12+ Things You Can Do While You’re Waiting

Do you like to wait?

I know that I don’t. Whether it’s waiting for an appointment in the doctor’s office or waiting in line, I always feel like I’m wasting time when I wait.

However, waiting is a big part of freelancing. We freelancers do a lot of waiting.

We wait to see if we got the project we applied for. We wait to hear back from a client. We wait to get payment after sending out an invoice.

In this post, I’ll share over a dozen productive things you can do while you wait.

What to Do While You’re Waiting

We’ve written about what to do on slow days before.

Here are over 12 more ideas that will keep you busy and help you to be more productive when you’re waiting.

  1. Clean your office. It’s easy to let things stack up and get disorganized when you’re busy with a project. But a messy office can really slow you down. Why not take advantage of your waiting time to straighten things up? You’ll be glad you did.
  2. Make some cold calls. It’s only natural to put off cold calling local businesses. We’re all afraid of rejection. But the more ways that you can get your freelance business name and message out there, the better. Pick up the phone now.
  3. Go to lunch (or dinner) with a former colleague, classmate or teacher. Have you lost touch with the people who used to be close to you? If so, you’re not alone. Even if you’re connected on Facebook, when was the last time you really talked? Stay in touch. You might be surprised–your former contacts could even be in a position to offer you a project. Even if they’re not, as a freelancer it’s important to have a strong support group.
  4. Re-examine your business plan. Your freelance business plan shouldn’t be set in stone. But few freelancers take the time to really review their freelancing business plan. Your slow period is the perfect time to re-evaluate your freelance business.
  5. Write some thank-you notes. Nothing makes a bigger impact than saying “thank-you.” That’s because we’ve lost many of the social niceties that used to be common. If someone has really helped you out, write them a thank-you note. I guarantee it will help you to stand out.
  6. Contact a former client. In a perfect world, former clients would always contact us with future work. Too often, however, once you’re out of sight, you’re easily forgotten. If you’ve been freelancing a while and have some clients you haven’t heard from in a while, reach out to them and ask how they’re doing.
  7. Update the information in your portfolio, social media profile, and so on. Does your portfolio represent your latest accomplishments? Is the information on your blog’s About page current? Are your social media profiles up-to-date? Updating these vital aspects of your freelance business makes a great small project for a few spare hours.
  8. Get a new professional head shot made. When was the last time you updated your profile picture? Does it even look like you? If it’s been years since your profile picture was taken, it’s time to update it. Hire a professional to get the best possible shot.
  9. Stock up on staples. What is it that you always run out of? Is it paper? Printer cartridges? Something else? Take advantage of the extra time you have while you’re waiting to shop for some basic office supplies.
  10. Read. If you’re like me, you have a whole stack of books (business and otherwise) that you haven’t had time to read yet. If you’re stuck for a few days in waiting mode, now is the time to catch up on that reading. Who knows? You may even learn something that you can use in your freelancing business.
  11. Work on personal chores. From painting to laundry to household repairs, everyone has personal chores to do. Often, these personal tasks are put off while we’re busy. It’s really easy to fall behind. If you’re in waiting mode, this is a good time to catch up on your chores.
  12. Get some exercise. Most freelancers don’t get enough exercise. It’s easy to make up excuses for not exercising when you’re busy, but what is your excuse when things are slow? Don’t make excuses. Get moving. You’ll feel better and work more efficiently too.
  13. Bonus tip: Take a break. As freelancers sometimes we get in the mindset that we have to be working all of the time. While it’s true that freelancing is a lot of hard work, it’s okay to take a break. If you’re currently waiting, take a few hours (or even a day) and do something fun for a change.

Your Turn

Have you found that freelancing involves a lot of waiting?

How do you occupy your time while you wait?

Share your answers in the comments.

Image by jeffk

Comments

  1. says

    Here’s my #1 tip for what to do while waiting – work on your personal projects. Who does not put off their personal projects? You know – the ebook you were going to write, the fiction writing you dream of – whatever. We all have them, and most of us put them behind “real work” -a.k.a. client work.

    I know I do. How about you?

  2. says

    Great points. I agree with reading/learning new skills, finishing house chores and tasks you’ve put aside for too long, re-examining your business plan, and exercise. I would also use this time to network and market my business online.

    For writers, free writing is also a good way to use waiting time productively.

  3. says

    This is a great post. Loved the reminder to make cold calls, which for me is an extension of a note I keep above my desk: Do one hard thing a day!

    I keep a running list by my desk of things I need to get to, small things that don’t need immediate attention and would not show up on a daily to-do list, but nevertheless need to be attended to sometime in the not to distant future. These are the little details that get away from me, sometimes so far that by the time I recall them they aren’t useful anymore and it’s really my loss, e.g looking up a fact that could make an article better, writing that thank you not you mention in this post, or organizing an electronic file into more manageable or recognizable chunks.

    I work on this list not just when I’m waiting, but also when my brain flatlines from overload and I can’t think of what to do next. Just starting on this list opens the door to other more pressing tasks.

    Thanks again for the timely reminders here.

  4. says

    Many good points, what I do while waiting for clients replies?

    As a freelancer web developer, I have a tough schedule. If I got some time free. I work on my own websites, update portfolio, add news on blog, write feedbacks, and delete un-necessary files. Test new software/applications. Search interesting websites. Go for outing and shopping.

    Hope this help to other freelancers :)

    Cheers,
    qammar (pkshops)

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