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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sign up for Fiverr and do some data entry or research jobs to make easy money on the side while at work.
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.