I want to share with you how I try to get the most out of a slow season in life and work. I used to dread the winter time after the holidays were over. Okay, to be honest, I still dread March and April. That is when I’m beyond anxious for spring to arrive and it still feels so far away.
I’ve come to really look forward to January and the down time I get to refresh and renew. Work is slower for me and I like to keep it that way. Now I’m not saying I have nothing to do, I just really limit the amount of work I take on so that I can work on the back end of my business. My personal life is quieter as well. We slow down and I can spend the month cleaning up the busy season and trying to establish new good habits to take us into the new year.
We all have seasons in life. Some are faster paced with a full calendar and others are slower with more white space. If January is not your white space month, you can still do these things in your season of refreshing.
Busy lives on top of the holidays can really leave our home life in a state of chaos. The heavy season has us so busy that we basically feel like we let things slide in order to make it through the day. I LOVE getting my home life in order. When it is not, it makes is hard for all of us to function well. I like when my home feels peaceful and comforting. Here are a few things I do my best to tackle at home. Note: I prefer the ‘tackle one room at a time’ method.
- Basement – Christmas decorations come down some time in January. So I like to clean out and reorganize the basement before filling it with Christmas. Find out donation times and get rid of anything you don’t want anymore.
- Bedroom – I make my way through all of the bedrooms including closets and dressers. I do things Marie Kondo style and I’m very honest about what can stay and go. We do her folding method, but there are seasons when I don’t bother. It definitely is a space saver, so if you are limited on space, check it out. I do not start another bedroom until one is fully complete. This includes a thorough cleaning.
- Office – I am saying office, but I really mean personal clerical and computer things. I make sure all personal photos are backed up and print what needs to be printed. I set up new calendars for the year and try to assess my year for times that I need to block off for personal trips or dates. I assess our family command center and see if anything needs to be adjusted for the new year.
- Linen Closets – This is always so low on the priority list. I pull everything out and start over. This is also a helpful way to be reminded where things are. 😉
- Listen to Podcasts/read/take a class. This is a great time for me to learn and grow. This goes with work life too. While my brain isn’t so bogged down with tasks and other stresses of the busy season, I have time to think.
Now I know not everyone is a small business owner. So these won’t benefit everyone. Not all of these will be applicable to your type of business. But these are things I do, nonetheless, and wanted to share just in case. I spend the majority of my year prioritizing client needs: answering emails, shooting, editing and order processing. There is so much more to my work beyond that, but much of it gets pushed aside or is basically done to be done. I am one person and have a hard time saying no. So I definitely find myself in survival mode at times. Here are some things I like to do for my business in the season of refreshing.
- Update my availability. Since I make my own hours and determine how much I can work, it’s important to identify how much time I have to give to my business. Due to the fact that we do not have family to help us with our children, I have to be sure I have the time I need for them set first. I’ve created a spreadsheet that has all of my available hours for each month and as I book client work, I take time out of it. I make sure all of these numbers are up to date for the new year.
- Update website. This is a great time to make any changes to your website. I don’t do this every year (as I should), but I do the very basic updates if nothing else. I would recommend really diving into your website in the off season though. Update as much as you can. No need to scrap and start fresh, unless it’s part of your plan for the new year.
- Try to set plans to do better. I like to review the trouble areas from the past year. What was I not doing well? What worked great? What do I want to do differently? I use this slow season to practice and try out some new routines or systems. Many I learn from listening to podcasts and such. I test the waters on what may work for me and try to set myself up for success. Every year I add 1-3 things to my system. Some are great and they stick with me, others I let go.
- Taxes. Yes, this is the season I get all of the things done for taxes.
- Clean and reorganize. I like to clean and organize my home office and studio. I restock anything that is out or running low.
And that is how I get the most out of a slow season. I know none of this was Earth shattering information. I hope you don’t feel like you wasted your time reading through (if you are still here). If nothing else, maybe you already do this stuff and this is validation that you are on it. Although, I don’t feel “on it”. I didn’t want to dive too much more into any specific area and make this wordier than it needed to be. If you do want more information on how I do any of these things, leave a comment. I’d also love to hear about things you do in the off season.
I can’t end without saying to GIVE YOURSELF GRACE! Do all that you can and remember you can’t control life. If you cannot get to everything, so be it. It’s okay.