With the approach of the festive season comes a gradual slowing down of studio life.

Festive lunches and celebrations send usually busy clients AWOL and if you haven’t been briefed now, you probably won’t be until 2016.

Whether the person in charge, a freelancer of employee, you’re about to be faced with two options for your December down time.

One, hit the pub and start those celebrations early. Or, use the time to take stock and gently prepare yourself for a creative new year.

Here’s my tips for making the most of a quiet studio.

Kick off 2016 with that self initiated project you never get round to doing.
Everyone sends a christmas card. No matter how tasteful designed, they all end up in the bin come January 5th. Instead, why not plan a 2016 calendar or wall planner – you know, something prospective clients will need and end up looking for the entire next year.

Tidy up!
You know that 8MB file on your desktop called ‘FinalamendfinalJan2011’? Bin it.

Devote a day to backing up and trashing unnecessary work. Revert back to that studio-wide filing system you fought for last year and wrestle back control of your hard drive.

Review the year.
Go right back to January and take a long hard look at your money, productivity levels and general attitude throughout the year. This isn’t just a financial review, although that stuff is important. Personally, I find a good trawl of the blog (which acts as our studio’s journal) plus project management software (in our case, Basecamp) is a great way of analysing our annual attitude to identify potential spikes and lulls in our future productivity.

Start your new year’s resolution early.
It takes 21 days to form a habit. Why wait until January when you’ve got a month of down-time to get a head start. You may want to start a blog or learn a new skill. It may be to hit the gym every lunchtime. Seriously, start now, January you will thank you.