How productively do you use slow periods at work to catch up on important projects?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How productively do you use slow periods at work to catch up on important projects?

  • Very: I take full advantage of slow periods to catch up: 37%
  • Somewhat: I get some things done but also chill out a bit: 53%
  • Not very: I end up wasting the opportunity slow times present: 8%
  • Not at all: I get virtually nothing done during slow periods: 2%

Using slack times effectively. It’s rare that we get a slowdown at work. What matters is how well you use that gift of time when it presents itself. A few suggestions for making better use of that time are to put blocks on your calendar dedicated to specific tasks. If you leave a slot open, you’re more likely to lose focus on a specific task. Also keep a handy list of important but not urgent projects. When you do get a free moment, the list is already made and you can just dive in rather than wasting time figuring out what project you should tackle during the slowdown. The better prepared you are for the inevitable slow period, the more catching up you’ll be able to do when it presents itself.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."