How to Spend Free Time at Your Desk

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So you’re at work, and you’ve just finished a TV dinner or a warmed over plate of Chinese food from last night. You still have a half-hour or so left in your lunch break, and you want to get in some productive free time without actually leaving your cubicle or office. You may be wondering to yourself, ‘How can I occupy myself during this brief respite in my busy work schedule?’ Glad you asked. Here are a few tips for getting through the lull in your day while remaining stationary:

 

 

  • Check Up on the IT Industry: It wouldn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the latest news, technologies and trends in your field. Tech-oriented Web sites run the gamut from the informative (www.idc.com) to the thought-provoking (www.wired.com) to the entertaining (www.theregister.com). And I probably don’t need to tell you that one of the best all-around online resources is www.certmag.com.
  • Play a Game: If you’ve got Windows on your office PC, then it’s likely you know that there are some options available in your “Games” folder—classics like Free Cell, Minesweeper, Hearts and Solitaire (or its jazzier cousin, Spider Solitaire). The Internet offers a wealth of selections, as well, from text-based scenario games to visually extravagant Flash offerings. The Web site www.addictinggames.com is a good place to start. One warning, though: As the name implies, these games are addictive.
  • Read the News: It seems there’s a lot going on in the world these days, and the fastest way to find out about it is through the World Wide Web. You can get your daily dose of current events from sites of network news agencies (NBC, CNN, Fox) and major dailies (the New York Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune are good), as well as a wide range of responses to them in the blogosphere. If you like your news with a humorous slant, the Daily Show (www.comedycentral.com/tv_shows/thedailyshowwithjonstewart) and the Onion (www.theonion.com) are worth a look.
  • Root for the Home Team: Take some time to check out what’s going on with your favorite team, league or athlete online. ESPN (espn.go.com) and Fox Sports (msn.foxsports.com) offer some of the best online coverage for fans in the United States, while the World News Network’s Sports News (www.sportsnews.com) is aimed more at an international audience. Also, it’s a safe bet that your favorite team has several Web sites solely devoted to it (even if it happens to be the Cincinnati Bengals). Don’t have a favorite? Then you can try your hand at putting your own together through an online fantasy league.
  • Work on Your Finances: Most banks allow their customers to access statements online. You could take this time to examine your checking or savings account, review your expenses and draft a budget. If you have any money left over, you could invest it in stocks or bonds, purchase books, music or DVDs, or make bids on various items in auctions—all through the Internet.
  • Rest: You could always try to take away some work-related stress through meditation. Web sites such as www.learningmeditation.com and www.dailyzen.com are valuable resources for those who are seeking Enlightenment or just a little peace and quiet. Getting a quick nap in is another option—just remember to wake up! (You can download an alarm clock at www.ornj.net/software/citrus.)
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