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9 Ways 'Wasting Time' Can Boost Your Career

HuffPost logo HuffPost 20/04/2015 Bernard Marr

© Provided by The Huffington Post A 2014 survey  from Salary.com said that 89 percent of workers waste at least some time at work each day. And although plenty of people would guess that young people would be the biggest time wasters, but actually, people 26-39 were the worst culprits. 

Or should that be... the best?

What's interesting is that more than half the survey's respondents (53 percent) said they waste time because they believe short breaks make them more productive.

Another study from a social networking group used a time-tracking app to analyze the most productive people. They discovered that productive workers don't put in longer hours, but what they did do was take frequent breaks -- specifically, they took 17 minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work.

Perhaps even more surprising is what these employees did with their breaks: they got away from the computer completely, taking a walk, chatting with a coworker, or reading a book.

9 Ways to Waste Time Properly

If you're getting bored or feeling tired at work, you must refresh yourself by either reading a blog or taking a walk. © Ned Frisk/Corbis If you're getting bored or feeling tired at work, you must refresh yourself by either reading a blog or taking a walk. Reading blogs, watching videos on YouTube, or reading a book unrelated to your work are all things that really career-focused people sometimes see as wasting time or distractions that take them away from the things they should be doing to further their career.

But actually, it is really valuable to spend some time (not too much though) on these activities that might give us completely new ideas and perspectives. They can help us discover new things, make new connections, come up with innovative solutions and challenge our current thinking.

The next time you feel bored, tired, or stuck at work, try one of these:

1. Take a walk.

An employee checks his text messages while he takes a walk. © Helen King/Corbis An employee checks his text messages while he takes a walk. The fresh air, sunshine, and most importantly exercise will get your blood flowing and improve concentration, memory, and performance.

2. Catch up with a colleague.

In an MIT study, workers at a call center who were allowed to chat with their colleagues got through more calls (not less) and felt less tension and stress about their jobs.

3. Take a nap

An employee takes a power nap in between office hours. © REX Features An employee takes a power nap in between office hours. If you feel tired, a 15- or 20-minute power nap can absolutely boost your focus and productivity.

4. Read a book.

A female employee takes a break from work by reading a book at a pavement cafe near her office. © Gabi Dilly/Westend61/Corbis A female employee takes a break from work by reading a book at a pavement cafe near her office. It turns out, people who read books -- especially fiction -- are better at interacting with their colleagues. So you're not just reading the latest bestseller; you're improving your EQ.

5. Surf the net.

© Hero Images Inc./Hero Images This isn't as useful as getting away from your computer, but taking some time to look at websites that aren't totally related to your work can give your brain a break as well as spur creativity.

6. Daydream.

Bored businessman daydreams while staring out of a window. © Alex Dobrovodsky/moodboard/C Bored businessman daydreams while staring out of a window. It's a common anecdote that we have our best ideas while otherwise distracted -- say, while driving or taking a shower -- but science has shown that different parts of our brains light up when we daydream, which may help you break through a thorny problem.

7. Take a lunch break.

© 237/Robert Nicholas/Ocean/Co Actually taking a break to eat lunch is a foreign concept to many, but stepping away from your desk and eating some nutritious food can boost productivity.

8. Meditate.

© WestEnd61/Rex Features Even a short meditation has benefits for the brain like lowering stress levels and improving overall health.

9. Plan your next vacation.

© Ocean/Corbis It turns out that planning a vacation (whether you actually take it or not) boosts happiness. So if you're feeling stressed or overworked, taking a few minutes to pick out a cruise or look at hotels could make you feel better.

What's your favorite way to take a break at work? Do you consider wasting time a productivity booster -- or not? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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