What to do with Downtime?


With the slow down in the economy and the impending holiday season, everybody is likely to have a little spare free time. Most freelancers don’t do too well with free time and start scrambling for more clients, but what else can you do with that free time?

Update Your Resume

I know this sounds bad, things get a little slow and you’re supposed to start looking for a new job? No! Your resume is a great way to reflect on what you’ve done recently, and help you plan your future. But you never know when having an up-to-date resume will come in handy.

You might even want to create an online resume, Emurse is a great place to create and post a resume.

Emurse

Update Your Portfolio

Much like you resume your portfolio probably needs an update. Not quite as drastic as updating your resume, but your portfolio is likely the first thing that an prospective client will look at. An up-to-date portfolio is the key to finding new work.

I prefer to keep a portfolio on my own site, but if you prefer something hosted check out CarbonMade.

carbonmade

Update Your Social Profiles

Sites such as LinkedIn are a great way to find new work, but you have to make sure you keep your profiles updated. Not only should you update your profile to reflect your work and any new work or training, but making sure you have added all your latest contacts will help expand your network into that next gig. Getting testimonials from past clients on an independent website can go further than something you post on your own site.

linkedin

Learn Something New

If you’ve complained about not having time to learn Ruby on Rails or Django, what better time than now! Whatever that buzzword compliant latest cool thing you’ve been meaning to learn is, jump in and learn something new. When the economy does recover you’ll be happy you have all these new skills.

Read Some Books

No not another technical book, read a little fiction, even a little science fiction, but something unrelated to work. Reading a little fiction is a good way to relax, but also helps to expand your horizons, and might give you a different perspective on your next project. Head over to Amazon and pick something random to read. I’ve just started on the Twilight series.

Taxes

Yes its getting to the end of the year, and our favorite time of the year approaches, Tax time! Why not get a head of the curve and get all your affairs in order. It’s not very glamorous work, but who knows what your schedule will look like closer to the time.

Personal Projects

If you’ve had an idea for a web site, now is the time to act on it. It doesn’t mean you’ll get the web site built and launched, but now is the time to start planning the web site, and who knows with the latest Agile development techniques maybe you will have time to get the site out to the public. Most Inspired itself was started as a way for me to kill some free time, so you never know where things will end up.

Network

Take the time to shake some hands, maybe take a client out to lunch. It is far more easier to get more work from a client, or by a referral from a client, than trying to find a new client. We try and stay connected via email and instant messenger when we’re busy with work, but now that you have some free time, a little face time goes a long way to cementing the relationships you have built with clients.

Recharge

Relax! Take a little time to spend time with friends and family, or even some time for yourself. Freelancers will often as a norm work more than the alloted 40 hours per week to work, take the downtime to recharge yourself for the next client project that runs over time and over budget (they usually do don’t they).

I’m currently trying to kill two birds with one stone, launching a new personal project soon and using the opportunity to learn KohanaPHP. What your you doing with your free time, or perhaps you don’t have any?

About Mubashar Iqbal

Mubashar Iqbal is the creator of Most Inspired, a web designer and developer, who has been building websites for over 13 years. You can read his blog at Mubashar Iqbal
This entry was posted in Business and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What to do with Downtime?

  1. Well, I’ll doubt I’ll ever have any ‘real’ downtime … unless I have a nervous breakdown, computer crash and the like .. but, I like to do some of these things close to calendar year end just because it’s the easiest time to remember when to do them ..

  2. Dan Nelson says:

    One place to accomplish all of these things (resume, networking, etc., etc.) is http://www.nuresume.com. There you can create an online resume portfolio complete with photos, videos, blogs, chats, forums, groups, instant messaging and social networking.