What do you do at work during micro down-time periods?

My attention and patience run out a lot of the time when I get periods where I wait for things: a pipeline run, a package build, an execution of a script, a tool loading, a scan happening within the IDE due to a static code check, computer updates, browser slowness due to internet or running out of resources, a refresh of test environment, opening of a word/excel file in Sharepoint…

I am also quite quick with several tools, switching, focusing, clicking, typing… and end up having to undo some actions that I do ahead of the completion of automated tasks.

The day ends up being quite fragmented and sometimes very strange, feeling that I haven’t worked that much, or haven’t paid enough attention to some things.

I am curious about what others are doing or not doing during similar events.


I can relate to the urge to switch tasks and click around when things are slow. It’s hard to stay focused when you’re constantly waiting.

For myself, I’ve found keeping a light reading material or quick exercise routine handy. It can help fill those gaps without derailing my focus too much. It keeps my mind active while those tasks are running.

Sometimes, stepping away entirely for a short walk or coffee break can do wonders for resetting my focus and patience when I get stuck waiting. Coming back fresh can even make the process run faster!


I tend to have a few key resources and communities to hand that I check into for ideas and inspiration.

I hate sitting around doing nothing and I’m a big fan of note taking too, often I jot down notes so I can write/create something later.