Fun + Lifestyle

Silly Things to Do with Your Downtime

  • Online shop — Look for stuff you don’t need
  • Look for travel deals — Gotta use that vacation time somehow
  • Social media creeping — What’s your high school ex up to?

We all try to be our most productive selves at the office, and usually, that works out just fine: By the end of the day you’ve gotten everything done that you need to and are feeling pretty satisfied with your progress.

However, we’ve all had those days where no matter how long you stare at your computer, you can’t get anything done. You’ll figure out any way to waste time until you can just head home and turn your brain off. Since it’s probably not doable to blatantly stream Netflix at your desk in most legal environments, you might want to look for sneakier downtime activities. Here are a few you can turn to when you’re in a mental slump and have a bit of downtime on your hands.

Shop online for things you don’t need.

Sure, you could shop for things you actually do need, like socks to replace the ones you’re always losing, or the laundry detergent you’re almost out of, or coffee beans so you can stop spending money at Starbucks. That being said, it’s definitely way more fun to look for things you absolutely don’t need — maybe you can find some definitively not work-appropriate clothing for your next night out, or maybe some new fancy cooking gadgets (everybody apparently needs an Instant Pot now, right?), or a new set of wine glasses, because you suddenly hate yours. Websites like The Strategist update daily with new lists of recommendations, but you can also just kill time looking up your favorite store or scrolling through Amazon.

What totally unnecessary thing would you like to waste time shopping online for?

Look for a great travel deal for your next vacation.

We keep telling lawyers that you’ve got to use your vacation days sometime, so why not use some of your downtime to plan your next getaway? Whether you’re looking to head to Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, or even just the closest shore town, you’ll need to be prepared and figure out a place to stay, how you’ll travel, and what you should do when you get there. Do some research on super-curated travel sites, like New York Times’ 36 Hours column, and then figure out your transport; if you need a flight, try apps like Hopper, which can go through each time frame and airline to find your absolute best price and option. Even if you’re just dreaming about where to go next, it can’t hurt to browse new luggage sets from Away or scroll through different cities on AirBnB to figure out where you might want to stay. Your trip might be three months or three years away, but if you can’t make yourself focus, you might as well get the research done right now.

Spend some time “browsing” on social media.

Yes, it sounds creepy, but who among us hasn’t done some social media creeping from time to time? As long as you don’t get too weird about it, it’s harmless to see what your law school classmates have gotten up to, or to check out one of your friend’s Twitter threads about the latest show she binge-watched. Luckily, you can also idly scroll through celebrity threads if you don’t have super interesting friends, so whether you’d rather read Patton Oswalt’s acerbic Tweets or watch Kim Kardashian West live her over-the-top life on Instagram, you have plenty of options that are easy enough to do while you look like you’re busy at your desk.