When do you find time to do all those “one-day” ideas on your list? I’ve found that downtime or offseason is a GREAT time for these—as long as you think they’re also fun!
We talk a lot over here about taking time to rest or take that sabbatical—and enjoy your downtime.
But some of us (looking at you, wedding industry people!) also have chunks of slower seasons during the year. I experienced this as a calligrapher, but even see it a bit right around the holidays .. and now, I’m over here on maternity leave embracing offseason with a gigantic bear hug.
How can you steward that time well?
Here’s what I’ve been doing. But before I jump in, the freebie I have for you with this video correlates with tip 6—stick around to hear that tip, but click here and grab your guide!
Okay—watch the video & grab the notes below for the fun to-do’s I’ve been tackling so you can productively plan for your offseason, too.
Idea No. 1: Build out a reading list.
It’s no secret I love to read—but do you ever feel bombarded with book recommendations?
Or—like me—collect a HUGE stack of to be read books?
Me: all I want for Christmas is some books to read!
Unread books on my nightstand: wow
Me: … new books
Library holds: Wow
Me: … that I can access any time
Unruly Kindle book hoard: WOW
— Meredith Ireland (@MeredithIreland) December 20, 2018
One thing I knew I wanted to do is build out my 2019 reading list. Let me know below if you’d like to see how I do that in detail, but basically, decide how many books you want to read in a year, cut that in half, and try to pick books that adhere to your goals for that number.
Also, order them in advance if you can: hop on Amazon, place the order, and keep the stack somewhere you’ll see it as motivation.
YES, this means it will likely help to have a topically organized list of recommendations from trusted sources, but this is how I pick what to read in a year. Otherwise, I get so bombarded with ideas … or, I’d end up reading 5 books about a single topic … when I need to pepper in ideas for other goals.
Idea 2: KonMari your office, digital files, and social media accounts
You’ve heard about Marie Kondo, yeah? Many of us have read the Magic Art of Tidying Up, but trimming your office physical and digital space down to just the things that bring you joy is SO catharticc. Watch the TV show or read the book if you haven’t, but see if you can apply these to the people you follow, emails you subscribe to, etc.
I even cleaned out my Pinterest boards, which was a little much, but hey … maternity leave beckons random tasks at random hours. It felt great. 🙂
Set up a recurring note to do it again, or do it once a year. Emily Ley’s Simplicity challenge she runs every January is my mental trigger to do this, but I also like that in the front of her Simplified Planner, there’s a note with all 31 days.
Idea No. 3: Organize your photos
This is one of my favorites—one of my big personal and family goals is to make sure we can enjoy our memories! I’ve spent time this maternity leave working on my baby’s baby book, but also finishing up our family album for last year.
The BEST resource I have for this is a tool from my friend Nancy Ray. I’m not an affiliate or anything—I’ve given these links to SO many people! She has a free workshop about it on YouTube here, and she’s also got an ebook that tells you her system. It’s the best organizational system for your pics—digitally and physically!
Idea 4 :Create an educational plan
Just like a reading plan, I’ve taken some time this maternity leave to think about any courses I bought and didn’t finish, but also ones that may help me inch towards goals.
Some are business related, but don’t forget to have some personal ones on your list, too!
For example, I have always wanted to take some theology classes and thought seminary sounded fun—obviously, that’s not in the cards, but Gospel Coalition has some free courses I can take.
I ‘m listening to some art history and composer snippets too on the Cultivating Life with Sally membership website I love so much, and don’t forget hands-on classes that would encourage your creativity, like an art class … or even like the tea class my local coffee shop is offering!
Idea No. 5: Freshen up old copy
Back to business with this one—an off season can be a great time to tackle a messaging revamp and revisit any old funnels, email sequences, or pages of your website.
Don’t pick something that’s going to earthquake your business or anything, but maybe your welcome sequence needs a revamp because you need to add a few new blogs and resources you’ve created, or maybe you need to weave in some new testimonials to your website.
Idea No. 6: Tweak your client process
Finally, clean up your client process. This is a big one my team and I are looking at during this slight off season, and I think it’s important. Client inquiry and onboarding processes work great until they don’t! 🙂
You may be experiencing more volume and have to figure out what a wait list looks like, or you may have a waitlist so long that now you need to figure out how to handle that.
Another thing that may need some CPR? Your CRM. Do you need to clean it up, delete old inquiries, read through all your templates again, or freshen up your client magazines with new imagery?
Some of you may have heard me say this before, but I think it’s so important to open that incognito window and go through your entire client inquiry process as a pretend person to see any broken bits along the way.
Et voila! Don’t forget to scoop up that welcome magazine copy swipe and I want to hear from you down in the comments—what’s one thing on your project list that you could tackle during the next slow season, sabbatical, extended leave, or just carve out time on a Friday to do?