Love them or hate them, quiet times – those times when you wake up and realise that you don’t actually have any commisionable work to do that day – are a part of running any small business.
Sure you can spend the time on growing your company, but realistically sometimes you just don’t feel like working on that new marketing activity or phoning that client who you haven’t heard back from or working on your own website. In times like these it might be less productive to force it, so instead why not try one of these top 5 ‘non-work’ things to do in quiet times:
1) Tidy up
Even though Einstien asked “if a cluttered desk is an indication of a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk represent?” I still find that I work better when my surroundings are tidy. If you work from home this is particularly important. Why not spend a few hours getting your kitchen sparkling, or don some rubber gloves and give the bathroom a good scrubbing.
Or if the sun is shining get outside and clean the car so the next time you’re off out to meet a client at least you don’t need to park around the corner because your car is caked in mud.
Get out of the office, put on some old clothes and go for a jog around the block to work up a sweat. If running’s not your thing, how about a round of golf at that course you’ve always been meaning to play or a swim in the local pool.
If you’ve got a favourite sport go buy yourself a treat like a new tennis racket or a new pair of running shoes and then go try them out. It’s a great feeling and gives you a real boost to play a sport that you love with new equipment, or to pound those pavements in new athletics gear. I’ve often found that my best ideas are ones that come to me when I’m exercising.
3) Spend time with someone you love
As a small business owner you’re not going to be a stranger to long working hours, but one of the reasons you may have gone into business for yourself is to spend more time with your friends and family. So use this quiet period to remind those around you what you look like.
Take your kids out of school for a day and take them on an adventure somewhere, make a packed lunch and take it to your partner at their work, call up a friend and see if they fancy a lazy afternoon in the pub or sit down and write all those family emails you’ve been meaning to send for weeks.
4) Try something new
This one doesn’t have to be work related. How about looking up a recipe for that dish you’ve always wanted to master or giving bread making a go (once you start making your own bread I challenge you to find anything better than that smell of fresh baked bread in your house). How about an online tutorial for a piece of software that you’ve always wanted to try.
Try and end the day knowing that you’ve given something new a shot. You might not master it in one day, but that first step is the most important one of all.
5) Be a kid
If all else fails and you find yourself really demotivated to try any of those, why not go back to being a kid again. Go shoot some mini-golf, take a trip to the local swimming pool and play on the slides, go to the toy shop and buy yourself a new board game and get your friends round for games night, buy yourself a ticket at the local amusement park and go on the rides or head into town and take a walk round the aquarium or science museum. Sometimes it’s a very cleansing exercise to shed that adult skin for a day and let the mind rest.
If you have any of your own ‘non-work’ tips, please post them below. But make the most of your quiet times and enjoy them, there will be plenty of occasions in the future when you’ll be wishing for some more…