Slow Season? 10 Great Ways to Use a Gift of Time

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Every solopreneur has downtime. Whether you are an independent contractor, a freelancer, self-employed, or some other sort of small business, you have times that are less busy than others. We all do. You can use this time to fret and worry that your entrepreneurial life has come to an end—or you can view it as a gift of time to do some of those things you’ve been telling yourself you’ll do when you have time. If this is your slow season, use the gift of time.

It  just makes sense, it seems to me, to spend this time wisely and well. Here are a few possibilities.

You can use this time to worry or you can view it as a gift

1. Review and revise your support system. 
Is it time to hire a virtual assistant? Find a new tax accountant? Get expert advice?

Unless you’re willing to settle for the first person that comes along (and we all have had times when we’ve done that and regretted it later), this is a perfect opportunity to clarify what you need from various service providers and make certain that you’re getting it.

If you are ready to add to your support team, start interviewing potential sources of support.

2. Simplify, simplify.
Been meaning to clean out your closets and pass things along to a charity shop? Get your office in shipshape? These are time-consuming tasks that aren’t very glamorous, but the psychic rewards are huge.

Get out some trash bags, put on some upbeat music and have at it. Get rid of the junk in the junk drawer. Weed your library. Update your filing system. Clean out your inbox. It’s as liberating as losing twenty pounds.

3. Boost your wellness.
Use this extra time to walk or workout. Get a massage or facial. Read up on nutrition. Experiment with new healthier foods that take time to prepare. Start meditating again. Plan a stress reduction program. Work these things into your schedule now and you’re more apt to keep up with them when your busier times return.

4. Volunteer.
Pass your gift of time along to someone else by helping out. Why not volunteer at your kids’ school or at a local food bank or shelter? You could even instigate a project of your own and get your friends involved.

If you live in a major metro area in the US and are needing ideas, go to which lists a wide variety of projects in search of help.

5. Learn something new.
Build some brain cells with a class or seminar. Add to your computer skills, start learning a new language, take up salsa dancing. Use this time to saturate yourself in a new subject that catches your fancy.

6. Finish things.
Okay, not everyone has unfinished projects gathering dust, but chances are there’s an article you started writing or a home improvement project that got bogged down and abandoned because it didn’t seem urgent.

Imagine if all these loose ends were tied up before you plunge back into your business. It would feel great, wouldn’t it?

7. Take a mini-sabbatical.
Got a stack of books you’ve been wanting to read? Been meaning to visit a historic site in a nearby state?  Need to refresh your creative spirit? Plan some purposeful time away.

Borrow a friend’s cottage. Rent a motor home. Don’t check your messages. A change of scenery may be just what you need to recharge your batteries and come up with some fresh insights.

8. Invest sweat equity in a long-term project.
Been putting something off because it will require lots of hours to get to completion? This could be the time to start putting in those hours to get it launched. Since most of us flourish when working on new projects, getting started has the added bonus of re-energizing other more familiar things.

9. Dine with the self-employed.
Invite four or five other positive self-employed people to share food and ideas with each other. Make sure that everyone gets equal time and that all ideas get a hearing. Guests go home with an inventory of potential  ideas which they can evaluate later.

10. Expand your visibility.
Write a press release. Have a new photo taken. Start an blog. Get yourself interviewed on a local radio show. Revamp your website. All this seed planting takes time and is easy to overlook when you’re busy. Why not do it now and see what doors might open?

Barbara J. Winter is a California-based writer and speaker who always gets a gift of time in July and August.

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