Ah, the winter slowdown. Without fail, this is one of my favorite times of the year—and not just because I love the sparkle of holiday lights, or the warmth of family togetherness. It’s because it’s that glorious time where everyone is finally backing off their emails, slowing down their hustle, and taking the time to enjoy a bit of down time. Which, all on its own is an important piece of the holiday slowdown. But if you plan it just right, this can actually be one of your most productive times of the year.
Think about it—with everyone else going quiet, it gives you time to properly focus on growing your career, rather than rushing just to maintain it. So get out your calendar, your journal, and your favorite pen, because we’re about to dive into how to make the most of this winter slowdown.
Plain and simple, this is what the holiday slowdown is for.
It’s a time to jumpstart your career, plan your heart out, and get excited about all of the amazing, inspiring, career-changing things that can be yours this year.
To do that, you’ll want to brainstorm the things you need to do but can’t quite catch up on, as well as the things you want to do but never have the time for, (more on that later) and make a plan to tackle them all. Depending on how much you want to get through, it may benefit you to sit down and plan out which day is devoted to which tasks.
Plan for the Future
When planning for your future, the first thing you want to make sure you’ve nailed down what exactly you’re working towards. It can be easy to set arbitrary goals like “I want to be famous” or “I want to sign to a label”, but if you don’t actually think about why you want the things you want, or what the feeling you’re after is, it’s going to be hard to work diligently towards it.
Once you know that, put together a list of manageable goals for the New Year. Try to keep this at 2-3 goals max. The more concise you are, the more focused your methods will be. Ask yourself what it is you’re planning for and then start writing it down and mapping it out. This might start with you identifying 1-2 goals for the year, and then working backwards to figure out what you need to do each month to make those dreams a reality.
Research Something You’ve Always Wanted to Learn
The holiday slowdown is the perfect time to learn a new skill, such as PR, booking, graphic design, or just tightening up that live performance. The internet is a great place to start, but don’t forget about those in-person connections too. There’s a lot of value in identifying someone who has more experience in an area than you do, and offering to buy them a coffee and pick their brain for an hour. Plus, people tend to be a lot more giving of their time than you might think, so this is actually a pretty doable task assuming you’re not reaching out to the CEO of a major label. While it’s great to get a chat in with a few industry professionals (and you should), don’t forget about other artists in your scene. Find a few bands who are a couple steps ahead of you in their journey and get some insight into their process.
Of course, the holidays can be a little hit or miss—people may be traveling (which could actually work in your favor) or just not have time in their schedule to meet up, but you can still start that process over the break to set something up in the New Year. Take this time to get all your preparations squared away so that come the New Year it’s as simple as following through.
Create months worth of content
When you have a few hours (or days or weeks) of downtime, it’s the perfect opportunity to get ahead by preparing content months in advance. This can be writing out newsletter or blog posts, creating graphics to use on social media, show flyers, or just brainstorming creative ways to increase fan engagement. Use this time to get ahead on your content, and you’ll seriously reduce your stress and overwhelm once things are back in full swing in the New Year.
Plan a tour
If you’re planning a Spring/Summer tour, this is about the time you want to start getting your ducks in a row anyway, so you might as well use the slowdown as a chance to get familiar with your routing, research the different cities/venues/demographics, and begin putting all these details into a solid plan. You’ll be allowing yourself plenty of lead time to work out all the details, as well as open up your venue options, because of your proactive planning.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.