What do you do when things slow down?

Creative professionals—particularly freelancers, I would guess—are wary of NOT being busy. That half day or day here and there, when you don't have looming deadlines, or you're between projects, or the phone just isn't ringing. While those of us who work in larger organizations may relish that slow time (when we can catch up on the stack of magazines threatening to topple over on our desks or empty old files), creatives whose livelihoods depend on billable hours may panic at the thought.

A recent column in HOW by designer Stephanie Orma suggests that we can use that downtime for creative pursuits that ultimately have bottom-line payoff. A  number of Stephanie's recommendations apply to designers who work in agencies or in-house, but freelance creatives can take advantage of these ideas, too. Like, use that downtime for creative research and inspiration. Get a jumpstart on a project you know is coming down the pike. Other ideas: Do a bit of research to see how your competitors have updated their websites recently, or explore ways you could fine-tune your business's tagline.

What do you do when you find yourself with a bit of time on your hands? Please share here.

4 thoughts on “What do you do when things slow down?

  1. Merylkevans

    Non business-related: Read more. Volunteer more. Exercise more.
    Business-related: Clean business (emails, computers, review clients), spend more time with clients where possible, keep marketing and visit more blogs.

  2. heather parlato

    i prioritize research and creative inspiration as part of my regular schedule, so for times when it’s slow, i spend extra time on marketing and bookkeeping, and try to research new ways to improve my own self-promotion in print or online.
    if it’s just slow enough that i can work elsewhere, sometimes i’ll take a beach day or a park day with some reference material and a note book and brainstorm on an upcoming project or catch up on industry magazines. or if it’s a clear, photo opportunity day, go out and take pictures in different parts of town, go on a hike and photograph color palette ideas, go places that keep my mind inspired.

  3. Kristin Miaso

    When the work load slows down, I generally research various businesses or creative outlets or visit art galleries and walk around town, leave my business cards at as many places as possible. I also contact various colleagues in the industry to see what they have been up to and discuss ideas and trends.
    I think having a break is good, especially when I get too busy and consumed I come close to a burn out. However, there are times where I do panic, but then the next day I get a call about the next project.