How to Deal With Slow Times at Work
In high school, I ran my father’s drop store from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. during the weekdays.
I loved it because I got paid $12 per hour (which was a lot for kid who had no bills to pay) to do my homework since this was the slowest time of the day.
Since before I can remember I’ve never been one to waste time.
Being inefficient drives me crazy. And so I always ensure I have something(s) to work on at all times during “the slow times” – whether that be 15 minutes between meetings or two months between projects.
Consider these nine fruitful ways to spend your slow time.
1. Create and/or Monetize Your Assets
Do you have a course you’ve been dying to make? What about an ebook you’ve been dying to write? Maybe you have loads of professional photographs you shot and own the rights to – why not sell them to a stock photo site?
Depending on your speciality, it’s very likely you have robust mess of assets, like, blog posts, PowerPoint presentations, photography, vectors, etc. Slow time is the perfect time to organize, combine and spice up your oldies but goodies and transform these assets in the rough into passive income.
2. Create and/or Optimize Processes.
Processes don’t limit creativity. Instead, they let you focus on your craft by minimizing administration work. Keep track of each project, conduct exit interviews, and gather great testimonials. – Paul Jarvis
The extra time it takes to document and refine your redundant processes and workflows will be well worth it in the long run. Especially because processes can be repurposed in a multitude of ways.
For instance, you could document your process because you want to outsource this task in the future to a virtual assistant (VA), freelancer or intern. Then you could possibly publish the checklist(s) on your resources’ page or blog so your customers and prospects can utilize it too.
Here’s a few apps that allow you to create reusable processes/checklists:
3. Catch up on Learning.
Earn a living is so last year. The new frontier is “learn a living.”
According to the 2012 Learning Survey by Niace, the adult learning organization, there's a strong correlation between learning and sustained employment.
”Staff who undertake learning activities are more able to adapt to the changing requirements of an organisation and gain a competitive edge in the job market. Candidates who demonstrate that they're conscientious about their personal development are likely to be seen as highly motivated and engaged. Their openness to learning also suggests they're flexible, adaptable and will bring a continuous improvement ethos to the workplace – all of which is appealing to an employer.”
4. Refresh Your Personal Brand and Portfolio.
I usually only do this once per year because it’s very time consuming, but then again, it probably only is such a long process because I only do it annually.
Slow times are great times to conduct a brain dump of everything you’ve done that isn’t listed on your resume or website portfolio and add the projects that make you shine like the superstar that you are.
Test everything on your site, and make sure link and contact forms are working as well.
5. Create a Side Project.
Side projects are the latest and trendiest content marketing growth hacks. Don’t believe me? Then read this post on how one side project saved this startup marketplace.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a good idea, then I suggest scouring the following websites and communities:
6. Create a Marketing Campaign for Yourself.
Here’s a bunch of ideas to get your self-promotional juices flowing:
- Create a Buffer account and create a month’s worth of social media posts.
- Update your email signature.
- Write some blog posts and schedule them for the next week or month or year.
- Create an editorial calendar.
- Register for an account on HARO.
- Join a few Slack groups.
7. Organize Your Computer.
When’s the last time you actually cleaned up your laptop aside from downloading an automatic Mac cleaner app?
Your computer works hard so give it the Spring cleaning it deserves during the slow times.
Computer organization is an in-depth guide in itself, and so I Googled to find a few links to walk you through the process. Here’s my favorite finds.
- Organize Your Data
- OS X Mavericks: Organize your files in the Finder
- Clean & Organize Your Mac In Under 2 Hours
- Cut the Clutter: Mac File Organization and Management for Beginners
8. Say Thank You.
As Mary Kay Ash once said, “Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it to yourself.”
Forget about building PR and influencer lists during this slow period, and start creating a spreadsheet of your most loyal customers, mentors and/or business partners.
Here’s also four other fantastically creative ways to say thank you.
Or Maybe, Just Take a Refreshing Break.
Maybe you need this slow time to prevent you from burn out. If that’s the case then just take a break, and do whatever you want when you want for a day, week or, hell, even two.