It’s a steamy summer day, and even the phone is too lethargic to bother. It steadfastly refuses to ring. The inbox is infested with crickets. You’ve done friendly check-ins with the usual suspects, and nobody seems to need any work done this week.
What’s a hard-working investigator to do?
When there are no billable hours to be had, how about doing all those things you’ve promised to do or put off until things slow down?
Things, in a word, have slowed down. Here are a few ideas for how to fill those scorching, unpaid hours productively—and to help you work more efficiently when the phone starts ringing again.
1. Do a little continuing education.
Sure, your hours aren’t technically due until the end of November. But what if clients are beating down the door next fall, and you’ve got to turn them away so you can take all your required online courses at the last possible minute?
Get some of it done now, when you won’t have to make painful choices between billable hours and continuing ed. For that matter, you may even enjoy the courses a little bit more when you’re not having to rush through them just to re-up your license in time. It’ll feel more like learning, less like jumping through hoops if you’re not quite so pressed for time.
2. Write an article.
You’ve been meaning to post something on your company blog or write a story for an industry magazine, but you just haven’t found the time.
You get that writing articles can help establish you as an expert in your field and get clients in the door. But there’s that pesky cost-benefit analysis running through your head all the time: bill hours vs. write articles…and billing usually wins.
When there’s nobody to bill, it’s time to start writing. Is there an ethical issue in the investigations field that’s been nagging at you? Have you found a better way of doing things that might benefit your esteemed colleagues? Put pen to paper…and send your brilliant writings to the managing editor at your favorite magazine for professional investigators.
3. Overhaul your office.
You fully intend to reorganize your file drawers, move your digital storage to the cloud, or implement a new project management system…as soon as you have a day to kill.
Turns out, you currently have a day to kill.
If you spend some time streamlining your physical and virtual workspace and updating the way you manage files and projects, you’ll work all the more efficiently when business speeds up.
Because, as you know, it always does.
Now that you’ve spent a few slow business days productively—getting organized and ahead of the game—it’s time for a little guilt-free leisure. After all, when there are clients to serve (and hours to bill), you’re always saying no to yourself…and to your friends and family.
Why not say “yes” to yourself today? Throw frisbee with the kids at the beach, ask your favorite person out on a dinner date, or take yourself fishing. And while you’re there, don’t think about work.
Of course you love your job. But ultimately, we’re all working so we can have the lives we want, aren’t we? The hard part is reminding ourselves to leave the office and actually enjoy enjoyment, without taking guilt along for the ride.
Business is slow this week, but life moves fast, today and always. Live a little.