What to do to do nothing?
In today’s hyper effective office workplaces you are tempted to think that doing nothing is some sort of a sin. Having nothing to do is a waste of your time and consequently - of someone else’s money (usually your bosses).
Manufacturers used to call it (and some still do) a downtime and a downtime usually means inefficiency a.k.a. - a loss.
But in the same way that the workplaces in offices have become hyper effective, the workplace of a service provider, blue collar worker has become more unpredictable: orders are erratic, plans usually are more of a fairy tail than a thing to follow and uncertainty is the most certain thing. Loosing time as a service provider is quit often a normal thing - some orders get canceled, plans are not fulfilled and forecast are a myth.
On these often occasions one is tempted to find something to do. If one is not a freelancer and has a boss, the boss usually encourages that seeking of “self worth”.
So, how can doing nothing in this case be good? You want to be useful, your boss wants you to be useful. Who is wrong here?
Doing nothing usually will not bring you more income on its own, but it can be a useful measurement tool of your success. Figures vary from industry to industry, but if you, as a service provider, can reach a “free” or “lost” time portion of 20%, you are on a right track (german industry standard).
In this case, doing nothing (but you need to be sure, that there is nothing planned to do) and measuring that free time will let you know how much free time in your process you have. Never mind, that that time can’t be immediately used - it is the measurement of the whole process, not that particular task.
I would like to link some references for these insights, but it’s just my experience and the way I was lucky to use it.
Using that free time and reaching a goal of 20% as a service provider could be another topic for the future.