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Five ways to make your "famine" periods useful and pleasant

'Relaxing @ Chesapeake Bay...St Michaels' photo (c) 2009, Lola Audu - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
I know freelancers normally hate those times when they have little or no work. Especially if they are just beginning their career. But on the other hand, living constantly in a hectic rhythm isn't good for us. Moreover, those "famine" periods can even be useful for us and our businesses! Let me show you some things that I do when I am not overloaded with work. Maybe this list will give you an idea about things you can do! And if you have something to share, please do!
So,here's how I've learned to use my "famine" periods:

1.  I relax, take walks, read for pleasure, sleep longer, spend more time with my family etc. Basically, I think it's a chance to relax, so I do try to treat myself to different things that often stay neglected while I am super-busy. Then by the time another "feast" period starts I feel rested and strong enough to handle it. I often try to do something special for my family. It can be a special dish, or it may be an evening spent in the cinema, or something else. Just about anything that is not part of our daily routine.

2. It's an ideal time to work on my blogs and schedule posts so they get published later, when my "feast" time starts.

3. It's also a perfect time to work on my other projects. If you listened to my interview with Joy Mo you would hear her speak about income diversification. So if you have other projects to work on, the best time to do them is a "famine" period because then you can be fully concentrated on the project rather than the pressing deadlines.

4. I market my business. (I know I am not original, but hey, it works!) I work on my blogs to make sure that the search engines don't forget about me; I network a lot and look for new opportunities.

5. This is also the time when I learn a lot. I read other blogs and books, save some of them for future reference and do my best to learn something new that will help me to become a better freelance translator, networker and marketer.

How do you spend your "famine" periods? I am looking forward to your comments :)

Comments

  1. Interesting as usual, Olga!

    I would add the following to that list:
    ♦ Maintenance work
    • TM maintenance
    • Terminology research and maintenance
    • "Decrapify" your PC:
    → Get rid of obsolete software you no longer use
    → Defragment your hard disk(s) (unless you are using SSD of course)
    → If you use a desktop PC, open the case and remove any dust - you can be sure there will be huge amounts of it
    → Make complete virus, trojan, spyware and malware checks. Since these tend to take a lot of time, now is the right moment, since it won't be too disturbing since you don't have urgent projects to deliver.
    ♦ Research
    • Look for new tools and test them, you might come across some ways to increase your productivity or quality
    • Catch up with reading useful sources about your chosen translation domain
    ♦ Networking
    • When having time on your hands any interesting trade shows or conferences related to your specialisation might be worth a visit
    • The same goes for translation/localisation conferences you might otherwise have to skip due to high workload

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Raphael! Thank you so much for your useful comment! You actually reminded me that I need to run a virus/malware check. I am starting another big project soon, so now is the best time to do it. Good point about networking, too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What an excellent post Olga! I have recently rediscovered the pleasure of researching and working on my CPD during famine periods. I also work on other projects and network with other people (compensates for the periods of isolation at feast time).
    I agree with you: famine periods can be a blessing for our businesses. We are definitely more creative then as we have our eyes wide open and not just focused on getting the work done.
    Really enjoyed the post, keep them coming!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Ewa, thanks for your valuable feedback. I miss our chats on Twitter. Seems like our schedules are too different. But I surely love to read your posts and glad that you are still reading mine :)

    ReplyDelete

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