This week I became painfully aware of one of the drawbacks of becoming a freelance hermit.
I took two days off and went to a gig – it was great (well, apart from being surrounded by 7 foot 6 humans who blocked my view for 90% of the time) – and came home with what I can only describe as ‘the dreaded lurgy.’
I haven’t had a streaming cold for ages; normally I manage to avoid built-up areas and the ills associated with social entities. My theatrical family are different, we like to share but rarely infect each other with anything more than really bad coffee.
But as they say in my other life, the show must go on. How do you deal with work when you are feeling really sorry for yourself and the world doesn’t care? (oh, cruel, cruel world). When you are ill, but not so ill that it’s irresponsible to work on your business?
By turning away from the brain work and turning to your social media and paperwork instead, that’s how!
Here are my five top tips for working through a sick day:
- Go and check out all your professional listings.
This morning I fell down a social media black hole – I realised that one of my listings was out of date, so I went to change it. Then I joined another site, and created a new profile. Then realised one of the photos on another site was outdated (I had my lovely ‘pre-stress fall out’ long, dark hair, not the post-fall out green) … it had to be changed, so I changed it.
Had I been in fine fettle I wouldn’t have had the time to do this but, feeling pathetic, I have spent all morning sorting this out (three hours so far!).
This is not wasted time. Updating your social and professional profiles while you are ill doesn’t involve much brainwork, however, it is important to keep up-to-date, so you’ve done yourself a favour.
- Brainstorm some blog post ideas.
Honestly, some of my most popular posts have been the product of illness or lack of time. It’s best to have a list of blogging subjects, semi-formed ideas and brain-doodles to hand for when you are stuck – whoever said blogging was easy was lying.
Sitting down with your laptop or a pad and some lovely brightly-coloured pens is not wasting time. Your illness-fuelled brain farts will come back to help you one day when you need a quick idea.
- Make sure your accounts are up-to-date.
Urgh, I know … just urgh. However, although you should be totally up-to-date, if you are not you can use this bleurgh time to get on with it. Check to make sure that your invoices are out and you’ve been paid for the ones you’ve sent. Have a look to see where things can improve and use this knowledge to create an addition to your business plan. It can be painful and tedious, but if your head is already stuffed up you are less likely to feel the pain.
- Go and do some marketing on social media.
You’ve already sorted out your long-neglected professional listings, so use this downtime to go and shout about your swanky new profiles. Get onto Twitter, Facebook and all your favourite social media sites, then talk to people. Let everyone and his dog know that you exist – you’re full of cold but no-one needs to know (unless you write a blog post about it!).
Some of the best social media posts are created when you aren’t selling yourself, so just be yourself and let the world know that it won’t beat you down when it chooses to share its diseases and disasters with you.
Like the butterfly effect, if a freelancer disappears from social media does he cease to exist to the wider world? Be a social butterfly, not a squashed one.
- Down tools.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, sometimes you just have to accept that you are going to get nothing done. Grab that box of tissues, a large mug of something steaming, your favourite boxset and put your feet up. If you’ve worked your way through the four ideas noted above, you should still have time to snuggle up and still feel virtuous.
So that’s what I’m about to do. The profiles have been updated, the accounts are up-to-date and my social media in there on my ipad. Now … time to put my feet up.
*if you want to see my new BookMachine profile, it’s here*