Whether it’s a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months, most of us eventually face some amount of downtime in between jobs or semesters in college when we’re living in limbo and feeling a little aimless.  If you already have your job lined up and classes scheduled, the great thing about this limbo period is that there’s almost nothing expected of you!  What could be better?

Consequently, the bad thing about this limbo period is that there’s nothing expected of you.  Because let’s be honest, most of us are too lazy to be productive when we don’t have to be.  It’s easier to let your free time pass you by on the couch, eating pickles from the jar and watching Twin Peaks for the third time.  As enriching as that may be, this period of downtime is exactly when you should be the most productive; not only do you have plenty of time to get things done, but you can choose what you want those things to be.

Spring cleaning is not just for Spring.  Use some of your downtime to really clean out your closets and get rid of the things you don’t need.  It’s easy to justify letting things pile up over time (like that banana costume you think might come in handy someday), but you’ll thank yourself later if you get rid of some of that unnecessary junk now.

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Your in-between period is the perfect time to build those healthy habits you always tell yourself you’ll have someday.  Almost everyone has long-term fitness goals, like running a marathon or taking up yoga, but many of these goals are never reached because people fail to take the necessary steps to reach them today.  Think about the level of fitness you expect yourself to be at in five years and then make a plan right now for how you are going to reach that level.  This could mean signing up for your first yoga class, starting Couch to 5k, or getting over your intimidation of the weight room.  Not having enough time is not an acceptable excuse when all you’ve got is time!

If you’re more interested in challenging yourself intellectually or professionally, then your downtime is your chance to learn something new.  One of my favorite ways to spend extra time is listening to interesting podcasts like Planet Money, learning something new at Khan Academy or watching “Crash Course!” videos by John and Hank Green.  If you have a few weeks to kill, involve yourself with something a little more challenging like buying a language-learning software or signing up for a community college class so you can finally quit saying, “I’d like to learn French someday” and start saying, “Yeah, I started learning French when I was in between jobs” (bonus if you can say it in French).

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Other possibilities? You could try to fit in some traveling, make time to catch up with old friends, or volunteer your time for a worthy cause.

While there’s nothing wrong with occasionally putting your feet up and indulging in some quality tube time before you start a new job or another semester, why not use your limbo period to accomplish something that you can be proud of?

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