8 Ways to Get the Most Out of Summer

Well, summer has officially arrived in North America. In our area, most kids are out of school. The neighborhood pools are open. And, it seems like everyone’s on vacation or mentally checked out.

For many freelancers, summers can be tough. With so many clients on vacation, projects get put on hold. Tracking down prospects can be difficult. It also seems like no one wants to make a decision because “Pam is out for two weeks, and once she gets back it will take her another two weeks to catch up!”

So, what’s a freelancer to do with the idle time?


How to Get the Most from Summer

Here are eight ideas to consider as we enter the dog days of summer:

  1. Clean your office. Throw away old files, purge old magazines and newsletters, reorganize desk drawers and clean up your email inbox. Don’t know about you, but my office is a disaster right now. Getting it organized has become a top priority.
  2. Catch up on your reading. If you love to read as much as I do, you probably struggle with too many books and not enough time to read them. If your workload is a bit light right now, use the extra time to catch up on your reading.
  3. Re-evaluate your technology. How’s your computer holding up? Do some of your software applications need updating? Now is a great time to install and learn new software or migrate to a new system.
  4. Strategic planning. With 2010 nearly halfway over (can you believe it?!), this is a good time to evaluate your progress toward the goals you set back in January. Which goals need further attention? If you’re behind on some of them, draft a realistic (but aggressive) action plan for the next six months.
  5. Create an information product. If you’ve been thinking about putting together an e-book, audio product or other information product, now is the time to get it done. I created my first e-book over a three-week period two years ago when workload was light.
  6. Meet friends and colleagues for lunch. This is a wonderful time to reconnect with people you haven’t talked to in a while. Call your friends and colleagues. Meet them for lunch or coffee. Share ideas, insights and plans.
  7. Volunteer your time. The economic downturn has had a dramatic impact on charitable and religious organizations. Donations are way down while the needs of many have increased sharply. So, if you find yourself with idle time, why not do some volunteering? Sure, a cash donation is always welcome, but your time and talents are just as (if not more) important.
  8. Spend undivided time with your family. Make it a point to spend more time with your kids, spouse and loved ones. Go on a family vacation. Head out to the pool, the beach, the park. Take the kids fishing. Work on some puzzles. Relax. Turn off the TV (yes, it actually has an “Off” button) and have a few sit-down dinners as a family. Show them how much you love and care for them.

View your spare time this summer as a gift. Use it wisely. If you’re doing the right things, you’ll soon be busy again…and you’ll wish you would have used that time better.

What About You?

I’ve shared some ideas for getting the most out of summer.

Image by aussiegall

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi there, nice article!
    We were planning a redesign of our website, to do some research for a new office and to spend a couple of weeks on vacation, but (apart from the vacation) it seems we’ll have to postpone our plans, since we’ve spoken with two potential clients in the last two days, both have big projects and both want the job done by September. We’ll see, one of the most important things of being a freelancer is to be flexible :)

  2. says

    I always find I’m busy during the summer (as I am at the moment) because clients want websites/brchures etc for a September launch. So that means I’ll be at my desk tomorrow (Saturday).
    But I’ll make sure I get out and make the most of the lovely English weather on Sunday. (Yes, really it IS lovely – have you been watching Wimbledon on the telly? No rain all week!)

  3. says

    Hey you were supposed to clean in the Spring!

    I’m actually waiting until my roommate moves out before I can even get to my desk (it’s in the guest room where he’s staying) but as soon as that happens I’m hitting it hard and getting everything organized.

    I’m also going to be building a computer when I get some extra funds and migrating everything from the laptop to the desktop.

  4. says

    Great article, very light-hearted (which goes well with the weather!).

    Another idea to throw out there: come up with a promotion of some sort for existing clients. Something quick that will add value to their business come September, like an email template or a keyword report. Low price point, easy decisioning, quick turnaround, and leads to more work in the Fall.

    We’re doing a “mini-makeover” on some of our older websites that simply brings their code up to today’s standards, maybe adds a few new photos, a little jQuery, cleans up the CSS, and can be turned around in a couple of days. So far the response has been great.

  5. says

    Federica – You know… you make a great point! Seems like when many of us try to carve out time to work on projects and tasks we’ve been putting off, more work comes in. I have a theory about that. Basically, it’s that good things come our way when we’re relaxed and are not coming from “need.” So when we’re desperate and anxious for work, we seem to repel that. But when we’re in “all is cool” mode and we just figure we’ll organize our office or revamp our website… the work comes in. I used to complain about this. Now I realize that it’s the way great things are manifested! :)

    Stephan – That’s a BRILLIANT idea! Yes, why not come up with something that’s easy to say “yes” to? A loss leader of sorts that gets you in the door again, gets the dialogue going and increases the chances of an upsell to something bigger in the fall. Everyone wins in that scenario.

    TheAl – Sounds like you live where I live! I’m in “Hotlanta”… and it’s been unbearably hot this June! Sangria anyone???

  6. says

    Great advice! It’s hard to stay focused with so much unstructured time floating around, but reading this article will certainly help. Thanks for the ideas!

  7. says

    I just finished painting and remodeling my basement office area, which also doubles as my son’s gaming room. I spend the summer listening to him yell at his video games with his friends. I just LOVE that I get to be at home with him and know where he is and what he’s doing. He was a GREAT help with the room and takes pride in showing it off. He’s 15 this summer, so we’re also sharing adventures in driving. Now that this work is finished, things seem to be picking up for my business and there are lots of opportunities to chase down. I have also taken this time to do lots of additional networking and working with partners.

  8. says

    Summer’s ended for us here in the Philippines so I’m sure we’ll be experiencing a lot of slow downs with work. I think I’ll take tip #2, 4, 5, and 8. ;)

  9. says

    I like to go out more at night. The weather is better and beach is so beautiful. Nothing like relaxing with a glass of wine and some good music at a local restaurant.

  10. says

    this article was awesome. with the summer already here, i feel i will have time to do a lot of stuff. my desk is a huge mess, stacked with books and old magazines, so i’m going to take the downtime to clean up and reorganize myself. i am also going to reorganize my workflow. i think that taking the time to learn new things is also crucial. if you don’t know something about a certain part of design, then pick up a book and read about it or take a class if you have the time. thank you for this. i always find good reads on your site.

  11. says

    Nice tips for sure…at times its gets frustrating when u dont have much work at present…this article has come at the right time

  12. says

    This summer, I’m slowly cleaning out my bookshelf and closets for clothes and books to give away and I’m trying to plan some weekend trips with friends for fun. I love the summer and I try not to take it for granted.

  13. says

    I try and clean my work-space at least once a week so that I can keep productive (the cleaner the better). It’s refreshing when you’re comfortable in your work environment.

    Recently I launched my own info product similar to Darren’s 31 Days to Build A Better Blog. So far, it’s going great and I love the format and interaction with folks. It’s much different than the one-on-one webinars that I’ve been accustomed to but like I said, it’s been going great so far.

  14. says

    Do freelancing. One of the advantages of a freelancing lifesyle is the flexibility, the ability to turn down projects and set your own schedule. Vacations represent all that’s good and bad about being a freelancer. On the one hand, you’re free to go away whenever you like, without asking the permission of a reluctant boss or desperately trying to squeeze a short break into the few days left of your allowance. On the other hand, you’re never completely free of your professional responsibilities, even when you’re on the other side of the world.

    Affordable hotels in Ibiza,Spain | Holiday in Spain | Hotels in Spain | Visit Holiday in Spain Blog

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