on a raise or promotion? Take this slow period as an opportunity to learn a new skill or hone a weak one. If you increase your value to your company, your employer will be more likely to reward your efforts. Sign up for a webinar, listen to a podcast, or take an online class from sites like Coursera, Skillshare, or edX.

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Interested in shifting to another role? Visit other departments and learn about their work. Even if your colleagues only need help with menial tasks, they’ll appreciate the favor (and be more likely to return it when you’re in a crunch).

Organize

To maximize your time when things are busy, set yourself up for success by organizing your paperwork.

Organize your online and offline space by saving those client emails that you took hours to draft, filing feedback on projects that you can reference during your next feedback session, and making sure your work space is tidy.

A clear space leads to a clear mind.

Connect

Having a good reputation in your field is part performance, part visibility. According to the Harvard Business Review, “workers are happiest in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers.”Image result for gifs beyonce plan ahead

 

Take advantage of your free time, and follow up with other industry professionals as well as current and former colleagues. It’s an opportunity to build trust and camaraderie at work, but also learn more about what’s going on at your company and in your industry.

Grab lunch or coffee or simply spend time acknowledging the contributions of those around you with a handwritten note —old-fashioned gestures are always appreciated.

Daydream

In today’s competitive global economy, people are being paid more to think than to manufacture. So along with your A-game, it’s time to bring your imagination to work if you’re gunning for that promotion.

After all, Archimedes had his “eureka” moment in the bathtub, Newton developed the theory of gravity while lounging in his mother’s garden, and J.K. Rowling came up with Harry Potter while staring out a train window.

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Now, imagine if those people had been new deep in the drudgery of paperwork or catching up on email.

Studies show that daydreaming indicates an active mind more open to creative breakthroughs. Creativity is about thinking outside the box, so put away the phone, turn off the monitor, and let your mind wander.

You might just come up with the next game changer.

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