You will hear a lot of designers talking about fear of the blank page – the idea that the hardest part is simply starting. I don’t usually have trouble with that – but after a few years of freelancing, I’ve decided my “blank page” is January.
To many people, January is a clean slate – an opportunity to start fresh and plan a new strategy for the year. It is exciting and exhilarating.
For me, January is one of the hardest months to power through.
While it is true that it is a fresh start, there is something undeniably nerve-racking about knowing we’ve started a new fiscal year. In December, we celebrate achieving our financial and business goals, but in January, the counter resets to 0.
Also, for many businesses, myself included, January is a slow time. Everyone is getting back from their holiday break, and getting back into the swing of things. So while instant gratification would be comforting, the reality is, we’re more likely to see slow but steady growth.
Add to all that the chilling cold that forces us indoors, and you have a recipe for some serious over-thinking.
So, what can we do to stop the January blues from setting in when fear gets the better of us?
Work on personal projects.
Use January as a time to work on marketing efforts, websites and other personal business projects that become second priority when work is busy. If you can get a stockpile of content together, it will be ready to roll out when things DO pick up again. In addition, if you keep your mind busy, you have less time to worry.
Arrange lunches and happy hours, touch base with current and former clients, and basically, make yourself visible. Not only does staying busy and interacting help your day-to-day attitude, but it also ensures that if a project opportunity does surface, you will be top of mind.
Reframe your mindset.
For tax purposes, your fiscal year may be January 1 – but maybe it would help to reframe it in your mind as July 1. This will allow you to see 6 months of successful income already in play in January. While nothing ACTUALLY changes, reframing your mindset may help to combat the anxiety that a blank slate can cause.
How do YOU combat “blank page” anxiety?