What is the best way to stay productive in terms of skills/money while at a slow 8-hour job?

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A question I answered on Quora: What is the best way to stay productive in terms of skills/money while at a slow 8-hour job?

A:

Your question could use more detail as to your definition of “productive.” I’ll answer as if you mean, to add skills and make money — outside of the slow 8hr job you have.

  1. If you have idle time and you can, read books during your downtime at work. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks if you cannot look at a book or screen. There are front desk people and valet attendants where I live who have long overnight shifts; if I had their jobs I’d be reading 2–3 books per week with all that idle time. Most of them, from what I see, just play online and with social media.
  2. Write down ideas, ten apiece, for how you’ll get the skills you wish to acquire and for making the money you want to make.
  3. Write a book: The story of your life. It doesn’t have to become a best seller or even sell at all; it’s something you can come back to and read years from now and/or your kids and grandkids can read to know what you life was like right now.
  4. Sign up for Fiverr and do some data entry or research jobs to make easy money on the side while at work.
  5. Do you have any specific skills — video editing, writing, an area of expertise, proofreading, etc? If so, advertise that skill on Fiverr or Upwork and find side work. Even better…
  6. Find an online influencer (someone who has a moderately large following on some platform) who has a glaring need — videos aren’t well-edited; misspellings in their blog posts; low-quality audio on their podcasts — and offer your services to them. Do a free test to prove your skill and ask for a paid position. This is preferable to Fiverr as you’ll have steady work with the influencer, who probably isn’t going away anytime soon.
  7. Find an influencer who has a big project or product or service they want to get the word out about (Note: EVERY influencer has this challenge, all the time). Offer to help sell/market the product for a commission (you get paid if and when your work produces a sale). This was the influencer doesn’t have to budget for you as an employee.
  8. Worth repeating: Read, listen and learn. Tondonany of the above effectively, you need skills — and those skills need to be sharpened and constantly updated. This one has no endpoint, ever.

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