- 9 Months ago
Okay, so it's that time in life when, if you've worked for about seven to nine years, you're depressed. And if you've been around for 18-20 years, you know things will look up. A slowdown can look extremely grim. If you haven't seen the slow growth rates of the early-1990s, and thought that the seven-year good run was going to continue forever, just sit down and breathe deeply.
You will get a lot of time to do that anyway. Most offices have professionals hanging around, taking cigarette breaks or fatty coffee ones. So, instead of twiddling your thumbs, here's what can keep you constructively occupied
1. Build Stronger Customer Relationships
Invest this spare time in your clients. This is a good way to be top-of-the-mind for the future. You could send them reports on their industries published by consulting firms, refer them via email to articles that may have carried data on their industry. You could also win goodwill by sending them links for training that could increase their business. To get this data, you can:
Research online on your clients and their competitors-there is a wealth of data out there.
Go to consulting firm websites to gather information on your clients' industry segments, and more.
Read online versions of business magazines and cull articles you can send
If your clients are in varied industry segments, you could spend a few days on each industry, make folders specific to that industry, and then edit and organise the data to send to them.
2. Take An Online Course
It's easy to be in office and on your laptop the whole day. Which is what may be expected of you. So, why not hone your skills and take an online course? It will save you from getting bored and add to your resume.
List the topics you'd like to study, the classes to take, to keep you up-to-date with your industry and business skills. Use this time to add to your intelligence pool.
3. Spend Time With Colleagues
This is the best time to get to know your colleagues, bosses and team members. What are their aspirations? What do they expect from you? What are the triggers you can press later to motivate your team. How can you improve your performance? All these questions will be answered once you take time out for people who work with you but who you may not know at all. Make the effort to know them. It will pay. One day.
4. Organise Your Paperwork
There is no time like the present to get your paperwork in order. Use this free time to download your salary slips, bank statements and other receipts. Some things that you can do are:
Go through your expense receipts, credit card and mobile bills, and categorise them.
Get your Form 16, insurance receipts, salary slips and bank statements in
Scan all your documents for an electronic record.
Estimate your last tax payment for the current year.
5. Keep Fit With An Exercise Regime
Okay, so you cannot step out of the office for too long. And you have been putting off losing weight because you never had the time. Start by researching if there is a gym in your office area that you can join. You can always step out at lunch for an hour. Most gyms have a shower facility and, hence, you can be fresh. For those who cannot get away at lunch or are conserving cash, you still don't have any excuse. Most offices are in multi-storied buildings, and getting away at lunch or noon or 4 pm to go down and climb up 10 flights of stairs is doable. It takes only 15 minutes each. So, start it today, and see your youthful statistics re-emerge.
6. Take A Long Weekend Off
It's easy to get leave at this time since work pressure is not high. Hence, taking a day off and combining it with a weekend is the best way to take a mini-break. You could use this break to be with the family or just rejuvenate yourself by checking into a spa. There are many weekend getaways within a few hours of the city. It will be a happy, cost-effective holiday with no airfare outflows.
7. Discover A Value-For-Money Lifestyle
In busy times, you might end up trading time for money since you don't have the time to negotiate or bargain hard. But slow times mean you can haggle with your travel agent, electronics or mobile services or instruments provider. This is the best time to research and get cheap bargains for holidays, phones, iPods, furnishings and even houses. Re-organise your life in a value-for-money (VFM) way. You could even search for cheaper restaurants to eat in, stores to get deals for clothes and grocery items...This information is available right there on your laptop, with the Internet connection provided by your office.
8. Get Creative With Pictures
You've taken a million pictures on your digicam and they're all lying on a drive in your laptop. Go to Snapfish or Kodak, and get the really nice ones printed. Get them framed. These are memories not meant to be locked inside a laptop.
Get T-shirts or mugs printed with you or your family's pictures on them. If one of your kids has a birthday coming up, get his or her picture printed on mugs as a return present to all the friends, instead of the regular boring ones. This way, your child's birthday will always be remembered. Online orders can also be delivered to someone else's address.
9. Spend Time With Family And Friends
When you're busy, you're pretty much invisible to all those who truly love and care about you. Now that work is slow, surprise your family by dropping in early in the evenings. They've been wondering where you've disappeared to. On most days, leave office on time. Delight your kids with an outing. Bowl over your spouse with a mid-week drink. Bring happiness to your parents by visiting them.
10. Rediscover Your Hobbies
You're able to get away early from work. Three days a week, the family loves to have you home early. One day, meet friends. One day, you can spare for yourself.
Time travel back to college and you will remember many of your passions. Re-ignite them. If you played a musical instrument, re-hone your skills. Join an evening class to learn music. If you were great at dramatics, form an after-office team to put up plays. Soon, you'll be glowing with your after-work achievements too.
'Slow' is a four-letter word, but used well, it can add meaning to your office hours. Now, get on with it.
Reproduced from Outlook Business's Wellness Column by Rachna Chhachhi