Thankfully, I have been in an extended period of feast. So no down town for a pretty long time. If I did have free time here’s a list of things I’d do (some may not be applicable if you work for a company):
– Learn something new / improve your skills. There is always something more you can learn to make yourself more valuable. Photoshop is such a deep program, you can watch tutorials on different techniques and learn something.
– Creative exercises / creative inspiration / field trips. Go to the art museum, take a camera and go to the botanical garden, take a sketch pad to your favorite cafe with a patio.
– Exercise. I mean physical exercise. Work out. Get outside. Hit the gym.
– Catch up on blogs. There are a ton of good design blogs out there.
– Get your portfolio up to date. I work on projects, archive them, and never update my portfolio. I could easily spend a couple of days going through past work and prepping it for a physical or digital portfolio.
– Update your website / build a website.
– Clean / organize your office.
– Prospect for new clients.
Bottom line . . . I really don’t think a designer has an excuse for doing nothing or being bored.