Initially when the Covid-19 Pandemic hit the United States I was unsure how to properly manage all this unexpected free time. I have been unemployed before due to living the life of a freelancer.  While I have learned a few things along the way I am still trying to refine my process for being productive. Whether there is a pandemic or not, the idea of being out of work for a week, month or many months can be a very real thing that freelancers will need to grapple with.

Below I have come up with 10 ideas to stay productive when out of work or in between gigs.

  1. Create a routine. Take a day each week to plan out your upcoming week. Consider setting aside 30 minutes every Sunday to plan out your week’s schedule. Don’t feel like you need to plan everything, but schedule as many meetings, calls and errands as you can. If you don’t have anything coming on the horizon then perhaps consider discovering some new classes/workshops or training to be a part of.
  2. Get Exercise. Consider going on short walks in your neighborhood or trails nearby, practicing yoga at home or even going to the gym a few times a week. Maintaining a steady habit of exercise will help you to reduce stress and stay healthy.
  3. Learn something. If you haven’t subscribed to Masterclass I highly recommend it. Not only do they have numerous film/tv courses…you can also learn about topics such as cooking, fashion, wine etc…
  4. Take a trip somewhere. Make an effort to plan a mini trip once a month. These trips don’t have to be expensive, however they can help break up the monotony of everything and maintain your sanity. Ideas might include: camping, staycation at a hotel, road trip or visiting friends and family.
  5. Tidy your space. Take a room in your apt/house each week using the Kon Mari method and slowly take control of your “stuff”.
  6. Create something. Create a list of possible projects and dive in head first. Maybe you want to write a screenplay, book or begin painting.
  7. Work on yourself. Maybe you need to see a doctor, therapist, psychiatrist or [insert specialist] for something you may be dealing with that needs professional help.
  8. Remodel your space. Take an inventory of every room in your house of what the current needs/wants are and how it can be improved. Maybe you need a new rug or lamp for the living room?  Create a list and slowly tackle that list as you see fit. Don’t limit yourself to amazon.com…..perhaps you can save $$$ by visiting local estate sales, thrift stores and good wills to hunt for various items.
  9. Read new and interesting fiction and non-fiction books. I recently finished reading the book Deep Work by Cal Newport and it has really helped me think about the way I approach my work in general.
  10. Volunteer or Give Back. Consider looking for an organization that you can help out and donate your time.
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