WORK-LIFE BALANCE / DEC. 31, 2014
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How to Occupy Your Time When You Are Sick

When we have a hellacious cold, a chronic illness or just under the weather, we may take time off and allocate our time to recuperation, performing chores around the house or even perhaps investing in our personal human capital, though the ladder may require a significant amount of energy, a resource sorely lacking upon our sickness. 

In our lives, time is another resource that is highly valuable to each and everyone of us because it is not respectively infinite. This is why the old adage that we have to consume our time wisely is an important one. For every hour, minute and second, we have to seriously consider what we’re doing with it. 

During our working life, we will often spend a lot of our time away from the office during business hours because of an illness. At this time, we have to occupy our time wisely - no, watching Netflix and binge-watching for nine hours is not utilizing your precious time wisely. Reading, studying, repairing and other productive measures are better uses of your time than watching television or perusing through Facebook. 

An interesting fact to consider is that perhaps when we call in sick this could actually be a very productive time, more so than if you actually ventured to work. Think about: one-hour commute, eight hours of work, one-hour commute, dinner, television, bedding preparations and off to sleep. That’s not a great way to allocate your time. 

Unsure how to occupy your time when you are off work sick? Here are eight ways to be productive during these times: 

1. New Knowledge 

When was the last time you learned something new? If it was in college or in high school then you should definitely take advantage of this time of recuperation to attain new knowledge. Whether it’s quantum physics, Austrian economics, the biography of a famous person or cryptocurrency, it’s imperative to always expand upon your knowledge. It can be through any means: Dummies books, Wikipedia, YouTube videos, etc. 

2. Catching Up on the Classics 

Many people only watch the new films that make it to the big screen. It’s quite rare to find somebody who has watched an Ingmar Bergman picture, a Humphrey Bogart film or a Jeanne Moreau movie. Watching old movies allows you to expand your horizons and learn about a forgotten time, plus it also adds to your current knowledge. Discussing or informing someone of a Frank Capra or Federico Fellini film can be quite engaging for some. 

3. Organizing Files 

Files are everywhere: on the bed, in the kitchen drawers and all over the garage. Now would be an opportune time to begin organizing your tax, financial, work and other sorts of files into a neat little pile and going through each document one by one. Once this has been achieved then it’s time to file it away in a box, a filing cabinet or in the trash. 

4. Cleaning Your Computer & Inbox 

Most computer users never go through their computer until they are warned that they only have a few gigabytes left on their hard drive. Spend an hour sifting through all of the documents, images and videos you have accumulated and place them in a neat folder or in the recycle bin. You’ll realize you have a lot of storage space after this. 

In addition, peruse your email inbox and delete unimportant messages that are at least a year old. It’s likely that if you have an email from a friend who told you he was going to buy you pizza in 2006 then it’s prudent to erase it from your inbox. Decluttering is good for the (digital) soul! 

5. Searching the Labor Market 

Whether you’re 25 or 45 it’s also a good idea to search the labor market to see what employment opportunities are out there, how much your position pays and what the employment projections are in your field. If you haven’t received a raise in 10 years and you see job openings offering 10 percent more than your current salary then start considering looking elsewhere for a job. 

6. Learning New Jokes 

One of the best ways to break the ice with someone at a convention, networking event or office party is to tell a joke - of course one should always refrain from telling dirty jokes. Spending 20 minutes on your sick day learning some Groucho Marx, Rodney Dangerfield or George Carlin wisecracks is time definitely well spent. 

7. Financial Inventory 

On the top of your head, do you know how much your net worth is? If not then spend the rest of your morning or afternoon performing an audit of your finances. To do this, calculate your debt, savings, assets, etc. and then conclude if you’re net positive or net negative. Also, create some financial resolutions, write out a budget (if applicable) and outline long-term goals you have. 

8. A Resume Touch-up 

We all obtain new skills, new duties at the office and new certifications. Unfortunately, we don’t update our resumes accordingly. During your sick day, open up your resume and update it, modify its aesthetics and create several editions for different industries. You’ll never want your resume to be out of date just in case you have a tremendous employment offer. 

Sick days are indeed to heal up, get better and feel 100 percent to return to the office. However, it’s also a chance to spend a couple of hours organizing our lifestyles, studying a new topic and doing something you wanted to do but didn’t have the time or energy to do it. It may seem counterintuitive, but you’ll feel better being productive instead of lazy. 

Image source: The Payroll Blog

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