Everyone has a slow season if they are a freelancer. The time of the year that this occurs for you depends on what area of the world you work, what your seasonal high for contracts is and your live entertainment speciality, but there’s always a time where you have a few weeks’ downtime to re-group, rest and prepare for the next season.
Here are 10 ideas to make the most of your downtime.
1. Step away from the work.
Rest. It’s been a busy year; you need it. Start the next year refreshed, not exhausted.
2. Get some exercise.
…that’s not just running cables. If it’s cold on your side of the planet, wrap up appropriately and remind yourself what weather feels like. If it’s warm, sit in the sun and take the fluorescent edge off your studio tan. Take up a class for a few weeks, go for some long walks, pull that yoga mat out of your closet.
3. Eat Well.
Now that things are slow, take some time to cook and eat fresh healthy food. Do some research on quick and easy meals to prepare or healthy snacks to take on the run. Prepare yourself for the next busy season by practising and trying out different “quick” meals so you can keep this routine once you get busy again.
4. Be an audience member.
Watch a play, see your favourite band, take in a film without trying to analyse the convolution reverb. Take your sound ears or your lighting eyes off for a bit and remember what it feels like to just enjoy a great piece of art. Take some friends, be a general member of the public.
5. Do a career stocktake.
Look back at the work you’ve done this year. Which projects took you closer to your career goals? Which ones took you further away from your goals? Which were a side-step? Use this to figure out what kind of work you want to do more and less. Maybe you’ll find it’s time for a brand new set of goals altogether.
6. Have a bit of a tidy-up.
The quiet season is a perfect time to do the tedious but essential maintenance that you put off when you were busy with tours and projects. Software upgrades, backups and archiving, PAT tests, clean-ups, and clear-outs. Start the new year with something resembling a tidy studio/working space and a clean system.
7. Get educated.
Dust off that online course, podcast series or webinar that you never quite got around to watching. Time spent investing in your skills is never time wasted.
8. Polish up your portfolio.
If it’s been a while since you updated your CV or your showreel isn’t showcasing your very best work, you’ll need a refresh. If you’re planning to target a different area of the industry, or a different country, in the new year, make sure you have a portfolio that’s tailored accordingly. Refresh your LinkedIn profile. Get a new headshot. Make sure your online presence is an accurate representation of your work and you.
9. Say thank you.
If you have a mentor, remarkable colleague or someone who’s given you a great opportunity this year, this is a perfect time to say thank you and tell them how much you value their support. It’s simple, it doesn’t have to cost much (or anything), and it will be appreciated.
10. Indulge in some celebrations.
Reflect on your achievements and take a moment to acknowledge what you’ve learned and created. You’ve done good work, and you deserve to celebrate it. Call up some friends that aren’t in the industry and take some time to connect. A glass of seasonal refreshment recommended.
Article by Sound Girl: Kirsty Gillmore
Published in cooperation with Soundgirls.org
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