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Making Headway on a Slow Day: 9 Ways to Turn Down-Time into Productivity Time
If you work from home, you know the kind of day I mean. You made the calls. You revised those drafts. You sent out the emails. Where is everybody!? As much as you used to relish a slow day when you were corporate, it's a little different when you're playing boss to yourself. Your mind gets to wandering. Should I head out to the park? Should I hit the mall? Should I... file for unemployment?
For a freelance writer, designer or web marketer who works from home, a day without contact from the outside world can bring on anything from sluggishness and inertia to a panic attack. Such fun games the mind will play when the two of you are left alone for long periods of time! But here's a little secret about slow days. They're the perfect opportunity to catch up on everything that went out of your head the minute the phone stopped ringing.
How do you remember what it is you were supposed to be doing before it became unimportant? Think back to the last time you were swamped! Chances are, your mind was in overdrive, firing off ideas about how you could be improving your business. Were you mulling over a couple of articles? Pipedreaming a new web marketing strategy with an online buddy? Wishing you had remembered to meta-tag every page of your website?
A slow day is your big chance to get cracking on those little plans that will lead to big business for your company. Do you make lists of things that never get accomplished? Today's the day you'll be filling that goal notebook with checkmarks! Here are some tips on how to make headway on a slow day.
1. Learn a new program. Remember last month when you bought "HTML for Dummies" and then tossed it into your closet? Now's the time to drag that book out of hiding. Remember that free software you installed along with your scanner? Take the tutorial. A day that's free of interruption is the perfect day to pick up a few new technical pointers. Mastering some new programs can save you a huge headache when push comes to shove and you're struggling with that last-minute project.
2. Organize your workspace. Isn't it about time you stopped using the floor as your file cabinet? And STOP depending on your email for phone numbers; you'll be sorry the day the server goes down and you can't get in touch with your biggest client! Invest in some hanging file folders and a Rolodex--so you'll have easy access to contact information, project notes, contracts and such. Stock up on printer cartridges and paper so you don't run out in the middle of an important project. Hang a wall calendar and start using it. There are so many small things you can do to get organized and increase your productivity!
3. Write an article. Experiencing freelancer frustration with nowhere to vent? Had a recent eye-opener while doing work for a client? Being an independent contractor means something new every day. Whether it's a challenge, a victory or a pitfall, everything you come away with is a valuable lesson to be learned. Why not share your knowledge with the world? There are thousands of websites looking for content. Many give you a byline, and some will even pay you! What a great way to make the most of your experiences... and get your name out there in print.
4. Do some research. Ever have a conversation with a colleague, and "not really know what they're talking about?" Say they mention 'viral marketing'- well, you've heard the term, sure, but what does it mean, really? "AdSense articles... what is that?" you wonder. Down time is the perfect time to get informed and updated! Do a Google search on all those mysterious buzzwords you've been hearing. Go through your old emails and catch up on reading. Surf around; bookmark some good sites. You'll be pleasantly surprised at what you learn in just a few hours!
5. Join a Network. Web networking's the way to go... use your "free day" to make some new contacts and maybe even a few friends. Participate in a forum discussion where you can share your knowledge as well as learn from others! If you're already part of a network, take this time to reconnect with people who might become future clients or business associates. When you least expect it, they'll come out of hiding with an exciting work proposition... maybe even on your next "slow day!"
6. Update your website. There is nothing more unprofessional than a website that's only half-built, or not up-to-date. Still have Christmas imagery bedecking your homepage in March? Get rid of it! Thought about raising your hourly rate but never got around to doing it? Now's the time! Whether it's adding portfolio samples, improving the general design, adding legalese or putting together a Testimonials page from satisfied clients, chances are there's something that can be done to improve your website and increase your credibility!
7. Buy a present for your business. Got a stash of cash in your PayPal account? Invest a little of it in the future of your business. Join a freelance website with a good reputation. Take a 2-day course in something you've always wanted to know more about. Gifts that will broaden your professional horizons and ultimately increase sales are money well spent!
8. Learn how to become a Website Affiliate. Build business relationships, get exposure, share information and get paid for it! Affiliate Programs are usually free to join, and with a few clicks of the mouse, you can supplement your income simply by driving traffic to other people's websites. How's that for easy cash?
9. Create a Company Newsletter. If you don't already have one, downtime is your chance to build a contact list and put together a company newsletter. With a little investigation you'll discover that many websites offer free trial periods where you can learn to use their contact base and newsletter-template software. And there are tons of sites on the web that offer free articles that you can print in your publication. Maybe you can even make use of those articles you wrote the last time nothing was going on!
Now, what are you waiting for? You've only got half-a-slow-day left to get going on these projects. Happy Freelancing!
Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. Use with permission.
Dina Giolitto is a New-Jersey based Copywriting Consultant with nine years' industry experience. Her current focus is web content and web marketing for a multitude of products and services although the bulk of her experience lies in retail for big-name companies like Toys"R"Us. Visit http://www.wordfeeder.com for rates and samples.
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5 Result-Getting Time Management Tips
How often have you tried to manage your time in more productive ways, and found the process to be difficult and confusing? Perhaps you simply gave up on the idea. As one friend said, "Time management takes too much time!"These tips will simplify time management with five important steps that can bring remarkable changes.
Work, Work, Work: Making Each Moment Count
Time, time, time. It seems there is never enough of this precious life support.
First Things Last
Years ago clients would tell me they could not identify their priorities. Now I hear them saying 'I know what my priorities are?I just can't get to them'.
Time is Money?
Not 1 in 10 people can tell you where money comes from, what it is and what it is good for, let alone how and why we get it.The most common error that most people make is to equate money with wealth.
Time Management Basics
"At my back I always hear time's winged chariot hurrying near."Time management begins with the realization that without some thought and planning, we are likely to waste a great deal of time in the future and have already wasted a huge amount of our life span in the past.
Shifting Priorities Are The Norm
Years ago when I started in this business, it seemed many clients had difficulty identifying their priorities. This isn't as true today as it was then.
Time and Life, Bit by Bit
Looking out through my picture window during a recent winter storm, I felt like I was in a giant snow globe. Big, fluffy snowflakes were falling, covering everything with a nice wintry blanket.
Time Management: A Non-Renewable Resource
Benjamin Franklin wrote: "If you want to enjoy one of the greatest luxuries in life, the luxury of having enough time, time to rest, time to think things through, time to get things done and know you have done them to the best of your ability, remember, there is only one way. Take enough time to think and plan things in the order of their importance.
How to Define a Successful Time Management Strategy
One of the most challenging aspect in life is time management. In the current fast changing environment, time management is very important in both your personal and official life.
What Are You Thinking?
What would be your reaction if someone said to you "In the next 24 hours you will be given $10,000 for every chair you sell like the one you are sitting on right now?"How many time management issues will you have? How hard will it be to set priorities for your day? How long would you wait before contacting your first prospect? How much time would you waist chatting on the phone or exchanging emails with friends? Probably will not take the time to be staring out the window or watching the grass grow!Seriously, in that situation would time management be an issue for you? How much of your 24 hour time frame would you spend sitting on that chair instead of talking to people about it? The excitement of getting lots of $10,000 checks would probably motivate you to see as many people as humanly possible in the next 24 hours, right? Most, if not all, of your time management problems would be resolved immediately!Think about this little example, and you will discover the key to success in many areas of your life -- time management, selling, managing, self motivation. One single ingredient determines the success or failure of just about anything you pursue in life.
How Can I Get Some Time to Myself?
"I never seem to have any time for myself. What can I do?"When my two year old followed me to the toilet today I had very similar thought to yours.
6 Time Management Tips for Moms
Many of you have expressed the challenge of not having enough time to accomplish all your needed tasks and not being organized. Having good organization and management skills is absolutely imperative to your business.
Six Foundational Reasons for Managing Your Time
Most of us know how to manage our time. It is pretty simple really.
Four Steps To Make Your Day Dynamic!
There are two ways to start your day. The first is to dive in; tackling whatever is in front of you.
9 Business Time Management Skills You Need To Succeed
Do you have plenty to do, but don't have enough time to do it all in? These days it appears there is a mad scramble to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.As a business owner, there will be times that you feel overwhelmed with tasks you want to accomplish, but seem to never have enough time to complete everything.
More Time Wanted? Deal with Your Time-wasters Now!
Ever feel that you spend too much time shoring up the performance of some of your people? More time with one or two than with some of the others.And doesn't that just drain you? So think about those employees and how they are draining you and damaging the energy you have.
Do You Over Promise and Under Deliver?
A new client recently admitted to me sheepishly that she often didn't get to complete a client's work until the client called to see if it was ready. I admired her honesty if not her time management skills.
Organize Your Time
Most people want to start a home-based business to make more money to supplement their income. The issue though, is finding the time to make this happen.
Organization Tips That Add More Hours To Your Day
One of the most common complaints that small business owners have is lack of time. What most don't realize, however is that their lack of time stems from a lack of organization.
It's Not The Same Old Routine
We are constantly inundated with routine (often boring!) tasks around the house. This can cause major frustration because many of us don't do them efficiently, and most of us fail to complete our entire list of chores! You may take comfort in comment from a commiserating colleague: "A creative mind always has more ideas than the physical body is able to carry out.
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