Part of being a web designer means learning how to deal with extreme situations. Some days can be insanely-busy, stress-filled work marathons. Clients need your help, things are breaking – you know the drill. These types of days make you wonder how you’ll ever get through all the obstacles in your way.
Yet you may encounter days or weeks where things are extremely quiet. At first, you may be thankful for some downtime. But it doesn’t take long until your mind starts racing again, impatiently waiting for something to do. This can be just as maddening as when you’re super busy.
The difference is that slower times present you with a terrific opportunity. It’s a time when you can do something productive (or not) and recharge your spirit. You can also use it to get ready for the inevitable deluge that is always lurking around the corner.
Here are a few things you can do to make the most of a slowdown.
Sharpen Your Skills
When life is hectic, the quest for self-improvement often takes a back seat. But even a little bit of free time provides a chance to work on boosting your skills.
Depending on what you want to learn, you may only need to dedicate a few hours. You can even spread them out over time.
For example, let’s say you want to take an online course to learn the latest CSS layout techniques. You could break it up into bite-sized chunks – say, 15 minutes a day. It may require a few weeks to complete the course. But the reward is that you’ll manage to learn something new without feeling overwhelmed.
The fun part is that it doesn’t matter what subject you choose. Ideally, it would be something that helps you in your daily work. But the process of learning helps to keep your brain occupied and will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Get Creative by Starting a Side Project
A side project can be a great place to apply those new skills. Plus, it can be a fun respite from the daily grind.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to go all-in with a new venture. You can pick and choose how seriously you want to take things.
The project can run the gamut in terms of size and time requirements. It could be a full-fledged web application that will turn the world upside down. Or it might be a little Figma UI that you never share with another soul.
The beauty is in creating something that you’re passionate about. And it’s a chance to experiment with different tools and techniques. This can stir your creativity and renew your enthusiasm.
Take Stock of Your Business
The hustle of running a design business leaves little room for looking at the bigger picture. Thus, this could be the right time to examine where you are and where you want to be.
To start, study your current clients. See who’s paid and who hasn’t. You might also review their websites. There’s a chance you’ll find opportunities for a redesign or beneficial new features.
Quite often, clients are thinking of these very same things. However, they may have placed it on the back burner. By being proactive, you might convince them to act – and boost your revenue at the same time.
It’s also worthwhile to perform an analysis of your workflow. This will allow you to address common roadblocks that make it harder to get things done. It might be an opportunity to test out a new tool or just a different way of working.
There are plenty of other areas to explore. Everything from the types of projects you’re working on to the services you offer. Both you and your business can benefit from this type of review.
Get Out of the Office
One of the most common traps for business owners is trying to make every moment productive. Sure, it can be effective during the work day. However, there’s also the danger of giving yourself a case of burnout.
Therefore, it’s important to take advantage of downtime. Use it to do something fun and relaxing – and do so without feeling guilty.
Take a trip, anywhere. It doesn’t have to be far away. You don’t even have to leave town. But spending some time away from your office can do wonders.
As much as we may love our jobs, work can still take up a disproportionate amount of our lives. There’s a great benefit to adding some balance.
Time Is a Gift: Use It Wisely
The one thing we don’t seem to have enough of is time. That’s why a slow period at work can be such a great gift. It affords us a chance to do some things that we might not otherwise do.
So, the next time you find yourself with a clear schedule, take it as an opportunity. Learn something, practice your skills, improve your business, or take a well-deserved break.
Regardless of what you do, make sure you take advantage of that extra time. You never know when the next opportunity will come.