When work is quiet: Calling freelancers, consultants, + the self-employed

It’s been a quiet month. Or worse, a quiet couple of months.

You love what you do and wouldn’t return to apron-strings-employment for all the Gin in England. But, the truth of the matter is you don’t find quiet times easy:

  • It’s hard to stay positive. When work is short it can be hard to imagine things ever being busy. In fact it can get downright dark. I say this not to be dramatic but because it’s true and I want to be real.
  • It can be difficult to stay motivated. Without the structure of projects and meetings the days can drag and even the most diligent and disciplined person can find it impossible to get even the most basic of tasks completed.
  • You sense you’re wasting time. Why is it so hard to be efficient and productive when things are quiet. Why can’t you make more of your down time. Why is this such a slog!

photo-1458400411386-5ae465c4e57eThe hard truth of the matter is that quiet times are inevitable.

Some things are unavoidable. Even for the busiest and most successful of the self employed, life and work is cyclical. Ebbs follow flows. Winter follows Autumn. Quiet times happen. But just because quiet times happen it doesn’t mean times have to be quiet! After all it’s not what happens so much as how you deal with it.

It’s how you deal with the quiet that matters.

What’s MUCH more important than things being quiet is how you stand up to the quiet. Let’s call it your approach. Which is what I want to share with you here.

I recently had a conversation with someone about this very topic. And I loved the outcome of what we discussed. Here is the essence:  

Quiet at work? Here’s how to change it around.

The thing about quiet times is that work gets stagnant – quickly. Which is totally the opposite of the kind of environment that floats your boat. You need newness, shinyness, variety, excitement and possibility. Here’s 3 ways to realign work with your values and inject some extraordinary into those quiet-between-projects days.

  • Remind yourself of the purpose of your work, the real down and dirty essence of why you do what you do. Stay with this for a bit (call it reflection, call it journaling – whatever works). What comes up for you? Perhaps it’s a project you’re wanting to play with, someone else’s project you want to be involved with, or something else. In this quiet period how can you honour your purpose and make progress?
  • Who do you want to meet? In all the quietness it’s easy to slip into a state of unintentional passivity. Waiting for the next opportunity to land on your doorstep. You don’t mean to, it’s not how you normally are, it just happens. And it’s time to WAKE UP. This quiet period you find yourself in is a blessing. It’s a chance to re-group and make some really exciting new connections. So think about who you have been wanting to meet with and take this opportunity to take LinkedIn to task and get an introduction. In this quiet period who do you want to meet?
  • What do you want to grow / learn / or cultivate? In self-employment leveraging time to invest in your own development and skills can be challenging. And here you have a free pass to all the time in the world. In this quiet period how do you want to grow?

wggjjgn4_ck-angela-benitoMore than all of this though I challenge you to a re-frame (a new perspective). This isn’t a dry period. This isn’t a time to be survived. This is a gift. And it’s a space that’s on it’s knees and begging to be paired with some shiny, exciting, seedling of an idea.

Over to you.

So I challenge you, fellow self-employed friend, quiet times happen, times don’t have to be quiet. What will you create?

PS: 

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    Copyright ©Joey Clifton 2014 | Website Design by Lisa McLoughlin Art

    © Joey Clifton 2014-15 | Website Design by Lisa McLoughlin Art