We at the twago magazine are delighted to welcome a guest author contribution for freelancer and all-round writing guru Candace Nicholson. Candace, is a freelance writer and editor based out of Indianapolis, where she runs her content creation studio Incandescere. When she’s not penning white papers, marketing copy or music reviews, she’s pursuing her first love of the performing arts. You can find her buzzing about the web on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
Let’s face it. We all procrastinate. Even the most hardworking, tenacious freelancer with razor-sharp focus feels the pangs of fatigue from time to time.
Sometimes, the procrastination hits at the end of a large and complex assignment. We want to shake off the stress that just went out the door with our last invoice. Or worse, it happens at the beginning of a project. The client accepted our bid and it’s time to show what we can do, but a hyperactive mind and Naruto reruns distract us from our duties.
I say that not all procrastination has to be bad. As a matter of fact, you can make procrastination work for you and your business without feeling the least bit of guilt. So here are 5 activities that can make procrastinating work for you and your freelance business.
1. Update permissions or tag photos for Creative Commons use
Whether you use other artists’ images or you offer up your own for fair use, remember that it’s a courtesy that requires due diligence. If you’re borrowing photos for your website, provide a link to the original artist’s website or Flickr page. Even if the creator of the image has a standard attribution, share-alike policy, it’s always nice to send him or her a quick message or email letting them know where to find their work online.
If you’re sharing your photos with the world, make sure you have your latest and greatest marked with the proper copyright information. That way, if anyone stops by to borrow any of your images, the message will be displayed loud and clear.
2. Add projects to your online portfolio
If you’re anything like me, assignments tend to flow in peaks and troughs. When deadlines are looming, I don’t give my portfolio a second thought. But when work is sparse, I also don’t give my portfolio a second thought because I’m scurrying to find work and follow-up with potential clients.
As a result, my portfolio (online and hard copy) looks dated and ignored. If you find yourself procrastinating after turning in that last big project, why not take the time to copy, paste, crop, summarize and publish a new piece into your online portfolio? After all the work you put into the assignment, a quick 20-minute addition to your marketing showcase is simply the cherry on top.
3. Recommend a fellow freelancer on LinkedIn
Despite LinkedIn’s proven staying power and phenomenal growth, some freelancers have been slow to embrace it. While it’s easy to treat the website like an online CV storage database, you’d be amazed at how it opens doors to new clients and networking possibilities.
One way to appreciate LinkedIn’s full potential is by completing your online profile, which includes receiving recommendations from past clients, colleagues and fellow freelancers. And what better way to receive a recommendation than to give a recommendation! Shining a light on your friends and colleagues builds on the communal aspect of social media and it also provides a link back to your profile and website.
4. Tweak coding issues on your website
You’ve been meaning to fix that sitemap in your footer for ages. You said you’d add a search box to the home page a month ago. Your sidebar has far too many add-ons and widgets and streamlining it would give your pages a much cleaner layout. – A simple code tweak might be just what the doctor ordered.
You don’t want to get bogged down in lengthy lines of endless code, but a little nip here, a little tuck there in your 15-20 minutes of “downtime” will ensure your website becomes a stronger representation of your talent.
5. Update your filing system
It may sound dull but tending to your filing system and archives in short 15-minute bursts can be the best way to tackle a growing mound of paperwork in your inbox. Remember, electronic files can become just as unruly as their real world counterparts.
Got emails unlabeled in your inbox? Have research on a prospective client lingering on your desktop? Or have unedited pieces of audio, video or code lingering in a work-in-progress file? Now’s the time to put everything in its place. It may feel like housework but it’s really you maintaining a successful business like the savvy freelancer you are.
In the end, procrastination can be an ugly word if you let it get you down. We all have our moments of weakness and distraction. There will be times when you have no choice but to buckle down, concentrate and deliver on your obligations. However, if you’re mindful of your strengths and know how to channel your energy, you can make procrastination work for you.