What do you guys do during downtime?

I wish things were always busy. By busy I mean, I’m getting inbound leads, I’m having conversations via email or phone, I’m selling, I’m quoting, I’m fixing stuff on the product.
Then it goes from crazy busy to suddenly quiet.

I just don’t know what to do with the down time. I get super uneasy and anxious. I try to do some content marketing but I make so little progress, it’s hard to see any result very quickly, so I switch to optimizing the web or landing page and then get see how my PPC campaigns are doing and then reading HN or listening to podcast on bootstrapping etc. I feel inefficient and spread thin.

I feel terrible when things are quiet. I have an urge to start cranking out updates and new features on the product but I stop myself, as I only decided to create features that enough paying users request.

I have a terrible habit of playing counterstrike and checking HN and reddit obsessively until I get a phone call or an email and then I have to do some work. I’m on the computer almost 15 hours a day. Basically, I have no life except on weekends I go out with friends but I’m always ready to answer email or live chat on my phone. Some days I just wait around and end up playing games all day.

When I was developing the product it wasn’t like this. Nose down, cranking out code, testing, but I’m doing much much less of that now and trying to meet my personal sales target, marketing (based on what little I know), fixing websites, talking to people.

If you are boostrapping your biz full time what are you doing when you are not talking with leads or busy? Is there anything else I should be doing? Am I going about this the wrong way? Really would love your inputs, especially if you are unemployed and you rely on your bootstrap business.

Everyone’s different, but what I’ve found useful is to try to sort out reasonable working hours for yourself - it doesn’t have to be all at once, just as long as the chunks of time are long enough to get something done, and you don’t let yourself do anything other than work during that time. Then find something else to work on to fill that time - you sound like a coder at heart, so if you can’t find ways to improve sales/features of your current product, start a new product, or just start something you find interesting which you can later open source. It could be related to your main product and you can use it as a marketing tool, or it could just be something random that you enjoy. For me, the key is to try to end every work day feeling like I’m moving forward and achieving something, even if it’s not directly related to my paying work.

Outside your working hours, it’s fine if you want to stay at the computer to play cs or read reddit, but it’s important to mentally keep that separate. Physical measures don’t hurt either - turn your phone off, change your computer so you need to dual boot to access counterstrike and reddit (point reddit.com at on your work system), wear different clothes when you’re working etc - just find something that works for you, so you find you can switch off and relax once work is done.

Speaking from personal experience (having literally just closed cs:s, reddit and hn), letting your free time mix into your work time is a recipe for disaster. Sitting at your computer for 15 hours a day feeling like you should be working, then feeling guilty whenever you open something that isn’t work related, can easily lead to loss of productivity, depression and eventually burn-out. Hobbies and interests which get you out of the house may help too, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to spend your free time at the same machine you work on - it’s just very useful to have some sort of mental and/or physical ritual which separates the two.

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Excercize. Seriously. Go for a walk/run/swim. You’ll feel much better. You can listen to a bootstrapping podcast while you do it to get some ideas on things you can do to improve your marketing.


Dude I know exactly how you feel and I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately myself. I’m thinking about maybe going the direction that @radiac mentioned (working on a new project for fun).

We should chat :smile:

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I think that’s a good idea, working on something new. I am thinking of starting a pivot product but then think I might end up with managing two babies (one is enough).

Some quick app just to take mind off seems to be a good candidate.

Would love to chat, is there such functionality on this website?

There’s #startups on Freenode, and I also registered #bootstrappers, but that’s mostly empty so far :smile: