Being a freelance designer (Web Design, UI/UX, Graphic, Logo) gives us flexible working hours. Therefore, being smart in managing our time is important not only in our project delivery schedule but also in leisure time. If you are the type of person who keeps raising the bar, of course, you want to stay productive in your leisure time, especially in an off-season. Before we jump to what we can do, first thing first: we need to determine the goal. Sharpening your skill, improving your personal brand, or simply doing something for fun. Here are some ideas that you can use to stay productive in leisure time:

#1 Make Freebie
You probably are already familiar with this idea. The aim of this idea is to let people know who you are and test out your work. Since most people are happy with free items, this option puts less pressure on you as a designer. Of course, you would still need to put quality works for people to download it. Freebie can also be a good idea to earn pennies. You can monetize your freebie site by ads. Check out my freebie site madefordesigners.

#2 Sell Your Goods/Items in Marketplaces
Instead of giving out your work as freebies, You can try selling them in marketplaces such as :creativemarket, graphicrivers, themeforest or your personal website. To sell your goods, you need to make sure everything is well designed. You have to spice up with quality and uniqueness.

#3 Join Crowdsourcing Design Contest
When I started my freelance career, I used to participate in a design contest in 99Designs (My Account). Some people might think this is not worth your time and energy 

because you need to submit your work first. The client does not necessarily want our work. Sometimes they reject it without any feedback, even cancelling the contest. Regardless, this platform can help us get new clients, sharpen our design and communication skill with clients. In the end, if your work got rejected, you can slightly modify and share it as a freebie.

#4 

A Project That You Can Share Daily
This year, I would like to start something that I can share daily. I want to experiment on user interface design and share it daily. I haven’t started yet. I keep putting it off because of ongoing projects. You will need a strong commitment to doing this. Don’t forget to keep it small and effortless?. The aim of the project is to sharpen my design skill, moreover to characterize your work. For inspiration of daily project, you can visit iconaday.

#5 Reading
Reading is important. You don’t need to pick a long read. what you need is articles or posts related to your niche. Dig out some new information/knowledge which can support your job. I believe without reading, sooner or later you will be a caveman.

#6 Writing
I have just started writing this year, so there’s nothing much that I can share for this point. The reason why we should start writing is to improve our personal brand. Our posts reflect who we are. Sometimes, clients put personality into consideration. You can set up your own blog or perhaps medium can be a good start.

#7 Your Own App Idea
Do you have a fresh or crazy idea for a new app? Why don’t you start it? Before starting your app idea, it’s better to find partners that can help you do the part that you can’t do. Of course, being a single fighter is still an option. But, if you need partners but can’t find anyone to get on board, you might want to check assembly. It’s a global community for those who has an 

interest in building tech product. It simply connects you with others to help your app idea. For more app ideas, you might visit these useful websites: ideaswatch and producthunt

#8 Redesign Challenge
Redesign challenge is not something new. We can find many people post their concepts and mockups for existing apps on Dribbble, Behance and Medium. I do agree with Evan Dinsmore the purpose of redesign challenge is not to criticize existing designs because we never know what internal factors behind of design decisions of every product. By doing redesign challenge, it can improve your creativity and problem solving skill. If you are okay with sharing the result, it can be a good medium for clients to know the way you think.

Last but not least is rest. Be lazy and enjoy your unproductive days. You can go out and meet friends, watch your favourite TV series all day or even lie on the bed. Just take a productive time for a break. Then, when you come back to work, you become more refreshed and excited.

source: thomasbudiman medium