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As a software developer on a relatively small team handling a big job, I have never found myself with no tasks on my plate; new work comes frequently, and completed tasks are quickly replaced with new ones. However, I will occasionally find myself with short periods of time (think fifteen minutes to an hour) where I don't have any work to do. There can be a handful of reasons for this (code is compiling, I'm waiting on other people to do things, etc). Part of me says I should enjoy the downtime, but if there are several instances of it in a week I start to feel like maybe I'm not working hard enough.

What is the best way to deal with these very short periods of not having work to do?

marked as duplicate by Dukeling, gnat, ChrisF, Community Jan 31 '18 at 17:17

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I can relate to your situation. When I have downtime at work (software development), more than 20 minutes but less than a hour, I work on any side projects that I might have. I think it depends on your workplace as well. My workplace is relaxed and so I can work freely on personal projects when I have downtime.

You mention you are a software developer, I'd spend that extra time learning a new library that you might use in the future. 30 minutes a day learning a new library and by the end of the week you will have a firm grasp of it. If that does not interest you, I always check current journals and blogs on anything that is related to my field(security). There is always stuff to do.

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