An unexpectedly quiet week

Here are a couple of snippets from conversations I had with a client last week …

Me: Can you help me prioritise the tasks I need to do this week? I know I need to do a, b, c, d, e, f, g, and possibly h, but I’m not sure which are most urgent.
Client: Sure. Please do c, f, e, h, a, b, d, then g. If you finish those, do i, j and k.

Me: I think I’ve nearly finished. Can that be right?
Client: I think so. Have a good weekend.

Having worked flat out on this project for a couple of months, it seemed incredible that I’d been so engrossed in meeting the deadlines of last week that I’d totally failed to notice that everything would be off my desk this week. So imagine my surprise when I sat down on Monday morning and realised that I don’t actually have anything pressing to do this week. I have a new project coming in towards the end of the month, and some further stages of the busy project to oversee in the next few weeks, but for now the pressure seems to be off for a few days.

What a relief. Or is it? As someone who likes to be busy, I always find it a bit odd when I have a (fortunately rare) bit of down time. When I first became a freelancer, someone who’d been at it for some time told me to make the most of the quiet times because there won’t be many of them. She was right, but I find it very difficult to step away from my desk when I’m so used to being there. I think that’s probably a hangover from working in-house when you’re expected to be at your desk from 9 til 5. Seven years of being my own boss haven’t fixed that quite yet.

Having said that, I have been quite productive in other ways and it’s only Tuesday. Here’s how I’m using my quiet time …

  • I’ve published an eBook for ELT Teacher 2 Writer. ELT T2W is one of my other hats. Anyone who has ever published a book on Smashwords will know how time-consuming it can be to meet all of their formatting criteria for inclusion in their Premium catalogue. Amazon is much more straightforward, but having a chunk of time to devote to getting this done is time well spent. On publication day there’s always more activity on our social media so it’s also good to be able to follow up on that as it happens.
  • I’ve spent some quiet time doing some reading for ELT T2W. It’s great to be able to focus without emails and Skype messages coming in all the time.
  • I’ve written a guest blog post for the Indian Copyeditors Forum and this blog post, which was totally unplanned.
  • I’ve read the latest members’ magazine and had a mosey round the forums on the Society for Editors and Proofreaders’ (SfEP) website, having just become a member.
  • I’ve thought about installing Adobe DC on my desktop PC. I might actually get round to doing it tomorrow but I’m not feeling brave enough just yet.
  • I’ve updated the Recommendations page on my website and my LinkedIn profile.
  • I’ve had a wardrobe clearout and taken six bags of stuff to the charity shop. Some stuff I hadn’t worn since I worked in-house in 2008. Ridiculous.
  • I’ve arranged to have lunch with a friend on Friday. Can the quiet time last until then? I hope so!

How do you spend your time when you don’t have much paid work on?

charity shop stuff cropped

3 thoughts on “An unexpectedly quiet week

  1. Reblogged this on trish burrow elt and commented:
    Insights from Karen White of White Ink Limited on how to productively fill rare downtime. I had some downtime in January and caught up on my paperwork for my next tax return. I then treated myself to a Friday yoga class and then watched Oklahoma on DVD in the afternoon. The perfect end to what started out as a slightly unnerving week.


  2. Oh yes, me too, having quiet week and trying not to be twitchy about it! One of the reasons is it’s so quiet is that I’ve only got one project on the go and the person I’m doing it for seems to have mysteriously disappeared. I think he’s in Japan … or possibly Thailand, but I wish he’d mentioned it and hope he comes back soon … I’m making most of down-time by overhauling my website – which I’ve been meaning to do for about 18 months – my Linked-in profile, etc – and contacting publishers, etc. for getting more work in for the future. Not my favourite occupations, but good to have time to do them. Installing Adobe DC is a good tip, though. I did have it, perforce, because the older version crashed and I didn’t have any choice but to start getting my head round it (to a lesser extent).It got de-installed when I had my laptop serviced, and in the normal run of things, I would probably only reinstall it next time I get an Adobe mark-up job. It I do it now, think how smug I’ll feel . This is just possible, but thinking about next year’s tax return is the kind of virtue I’m just not quite capable of! Looking forward to a good bit of networking at MaWSIG to blow away the cobwebs!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to White Ink Limited Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s