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Nothing to do? What to do

When you are self-employed, there are slumps in workload from time to time when there is nothing to do. Delayed projects, changes of plan and cancelled jobs can leave you with a day or two with nothing on the schedule. So what do you do, when there’s nothing to do?

You could stay in work mode and bring the accounts or the filing up to date, but you’ve left these on the back burner for so long another couple of days won’t make any difference. In any case, it might take a day to sort out the shoe box before you can even make a start at doing something useful with the contents.

Still in work mode, you could do some marketing. Ah, social media – that marvellous tool for communication and marketing with such fascinating posts on your timeline to inform and amuse. And that’s the problem – instead of posting well-planned comments to tempt new clients, you end up in a deep discussion on the relative merits of organic versus straight, blemish-free carrots.

Nothing doing?

On the other hand, especially after a hectic spell, there are probably some domestic chores that have built up. There’s nothing in the underwear drawer. Cobwebs swirl when you open cupboard doors and the toilet is simply an embarrassment. So, a spot of housework will sort things out. But by the time you’ve sorted out the laundry, found there’s not enough to justify a wool wash and you only have non-bio capsules that never really get the stains out of the sweat shirts, you’ve lost the will to live. A quick check on the email in-tray in case a job has come in, (nothing there) and you make a cup of coffee and have a think before attempting something else.

Woman with nothing to do
Copyright: ljupco / 123RF Stock Photo

Now, wouldn’t it be great if you could fix the loose handle on that drawer, or adjust the ball cock in the cistern so it’s not constantly dribbling, or clear out the gutters. Not huge jobs. Once you get to it, of course. After tracking down the toolbox and finding nothing in it, turning the house upside down for the right size screwdriver and deciding it’s too windy to climb a ladder outside, at least an hour has passed. Time for another coffee. Ooh, it’s 1 p.m. Time for lunch, and maybe some chat on Twitter.

Nothing to it!

There is a way to turn this around and recover your motivation. Consider ‘downtime-work’ it as if it were a paying job. After all, if you were conventionally employed you would not be idle in quieter times. So apply the same approach not only to chores, but those work-related tasks – they are all important. Yes, even filing.

  • make (short) lists
  • assign priorities
  • set deadlines
  • break down big jobs
  • keep busy

By doing this, when that ‘need-it-in-30-minutes’ job drops in, you’ll be running at operating speed and mentally ready for it. Of course, you can always write a blog post!


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