People are trying to make the best out of these strange times, aren’t we? We’re busy baking bread, learning something new, and spending time with families. 

You might find yourself with even more time on your hands as the conferences you were to attend this year have been canceled. You’ve got these giant empty blocks in your schedule now that you’re not used to. 

If you’re an entrepreneur or solopreneur, here are a few ways you can use them to emerge from this time stronger and more prepared for the future of your business. 

1. Take Some Time for You

We’ve all seen the stories and stats of how founders and entrepreneurs work 100 hour weeks and how solopreneurs are burning out because they’ve got to be everything for their business. But with your conference now canceled, you’ve got several full days where you can focus on you. 

  • Slow down by meditating or practicing mindfulness with an app like Calm or Headspace. Go out to a park or green space for some forest bathing to recharge in nature.
  • Change your scenery with a virtual tour of The Museum of Flight, Yellowstone National Park, the Louvre in Paris, or even the planet Mars with a 360 tour with NASA’s Curiosity rover. 
  • Do an activity that takes a long time, such as a puzzle or make a recipe that has 10+ steps and takes all day to cook or bake. Luxuriate in these activities because you don’t have to rush off to something else afterward. 
  • Wake up every morning without your alarm. There’s something freeing about letting your body do its thing. We’re so regimented and scheduled these days that we forget what it’s like not to have to be somewhere or do something. 

2. Take Care of Your Body

Busy people neglect their bodies, whether they skip the gym or eat a meal of the leftover food in the company kitchen. Now’s the time you can undo all the damage you’ve been doing as you’ve been growing your business.

If physical activity is your thing, get out for walks or runs while still following physical distancing rules, of course. Take an online dance or yoga class. Whatever you do, just start moving.  

Revamp your eating habits by exploring recipes that use the ingredients you have in the pantry. Explore new recipes with some celebrity chefs who are publishing short videos on social media that you can do yourself. 

3. Think About Strategic Projects

The time you’d have spent at your now-canceled conference would’ve grown your business, and you can do the same now. Consider all the initiatives you always want to work on, but never get to. Sort them into two categories: doable and impossible. 

  1. Throw away the impossible projects that wouldn’t work for you, whatever the reason. 
  2. Prioritize the rest based on how they’d impact your business and how involved they are to implement.

By thinking about these projects, you’ll have a better idea of how to grow your business and the work involved to get there. And you won’t be pressured to work on any of it right now. Use this time to plan without pressure.

4. Get Caught Up On Your Industry

Read up on the developments that happened in your industry while you were focused on growth. Catch up by:

  • Reading industry-specific blogs and articles.
  • Subscribing to market email newsletters.
  • Asking your network what books they’re reading.
  • Watching any webinar replays you were too busy to attend previously. 

5. Plan for Your Business Future

Conferences are great for opening our minds to new ideas and perspectives we might’ve only thought of briefly. Now that you’ve got the time, use it to do the same thing.

Think of all the future scenarios and possibilities for your business. Brainstorm with your team or other appropriate stakeholders. Consider the following:

  • If this crisis lasts for more than a year, what would you do for your business and why?
  • What other outside elements could harm your business? 
  • How can you protect your business from those events?
  • Are there any opportunities you can leverage right now that’ll help you 3-, 6-, or 12- months from now? 
  • How can you use this downtime to invest in your employees’ capabilities and skills? (or your own, if you’re a solopreneur.)

Focus more on the administrative side of your business rather than the strategic growth areas. These are vital parts of your business that you don’t always get to devote as much time as it needs. Use this time to do that now. Spend a few whole days thinking about it and creating some processes that you’ll need to cover in the future. 

Things Will Get Better

Life will eventually get better. It will change, but you’ll be able to get back to some semblance of normalcy. However, your business will need to be different to function in that new environment. You’ll be happy that you used this time to take care of yourself and your business so you can continue to grow sustainably.