I got my first job as an administrator. Basically I have to install operating systems and software to computer. The problem is that I have sometimes nothing to do but wait for process to finish. It could take minutes or hours. What can I do during those breaks to be useful worker?

  • 3
    Read a book, get more stills - or ask what other tasks can be done.
    – Ed Heal
    Dec 12, 2015 at 18:42
  • 1
    Post questions on Workplace.
    – paparazzo
    Dec 12, 2015 at 18:47

2 Answers 2


Look into streamlining your installs so they can be unattended, multi task your other duties. I have up to 5 OS installs going simultaneously many times, with one keyboard mouse and monitor on a switch on my side bench.

If I have nothing else to do, I surf the internet while I wait like I'm doing right now. The guy in the office next door plays his guitar. The young chap in there with him earnestly watches the blue progress lines like his life depends on it.

In other words do whatever you want, if the process waiting is billable hours don't do anything during that time that is billable or you end up with 20 hour days, which is great for the company but may become an expected 'norm' for you. But quite often there is non billable stuff you can do like organise your desk and check emails, tools, research etc,.

  • +1. Sysprep'd images & automated/unattended installs. Setting up a new computer should be streamlined to take almost no effort or handholding.
    – alroc
    Dec 13, 2015 at 3:34

There are a few direct things doable for work, but sometimes they don't fill your available time. So look for indirect things to do.

  • Indirect can be preparation for the next tasks(I don't know anything about your admin job, but it can be making some scripts for checking everything is OK, or automating tasks).
  • Indirect can be team improvement, like writing documentation, training people, etc. opportunities to do that can vary a lot between shops & positions. As you seem to be new, it's probably not much(cool for you if I'm wrong).
  • Indirect can be self-improvement. Learning a new programmation language, checking the Workplace ;) , preparing yourself for any challenge that you could meet when you are not idle. Of course, it means you have access to a working computer during the install time. Depending on how your work is set up...

If not, try to have a small laptop for you, even an old crap, so that you can keep doing things while the install is running. If you can use it for things directly related to your job, perfect(as checking the network, the machines status, whatever).

NB : when it lasts only a few minutes, do not even try to be productive. The interrupt comes too quickly, and is highly demotivating. Otoh, when it's hours, you really have time to learn new things(like some kind of Linux scripting you haven't tried yet, or whatever).

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