I just experienced something that all recent freelancers dread, but will inevitably face. A lean couple of months – or more accurately, a primary contract coming to end a little unexpectedly….just before Christmas. Not everyone will be so unfortunate at to experience this kind of situation over the Christmas and New Year holiday, but what can we do when the projects temporarily dry up?

Housekeeping

How’s the paperwork? Are all receipts, invoices and accounts in order and up-to-date? If you’re a little behind on these, this is a task that can easily swallow a day or two of your time. This time invested now will save hours and headaches come the end of the financial year. You know how much you like the clients that keep everything in order, the ones that don’t bug you for passwords week in week out or constantly ask ‘how do I….?’ when you’ve provided notes, screencasts etc? Tap into your inner schizophrenic and imagine you bugging yourself for receipts, invoices, renewal notices, to-dos…

Upskilling

There’s always new things to learn – how about delving into a new programming language (ArnoldC anyone?) One of my previous posts discussed learning resources, so I won’t go over those again. Keep an eye on any releases of libraries or changes to plugins, payment gateway protocols or any new trends in design and layout. Maybe start a side project – but make it manageable (Sam Lu’s excellent 100 days of Swift is a great example of using a side project to upskill – and one that is broken into daily achievements).

Go away

That’s right – after all this, give yourself a break. Go out for a walk, ride or run – visit the park you drive past every day, have a tea or coffee in a cafe you’ve never been in before (if you’re anything like me, these will be the ones with no wifi – free or otherwise).