What to do when there is nothing to do

What to do when there is nothing to do

Thank you everyone for your kind messages over the last week. It is really nice to know that I have such amazing readers and just emphasises how supportive assistants are of each other… I always knew we had each other’s backs! Some of you have asked if I will continue the blog and I can confirm that I certainly am and actually will be able to spend a bit more time on my writing as my new employer is very happy for me to spend at least a day a week on it. So it is all very exciting and I hope you all continue to read and enjoy my thoughts!

So as you’ll know I’m on my notice period at the moment and I must admit it has been a bit of a slllooowwwww few weeks. I’ve cleared all of the backlog of work that had been in the non-urgent tray and I’ve been twiddling my thumbs why trying to think about things I can be doing to fill my day. On Friday I spent the afternoon coming up with a list of tasks I could work through over the last two weeks of my notice period so that I’m not totally bored out of my brain… I thought some of you might find a list like this useful as I do know that some assistants (not all but some) have lulls in their workload but want to continue to be useful and busy around the office.

  1.  Read through all of the articles and emails you have received regarding the industry, skills and general tips about the job. Everything you have filed away can be read when you don’t have much to do workwise because you are still educating and training yourself and this is important. Don’t just read the advice also put the tips into action and start using them straight away. 
  2. Get up and have a wonder around the office. Make yourself a hot drink and talk to your colleagues. Take some time to get to know them a bit better. Remember yo do spend all day with them so it is beneficial to know the people you work with and understand what they do all day, it might help you in the long run.
  3. Tidy up your office. I wrote a blog about using the 5S system to organise this task effectively.
  4. Ask your colleagues if they need any help with their workload. Do make sure they understand this is a short term offer and you will not be able to help them once your workload builds up again. Helping out will ensure you get lots of good feedback from your team
  5. Ask other assistants if they need any help. You may not be in the same department but the work will be similar so do ask. We have to look out for each other and the offer may be reciprocated when you are busy.
  6. Take some time to update your CV or look over your current job spec. Can you add anything or change it to reflect your current workload? How often do you get the time to really invest in the documents that detail your career? So use this time to bring everything up to date including your LinkedIn profile.
  7. In fact spend some time on all of your social media platforms. Now is the time to do the things you’ve been putting off so sign up to Twitter, join a few more LinkedIn groups, have a look through your Facebook pages. Why not? Social media networking is part of business now so you aren’t doing anything wrong.
  8. If the work lull is company wide (for example August tends to be quiet in the Insurance world) ask your manager if you can job shadow with another department. This is a great way to improve your business acumen and overall knowledge of the company. If you know your office will be having a quiet period try to arranging a few training sessions that you can attend. Your manager will be more inclined to sign this off when they know you are not completely busy.
  9. Spend some time looking through your appraisal and review your objectives from this year. Tick off everything that you have already achieved and then speak to your manager and ask them to approve additional objectives – make these objectives the tasks that you really want to do. Are there any dream task you’ve wanted to take on but have never had the time? Well now is the chance to at least start planning how you can make that happen.
  10. Last but not least, go home early! Take the opportunity when you can to spend some extra time with your friends and family.

As I know most of the time we are rushed off our feet but when those occasional breaks in work come along do try to embrace the time and get as much out of it as you can.

You may also like

2 comments

  • Sylvie April 10, 2013   Reply →

    There are a few great tips here, thank you. I took the liberty to go to my boss asking for more challenging work over a year ago as I also have some lulls and am no longer chanllanged, as I have been in the position for a very long time. In the last 3 months I had to remind him as nothing has changed. Do you have any advise on how I should approach this for a 3rd time?

    • Practically Perfect PA April 16, 2013   Reply →

      Hi Slyvie

      Can you make a list of the type of work you would like to work on that would challenge you more and show this to your boss? He might not know what to give you in addition to your standard work. I would keep reminding him as it is his job to manage you and help keep you motivated.

Leave a comment

Sign up to Practically Perfect PA

Enter your email and stay on top of things



Sign up to Practically Perfect PA

Enter your email and stay on top of things