The holidays are finally over, daily routines are back to what counts as "normal" in your home, and, even though vacation was nice, it's time to get back to work.
The problem: It seems like no one else feels that way. That query you sent out before Thanksgiving: Crickets. The prospect who promised to work with you the beginning of the year: Nada. That job you applied for that is due to be filled in January: Shouldn't they be interviewing by now?
Don't worry, this "priority timeline mismatch" - when you are ready to move forward on something that is not in the same stage for the other person - happens all the time. It just has more of an impact this time of year, since we are itching to get back into the swing of things. Freelancers, who've had more downtime than they'd like the last few weeks, feel it even more.
In a follow-up to last month's post on Surviving December, here are 10 things you can do to stay happy, productive, and less stressed in January, while you are waiting for others to catch up.
1. Write out your goals for the year. You may have done this already, but if not, write out three professional and three personal goals for the year. Then, when you are looking for something to pass the time, pick an action item you can do that will bring you closer to achieving one of those goals.
2. Organize your workspace. When was the last time you cleaned your deck? Purged your files? Archived old clients and projects? No time like the beginning of teh year to give yourself a fresh start.
3. Read through your "to read" file. Whether it's in a physical file or on a computer, everyone has a pile of articles set aside to read later when they have time. You have time now, so take advantage of it.
4. Write a book. National Novel Writing Month may be in November, but no one says it's the only month of the year for that type of challenge. You have the time, why not go for it? And it's much easier on the psyche than waiting around for someone to reply to a pitch or other request.
5. Reconnect. Send an email or a message to someone - or someones - with whom you've lost touch. Have a phone call, meet for coffee, go to events. Occupy yourself by expanding your network. You never know where your next connection may lead.
6. Research publications. Is one of your goals to start writing for a new publication this year? Do some research and come up with a list of places to target in the new year.
7. Write some pitches. You've done you research (see above), so you might as well.
These last three were on the December list, although framed a different way.
8. Eat healthy. This means cook more and snack less. Cooking is one of the best ways to combine creativity and meditation. And the reward is yummy food you made yourself.
9. Workout at least twice a week. Don't let your resolution to workout fall by the wayside in week two of the year, as so many people do. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy, and as a result can commit to, and schedule time to do it on a regular basis.
10. Read a book. Cross off the goal of reading a book in 2019 early. You may even get on a roll and start reading a book a month or a week. Continuing education - whether it's non-fiction for self-improvement or fiction for "research" - is always a good thing.
It's okay to have downtime. Just be sure to enjoy you, since you'll be super-busy again before you know it!
How will you survive January? Please share your recommendations in the comments.
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The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group. She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.