If you’ve got little or no work at the moment, how are you spending your time?
You can stop the blushing and stammering right now, because the all-day pyjama party ends here. There are useful things you can be doing, even if your diary is all but empty.
When work is slow, you have an opportunity to broaden, hone and update your knowledge and skills with some training.
Whether it’s a 1-day course, a boot camp or an online qualification that you can work on when you have spare time, further learning is a great way to stay on top of your game.
Focus on those areas where you feel you are weakest or in danger of falling behind the times, and also on learning skills that complement those you already have.
What skills could you offer that your clients currently look elsewhere for?
A successful freelancer needs to be able to organise their workload and find the information they need quickly. Your desk, storage, financial records and email inbox are all likely to benefit from a de-clutter and reorganise.
Do you have all the receipts and invoices your accountant will need when tax-return time rolls around? Whose is that phone number on that sticky note?
Take the opportunity to think about how you work and what you need easy access to, and ensure your current systems and storage are up to the job. That way, when the work does come flooding back in, you’ll be able to handle it with ninja-like, stress-free efficiency!
If you’ve been busy and hidden away in a frenetic freelance bubble, your connections to the world, the people around you and your own supply of energy and inspiration may have started to weaken.
Take some time to meet with friends, spend time with your family and rediscover your mojo. What inspires you? Where did your best ideas come from? Make time to revisit places or activities that fuel your purpose, spark ideas or reenergise you.
Was this slow week planned? Have there been too many slow weeks recently – or not enough? Down time gives you the chance to evaluate how you promote yourself, how you work and how you maintain your work/life balance, looking for areas that could be improved.
If this slow week looks like it may be the first of many, it’s time to consider how you find clients (or how they find you) and look at the work you’re taking on and the prices you’re charging.
As part of this process, make sure you cast a critical eye over your online presence. Have you updated your website recently? Have you gone quiet on social media platforms? Make sure your online presence reflects what you’re doing now, and that it showcases your skills.
Yes, I’m giving you permission to relax – and to enjoy being work-free. Do you feel guilty when you work late into the night to get a project completed? Probably not. So, there’s no reason to feel guilty for taking back the time you’re owed.
Don’t mooch about at home, feeling guilty that you have no work to do and letting that guilt stop you from enjoying yourself. Instead, accept that it’s time off and make the most of it. Read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf for months. Visit that friend. See that film or play. Have lunch out, or dinner – or both. Book a few days away.
Down time doesn’t have to be wasted time, so make the most of it. Whether you fill it with activity or use it to recharge your batteries, abandon the pyjamas and the guilt and give it your all!
How do you deal with slow weeks? Do you take time for yourself or focus on your business? Let us know your thoughts.