“Down-Time” Is Learning Time | TravelResearchOnline

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“Down-Time” Is Learning Time

What do you do when you find that you have a little extra time on your hands at work?

Do you …

  • Clean your files?
  • Drink coffee?
  • Chat with fellow workers?
  • Complain?
  • Take a smoke-break?
  • Dream about your “dream” job?
  • Play on your computer?
  • Make personal phone calls?
  • Day dream?
  • Google?


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I remember when I was younger, my dad chastised me for simply answering, “I’m just killing a little time.” He told me in no uncertain terms that “time” was too precious to waste and that I should put an end to this habit at once if I had any interest whatsoever to go on living pain free. (I grew up in the days when a swift “pat on the ass” was not only aceptable, but expected now and then.)

Just the other day I was reminded of “wasted down time” when I drove over to Home Depot to rent a piece of do-it-yourself equipment.  It was not until I returned home that I discovered that the man responsible for renting me the “gizmo” gave me two parts which were not meant to operate together. I had wasted a good hour of my morning thanks to this “oversight”… and I was not pleased.

I felt that this man should have known better. After all, he was the “professional” when it came to renting gizmos. I found myself (right or wrong) questioning the proper use of his down-time. How could he have been so lazy? His mistake/error/oversight affected me directly and made my life a bit more uncomfortable. And I thought sales people were suppose to make life easier for their customers!

I thought that if he was the “rental guy,” he should have had a firm grasp of his “rentals.” Since he did not use each and every tool himself, shouldn’t he be studying his wares each and every chance he gets…. during his down-time? If he was the true “pro” rental man, shouldn’t he be the “pro rental man?”

Pick one. How do you use your downtime?

  • By improving your skills to better serve your customers?
  • By offering bogus apologies once you screw up somebody’s day?

How many mistakes can you avoid by using the minutes throughout each day learning more about what you do for a living? Could you save your customers time, money, stress, frustration, and needless “do-overs” by being just a little better at what you do for a living? I think the aswer is “yes.” Am I right?

Becoming the best doesn’t come easily. Studying is not a common practice for most adults. Being the best at what you do takes a concentrated effort. It is time that we all make a little more effort, and focus on incremental improvement.

Down-time. Look for it. Cherish it. Use it wisely.


Mike Marchev is the author of the sales book titled Become The Exception and is a popular speaker at industry events. You can receive a complimentary copy of his Special Report titled “Your 12-Word Marketing Plan.” Email Mike and put the number “12” in the subject box. Also, ask about his 3rd Annual Training Cruise coming in November. Mike@MikeMarchev.com.

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