Anyone who has ever done freelancing knows that there are times of the year when you are swamped with work and there are other times when it feels like the world has stopped turning. If you have planned for these down times properly, you might have some money saved on the side to cover you through the slow season. But for me, even if I am financially covered, having too much spare time can be my worst nightmare. Am I the only one?
You can call me workaholic, but I like to consider myself a productivity addict. I am one of those persons who is always calculating the least amount of time possible for any given task and how many tasks can be done at the same time to maximise productivity. So you can imagine that when I have spare time in my hands I quickly fill it up with things to do so that I don't waste a single valuable minute of my diary. But, don't get me wrong. I do enjoy off time: I reserve at least one day a week to relax and spend with my family and friends and I like to plan a few trips every year to go abroad and see some world. The thing is, you mustn't confuse the slow season with taking time off for yourself: the former is unpredictable and unwanted; the latter must be planned for and it is pretty much needed.
Anyways, if you are not like me and you take advantage of those slow times to sleep until late or to stay on the couch doing some Netflix and chill, this post is not for you. The rest of you may keep on reading. When you are going through a slow season the first thing that comes to your mind is if there is something that you should be doing to avoid this down time. But more often than not there is nothing that you can do to avoid these low work periods of time. They just happen and it is part of the freelancer's life. Below you will find a few of the things that I do to avoid feeling useless during the slow season:
- Get inspired: go out and visit a museum or a gallery, or a crafts market, or a crowded plaza or go for a walk in the park and get in touch with nature. Whatever helps you break away from what you are used to doing and gets your creative juices flowing.
- Take on a personal project: I am firm believer that working on personal projects and experimenting with new themes and techniques helps you fall even more in love with your craft. Take this time to collaborate with other creatives and to update your portfolio.
- Learn something new: acquiring a new skill on something that is completely unrelated to what you do is a good way of resetting the brain.
- Take care of personal matters: if like me your spouse holds the full-time job these slow seasons are perfect for tending to all those pending personal matters on your to-do list.
No freelancer likes to go through periods of time with no paid jobs, but if they come they don't necessarily have to become wasted time. Take the opportunity to invest this time on yourself and your future you will appreciate it.
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