Advertising
Advertising

5 Things To Do While Waiting For Your Computer

5 Things To Do While Waiting For Your Computer

Whether you’re an IT professional or not, working in an office will usually involve you spending a lot of time at the computer. While computers are pretty fast at most things, you will probably find yourself waiting for it to do something every now and then. Compiling code, starting up, or installing software are just some tasks that the computer needs to do that take up a lot of resources. Stay productive during this time by getting other things done, as suggested below.

Go Over Your Handwritten Notes

If you’ve got a pen and paper or notebook nearby, you have probably got some notes written down. These could be notes that were taken when you went to meetings or brainstorming exercises, diagrams you’ve drawn, or things you’ve discussed with others. While you’re waiting for your computer to load, you can spend the time going over these notes and determining what to do with them, such as:

Advertising

  • Work out if there are any actions required. Some notes require work to be done, either by yourself or by others. Have a read of these notes and see if there’s anything you need to act upon or delegate.
  • Recreate your diagrams. This involves using software to recreate any diagrams that you’ve written down. This probably can’t be done while your computer is doing something intense, but you can note it and remember it for later.
  • Clarify any points you’re not sure of. If you’re reading your notes and you’re not sure about something, mark it so you can clarify it, either right away with someone or later when your computer is running again.

Tidy Your Desk

Another thing you can do while your computer is loading is clean up your desk. You might normally keep it pretty clean, but you can take this time to organize it a bit better. Ask yourself:

  • Is there any rubbish that needs to be thrown out?
  • Is there any filing to be done?
  • Do any old notes or files need to be thrown away?
  • Does it need to be wiped down?

A cleaner desk can help you focus on the work you’re doing, and performing this kind of clean up every now and then keeps your desk looking good. It also sends a good impression to those around you that you’re organized and focused.

Advertising

Talk To Your Co-workers

Speaking to the other people you work with is a great thing to do while waiting for your computer. Yes, you could be doing this even when your computer isn’t loading, but it’s a good chance to do it now.

You can talk to them about issues they’re having, ask them any questions you have, or ask how they are going with their own piece of work. You can even ask about non-work related topics, such as their weekend or plans for the night. Spending time getting to know your co-workers is a good thing, as it can make your team work more effectively and help you develop your communication skills.

Advertising

If you have any actions from your notes that you identified in the tip above, you can speak to the people you need to in this time. You can also make whatever phone calls you need as well, depending on how long you will be waiting for your computer.

Grab a Coffee or Some Water

This is an old tip, and is actually the source of a few jokes. Back when computers were horribly slow, people used to joke that they could run something on their PC, walk away, make a coffee, come back, and it would still be loading. While this is still true for some intensive tasks, normal tasks are much quicker.

Advertising

For these intensive tasks that take a little longer to run, use this time to get a coffee. If you don’t drink coffee, get a tea instead. If you don’t feel like caffeine, get some water. It’s good to keep hydrated throughout the day, and getting a coffee, tea, or water has the added benefit of getting you away from your desk, getting some exercise, and stretching your muscles. If it’s a regular task, such as waiting for your computer to log in in the morning, you probably know how long it takes. Every morning while my computer starts up, I take that minute to go and get myself a coffee and some water. It’s up and running for when I get back.

Write or Check Your To-Do List

Having a to-do list is a great way of keeping organized and productive at work. It’s a list of tasks that you need to get done at some stage, and an indication of the priority and the date they are due. It can either be computer-based or written on paper.

While waiting for your computer to load, use this time to check your to-do list. If it’s on the computer, print it out first! Better yet, sync your devices. Go through any notes you have taken, have a think about what you need to do today, and write it down. Writing it down helps you keep track of what you need to do, and you can refer to it when you’re ready for the next task. If you don’t have a to-do list, now is the perfect time to create one.

I hope these tips are helpful for whenever your computer is busy while you’re at work. If you have any other tips to share, please leave them in the comments below.

More by this author

Ben Brumm

Ben is a business analyst and software developer. He shares career advice on Lifehack.

How to Be More Professional at Work and Make a Good Impression 5 Tips for Recovering After a Long Day at Work Burnt Out What To Do If You’re Feeling Burnt Out Already young IT intern 5 Tips For Your First IT Internship 5 Things To Do While Waiting For Your Computer

Trending in Productivity

1 Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 2 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life 3 How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough 4 9 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life 5 How to Influence People and Make Them Feel Good

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

Advertising

1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

Advertising

There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

Advertising

So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

Advertising

And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next