Take a Breath: How To Make the Most of a Slow Economy


Just the other day, Michelle Goodman posted about how people use their periods of unemployment. I commented thusly:

“The hours and days immediately following the loss of your income are incredibly fraught…filled with panic and desperation.

This is followed by the realization that you’ve been given a gift…the gift of time. Time to take for yourself. Time to be really really picky about the next job you choose.

As this period of time lengthens (and lengthens), you return to panic. And so it goes…”

The same holds true for those slow periods in a freelancer’s life, when the products seem to dry up and clients are suddenly MIA.

Do you panic and desperately grab at any old thing during these pauses in incoming work? Here are three ideas for more healthy and productive ways to utilize your newly empty hours. Feel free to add more in the comments!

1. Take Deep Breaths:

And, for the love of god, relax! Most likely, you’re a tougher taskmaster than any other boss you’ve had in the past, and have been neglecting lunch hours, yoga class, sleep, home cooked meals, and human contact in order to get through your to-do list. Use this time to recharge and concentrate on your physical and mental health.

2. Try Something New:

Perhaps you’ve been neglecting your non-paying blogs, letting your portfolio languish, or forgetting to work on personal products…funnily enough, the reason you became a freelancer in the first place. Now’s the time to turn back to those personal projects that bring you the most fulfillment.

Or try something completely new! Take a hands-on cooking class, that photo course offered at the local community college, that improv workshop you’ve had your eye on. Life doesn’t have to revolve around your career. Indulge your other interests and you’ll find that you have more to be excited about.

3. Market, Market Market:

Of course, you shouldn’t take a complete mental vacation. Perhaps your lack of paying work is a sign that you haven’t been spending enough time on self-marketing. Continue to build your professional network, actively seek out new clients, and generally talk yourself up.

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