Today one of my clients told me that they were winding down for Christmas. Lucky them, I thought. Five weeks to go and they’re already winding down. I mean, we haven’t even had Black Friday yet. (I for one can’t wait to watch the news that night to see what people are punching each other in the face for at 5am at the local electrics store for a dodgy Blaupunkt telly.)
Oh, and no – the client in question wasn’t just letting me down gently because they don’t like me anymore, if that’s what you’re wondering. I know this because we’ve already scheduled a shed load of work for January. And the client in question is Dave (hi if you’re reading this, Dave!) whom I’ve known for about 15 years, so he’d most likely tell me over a beer if something was up. Plus he’s getting married (congratulations if you’re reading this, Dave!) and got a mega honeymoon to the southern hemisphere planned.
To be honest, though, I was actually slightly pleased that Dave told me there might not be much to do between now and January (thanks if you’re reading this, Dave!) Because the reality is that I’ve had so much on my plate recently that a lot of things have had to be put onto what’s known as the back burner. And most of the stuff on said back burner is dreary beyond belief. But if you’re anything like me, then the same might ring true for you too.
So with that in mind, here are the top five things I’m going to do while things are a bit quiet. You never know, it might give you the proverbial Santa-size boot up the backside that you need to do the same (you’re welcome – especially if you’re reading this and you happen to be called Dave!)
1. Get on with your tax return
There are few things that kill life’s libido more than filling in your tax return – or even sending all your receipts and your spreadsheet to your accountant, if you have one, so that they can do it. But the deadline of 31st January will come round the corner horribly quickly and you might as well get ahead of the game now. Plus your accountant will thank you for it. The poor things do have lives in January too, you know. Even accountants called Dave.
2. Get some more clients
If things are going so well that you constantly have a lot of work, then well done you. But what if that work does suddenly dry up? Put some feelers out, get some irons in the fire and do all those other metaphorical things that all basically mean “find more work”. Even the most loyal clients can suddenly stop providing you with that steady flow you’re used to for any number of reasons, regardless of how much they love you. (Hi again if you’re still reading, Dave!) So get networking.
3. Remind your old clients you exist
It’s much easier to get an old client to use you again than a new one to try you out for the first time. Well, as long as they’re happy with your work (right, Dave?!) So make sure you nurture those relationships and keep them on your Christmas card list.
4. Tidy your desk, you messy thing!
See that picture above? That is the right-hand side of my desk. Do you know what that is? It’s ALL filing. OK, so it’s not all vital filing, but it’s filing nonetheless. From bank statements to conference receipts (for my accountant – see point one), it all needs to go into the right folder. Thus far I haven’t had time and I’ve resorted to the famous “move things around my desk into various piles” approach. Deal with it. Now.
5. Take a walk
Your inbox is showing 568 unread messages, right? OK, so minus 300 of those for Groupon, airport parking deals, Time Out newsletters and more Groupon – you’ve got 268 unread messages. Let me tell you this: you will NEVER be at “inbox-zero”. Feel free to tackle it if it’s raining, but if it’s not, then get up out of your chair and go for a nice walk. Especially if it’s a weekday. There is something rather special about ambling around town, latte in hand, knowing that everybody is busy but you. Enjoy it. You’ve earned it. After all, nobody ever lay on their deathbed and said, “I wish I’d worked more”. I mean, look at Dave…
Ashley is a copywriter, blogger and editor