How to fill time at work using the Internet?
September 30, 2009 4:59 AM   Subscribe

How to fill time at work using the Internet?

My workload as of late has been lighter than normal, and I find myself having a few extended (30-minute) blocks of time with nothing to do.

To be clear, this is not the kind of workplace where I can be super-ambitious and go ask my bosses for more work; once my well is dry, it's dry.

My way to fill these empty blocks of time has been to visit the more popular news/essay sites, including slate, arts and letters daily, and the new york times. However, I feel like I'm consuming web candy for 30 minutes at a time...when I'd rather be eating a full meal. What are some more substantive ways I can utilize my time? How do you deal with this?

To be clear, the company watches every single thing we do online, so anything personal (like starting a blog) is out of the question.
posted by st starseed to Work & Money (10 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
30-minute blocks are long enough to do something serious, like some online language-learning course or podcast. There are also online courses for programming and other computer skills.

Useful for you, interesting, and you even look golden in the surfing logs for spending your time on self-improvement.
posted by rokusan at 5:04 AM on September 30, 2009

Learn things. It's what the internet was designed for.

You haven't given too much detail, but pick a hobby or interest, and start following links. Wikipedia's often a good start, but just about any interest you have will have some sort of SIG on the 'net.

Also: if you're already reading the NYT, how about follow the same stories in the international press to get a better perspective. As an exercise, check out one story in, say, the NYT, the Guardian, Fox, the BBC and Al Jazeera. Of course, if the story itself is international, find the local press for it. can be good for that.
posted by pompomtom at 5:10 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

I spend boring worktime doing the LA Times and USA Today crosswords online.
posted by something something at 6:23 AM on September 30, 2009

I'm in the same boat. I've been learning Python in my spare time.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 6:26 AM on September 30, 2009

If you are mathematically inclined, project euler is for you.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:39 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

coffee break french or spanish.
posted by betsybetsy at 7:00 AM on September 30, 2009

Not sure what field you're in, but personal productivity would be looked at kindly by any boss. Here are a few to do with time management, GTD and general productivity:

Effective Time Management
Getting Things Done
Zen Habits

Some tech links:
O'Reilly's Radar
IT Toolbox
Rough Type
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:25 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

I sometimes cut and paste classics from Gutenberg into word and read when I've nothing else to do. My internet at work is even more locked down than yours and really really scrutinised, so am very limited in what I can do!
posted by nunoidia at 9:28 AM on September 30, 2009

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