Everyone has been guilty of wasting time on the clock when they should be working. We might resort to cyberloafing — playing games online or texting on the phone while the deadline for a big report looms in the background. While some people may need a brief break from the mundaneness of the day, frequent slacking is a real time-waster.
But here’s a fact that might surprise you: there IS a “right way” to waste time online at work. Here’s how to make the most of that time.
Set a Timer for Activities
Need to clear your mind and take a mini-break? You’re entitled to that. Just don’t let it turn into a procrastination session. Set up a Pomodoro timer on your phone or computer screen to remind you when to take a break and also for how long.
Set it for 5 or 10 minutes, and then close the screen when the time is up. We can easily get carried away when surfing the web; this handy tool can help us be especially efficient at time management.
Plan for Dinner
Ditch the mindless puzzle and candy-crushing challenge games. Opt for some foodie sites instead. Look up healthy meal plans for the week. New recipe ideas come out frequently on social media. Looking for a quick charcuterie board for tonight’s guests? Make a grocery list including the exact cheese, fruit, and crackers you need for the perfect tray and save time after work at the store. Still feeling guilty? Look up tasty recipes for this month’s potluck at work.
Set Up a Budget
If you’re going to sneak online at work, skip over tempting shopping sites. Instead, put the wallet away and think about saving and managing your money. There are plenty of budget sites that help you organize your debt and work on paying it off as quickly as possible. Learn to set up a personalized budget that will not only help track spending but also show you how to put money away for an emergency fund and future investments.
Surf a Q & A Site
Having trouble with a daunting task at work? If you feel uncomfortable about asking your boss or manager for help, try looking online instead. Sites like Quora offer myriad question-type posts with fact-checked answers from reputable users and commenters. Topics range from health tips to writing the perfect resume. Who knows, maybe you’ll have something worthwhile to share with others as well.
Jumping online to check your bank balance or kid’s report card isn’t anything for most employers to stress out about. When it happens several times a day for long periods of time, it can be a problem. If you do need a break from work and you want to surf the web, do it diligently and make it worth your while.