The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But if you spend the entire time working instead of celebrating with friends and family, you can start to feel a lot like the Grinch. Here’s the thing: You can take a vacation as a freelancer. It just takes extra planning and communication. Unlike your 9-5 friends, freelancers like you can’t simply request paid vacation and put up an out-of-office message asking someone to contact your boss if they need anything urgent.
Use these tips to prepare for taking time off—then actually take it.
Plan ahead of time.
When you’re a freelancer, paid time off isn’t an option. If you want to hit a certain income, you have to plan ahead by taking on more Gigs to make up for the time you’re on vacation or getting a month’s worth of work done in two weeks. If you have a roster of regular clients, they will appreciate having notice in advance so they can send along any important assignments before your vacation. Freelancing is all about developing strong relationships and you’ll show that you are accountable and care about meeting their goals (as well as your own goal to spend time making snow angels, eating cookie dough, and snuggling).
Create a coverage plan.
If you are in an industry where you can schedule content or projects in advance, do that. If not, see if you can find a trusted peer or even a freelancer who can pick up the slack while you’re off picking out presents. Regular clients may even be able to find a team member who can fill in while you’re away. Create a detailed coverage document that explains exactly what your responsibilities are, as well as pertinent information like passwords and easy-to-follow instructions.
Set boundaries for yourself.
It might not be realistic to go completely off the grid and not check your email for the entire vacation, but it’s helpful to set boundaries so that you’re not spending too much time working or trying to get to inbox zero. Create a schedule for yourself such as scanning your email once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. And don’t feel tempted to answer every email or work on every project that might come your way. Set up an out-of-office reply and only answer urgent emails. If you’re going somewhere that you won’t have access to technology or cell service, see if you can hire a trusted virtual assistant who can scan your emails and call you at your hotel if there’s anything you need to know ASAP.
Remember that taking time off will help you be more productive when you are working and it’ll help you avoid burning out. So get your work done so you can eat some turkey and relax. Let it be a gift to yourself. You deserve it!
What are your tips for taking a vacation as a freelancer? Tell us in the comments below!