Five Things to Do with Unexpected Time on Your Hands

We all know about corona virus and its impact on public events around the world. In recent times a global event like this is unprecedented with most public events cancelled, people self-isolating and staying away from social gatherings to stop the spread of the disease.

Whilst this action makes perfect sense, it is seeing many creatives, technicians and engineers who work at these events as freelancers facing an uncertain financial future until hopefully we see a decline of CV cases and a return to some normality.

Lots of freelancers are now finding themselves back at home with an unexpected amount of free time which might be a tiny silver lining on an otherwise very dark cloud. Time is precious but it’s very easy to let that slip away by feeling sorry for ourselves. Perhaps this is a great opportunity to use this time constructively and add to our knowledge or experience to make us even better prospects for when we’re all back at it and this global episode has been forgotten. Here’s five things to use that new-found free time constructively:

One: Research
For many in the creative industries, technology is usually at the heart of what we do all day and every day. We have a great understanding of what we’re using now but tech advances and new equipment and techniques are constantly emerging. It goes with the territory that we have to keep on top of these new things as sooner or later they’re going to find their way in to our workflow.
Creatives tend to be very smart people who keep an eye on tech but we don’t always have the time to get in to the nitty-gritty and prepare ourselves to keep on top of things. Here then we have the perfect opportunity to do just that.

I expect most people already have a good idea about the subjects they're interested in and want to gain a better understanding about it. Time then to find start diving in to the corners of the Internet we know and love to find the articles we need, researching those things we know we don’t know. Good research leads to good understanding.

Two: Learn
Once we’ve found the things to learn about, it’s time to sit down and do some reading, listen to a podcast or watch a video. Everyone takes on knowledge in different ways but whichever experience you prefer the absorbsion of the information is the hard part. It’s easy to read, listen or watch but are we really taking it in? Having this time available allows us to take it slow and go back to topics we didn’t grasp the first time around. A little technique I like to use is to see if I can recap most of what on what I’ve just learned and if I can’t then I go back and start that topic again. This approach is always easier when we have the time to do it.

How about being inspired by what others are doing with their craft? Look at the work of those people whose work you admire and learn from what they've done, how they did it, why they did it. How could their experience better our? This doesn't just have to be about creatives, we can look at others like engineers, technicians, filmmakers, directors, sound engineers, camera ops and may others who work behind the scenes. They've all got a professional story to tell from which we may learn a lot. To get started why not take a look at our interviews with industry professionals? You can follow the link here.

Three: Learn Something Really New
So far we’ve concentrated on extending our knowledge in areas we already understand but what about learning something completely new? If you’re a visual person how about learning photography or to shoot video or paint? Drawing perhaps? What about learning a musical instrument? Go further and learn real hands-on crafts that immerse you physically like pottery? Go in to the garden and create a vegetable patch? These things don’t have to be creative, they could be usefu skills around the house such as DIY. Now is the time to get in to those things we’ve thought about but always put off because, you know, time and all that.

Four: Practice
Makes perfect. Nobody becomes an expert without first practicing and you know what practice takes, yes, time. We’re all guilty of procrastinating at some time (but actually I find people who work in the creative industries have a lot of get-up-and-go and usually know what it takes to make things happen), but here’s the perfect time to get on and hone those skills.

Five: Personal Projects
Personal projects are those things we dream about doing but put off because who has the time? Well now’s the time. Anything that we can immerse ourselves in to has the potential to give us a new found energy to create something we’re passionate about.
Creating something like this also has the benefit of enhancing our professional lives as new work in a different more personal style may appeal to new clients.

Because of the way things are panning out just now we might not be able to make the most of this little bit of time but we're creative people, we should find a way to make the best of a bad situation. The corona virus problem is serious but doing positive things as a result of it may well help us cope with all that’s happening. If we can come out of this creatively better than we went in then we’ve made a little difference no matter how small. Of course these five suggestions are a drop in the ocean of what can be done with our time so please feel free to add any creative (be kind people!) ideas in the comments below. Lets grab that silver lining.

Stay safe, healthy look our for the vulnerable and good luck to everyone as you deal with CV in your own own way. Here’s hoping some kind of normality returns soon.

Article Date - 15th March 2020
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