Using Your “Gap Time” Wisely

04.12.2017 |

Episode #9 of the course How to be more productive by Dan Silvestre


Welcome back!

Yesterday, we covered Jerry Seinfeld’s advice on forming new habits for productivity (also called “Don’t Break the Chain”). By now, you know what skill you need to acquire to reach your goals and the task you have to do every day in order to develop that skill.

Today, we are going to talk about optimizing our “gap time” so we can further develop our skills.

Gap times are those between meaningful activities that aren’t normally long enough to get more done. Some examples of gap time are:

• commuting to work

• waiting in line

• small talks at the office

• small breaks in your schedule

• long breaks from work when you are not actively working on your tasks for the day

Gap times can take anywhere from one to three hours of your day.

You can listen to a podcast, learn a language, take a walk to think, read a book, read the articles you’ve bookmarked, plan the rest of your day, or better still, take a productive pause to clear your mind.

But whatever you choose, you should be as strategic about your breaks as you are about your day in general. It’s critical to make the most of your break and remind yourself that by taking a productive pause, you will accomplish more in the long run.

So, here are projects you can do to make your gap time productive:

1. Learn something new: Read and study a technical book, listen to podcasts, or learn new languages through Duolingo.

2. Plan your week/day: Instead of doing it at the office, plan your day in advance while commuting. Choose your meaningful tasks and block time to do them.

3. Work on a side project: Write ideas for blog posts, call business partners, or get feedback from people sitting next to you.

4. Clean up your inbox: Get a batch of them out of the way so you can focus on more pressing matters at work … like actual work.

5. Help your team: Ask your coworkers/boss about their struggles and help them accomplish more. They will be forever grateful, and it will help your status in the team and company.

Investing your “gap time” in these activities can help you develop a skill faster while also helping other people. You can learn and grow, and in turn, you will be rewarded.

I would even go further: Use this principle in your daily life for maximum results.While binge-watching Netflix might be great, it deprives you of time you can use in a more productive way. I am not saying to stop watching Netflix or TV or anything else. Everyone needs to relax sometimes. I’m simply saying that maybe you don’t need to watch four episodes in a row. The way you use your “free time” impacts your “work time.”

Tomorrow, we will recap everything we learned throughout this course. I will provide you with a checklist you can use to remind yourself of these lessons on a daily basis.

To a Productive Day!



Recommended book

Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg


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