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How freelancers can utilise free time

What to do with your free time in lockdown

The current lockdown has put the brakes on many freelancer’s day-to-day activities. But that’s not to say if you find yourself with free time, you can’t do anything productive. In fact, there’s plenty you can still do from the comfort of your own home to ensure you hit the ground running when social distancing rules are eased. In this short guide, we’ll look at how you can use any free time you might have to improve your CV, brush up on your interview skills and network, all without leaving the house…

Update your CV

If this is one of those things which always gets ignored simply because you don’t have the time, now is the perfect opportunity to update and refine your CV. Whether it’s rewriting it entirely or making tweaks to strengthen your outside IR35 status, a concise and well-written CV could prove vital in landing your next client. For some fantastic tips on CV writing, check out our guide explaining how to write a contractor CV.

Use free time to upskill

As a contractor, your skills determine how valuable you are to clients and also have a big say on how much you’re able to charge. Improving your skillset doesn’t have to stop because you can’t leave the house either. Think about signing up to relevant online training courses so that you’re ahead of the game when the lockdown is lifted. You can learn how to keep your contractor skills up to date here.

Refresh your portfolio

Freelancers often like to showcase their past work – and why shouldn’t they? A portfolio is a useful way to demonstrate your talent and experience. It should be a key area of focus when preparing to bounce back after lockdown. However, one mistake people tend to make is using several platforms to host their work, instead of consolidating everything in one easy to access place. With all your work presented on one platform, whether that’s a Squarespace or a WordPress website, perhaps it’s time to consider creating or adding to your expanding portfolio.

Brush up on interview skills

Interviews are all about the preparation. You should never go into an interview with plans to wing it – many people have tried and frankly, most of them fail. Take this time to become familiar with potential interview questions and how you might answer them. You can read up on ways to brush up on your interview skills here.

Stay in touch

In times like these, it’s tempting to switch off from the world and forget about everything. But as a freelancer or contractor, it’s vital that you keep in touch with people. By contacting previous clients or reaching out to new leads, you’ll be well-placed to seize future opportunities. One way to stay in touch is via LinkedIn or, if you’d prefer virtual face-to-face catch-ups, then why not arrange a networking session on Zoom?

Stay mentally active

Just like your body, your brain needs exertion. Look at it this way – running 5 miles a day won’t feel difficult after a while because your body becomes used to it. Stop for a month and try again and you’ll notice it’s become a fair bit trickier. The same goes for your brain. So instead of downing tools, prioritise staying mentally active in your free time. You wouldn’t want to go back to work and feel exhausted, performing well below your usual standards. So, get working on something, even if only to keep your brain engaged for a few hours a day.

Until some sense of normality resumes, it’s well worth trying out some, if not all, of the above in the next few weeks or months. In the meantime, if you know of any tips on how to prepare for life outside of lockdown then do let us know on social media. Or should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re always happy to help.

By Nixon Williams

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