Going on vacation during summertime or the holiday season is supposed to be a relaxing, beautiful time of the year for everyone. However, if you spend the whole vacation working rather than celebrating with family or friends, you will start to look a lot like Scrooge. However, there is hope: You can take time off even if you are a freelancer; doing so might take some extra planning and conversation with clients. Unlike having a standard 9–5 like our friends, freelancers like us can’t merely submit for paid time off and set up an out-of-office email message referring someone to contact a colleague if it is urgent.
Utilize these pointers to prepare for a vacation — then actually take it.
Plan in advance.
When you enjoy the freelancer lifestyle, having paid time off isn’t something you can do easily. If you need to score a certain level of an individual income, you have to think ahead and get more gigs or sales to compensate for the time you’re away on vacation, or you have to accomplish a month’s worth of work deadlines in half the time. If you have a list of consistent clients, you need to reach out to them since they will appreciate having the notice to send you any significant assignments before you head out on your holiday. Freelancing successfully means forming strong relationships that foster trust between seller and buyer; part of accomplishing that means giving consistent, clear communication and showing them that you care about their needs.
Create a backup plan.
If you are a freelancer who is in a specialty where you can plan out content or projects in advance and get them scheduled, then do that. If you do not have this luxury, then try to find a trusted friend or even another freelancer who can take on your assignments while you’re off on the beach or sitting around with family arguing politics.
Suppose you do choose to outsource the work to another freelancer. In that case, it is best to produce a detailed report that explains precisely what the expectations are.
Set boundaries with clients.
It is never easy to go entirely off the grid and never look at your email for the entire vacation, especially when you are your own boss. Still, it’s crucial to establish boundaries, so you don’t spend too much of your vacation working or attempting to answer all your emails. Plan a schedule for yourself; for example, look at your inbox once in the morning, then one more time in the afternoon, and finally once at night. Also, don’t feel obligated to respond to each email or work on every task that pops up. Put up an out-of-office (OOO) auto-reply and only respond to urgent emails. In the event that you’re traveling somewhere where you won’t have reception or internet, see if you can outsource the work to another freelancer.
Remember that taking vacation time will help you be more productive when you get back, and it’ll help you avoid burning out.