We’ve all been there: It’s the middle of a busy workday and you’re in need of a quick break from client work.
You pick up your phone and start scrolling through Instagram when you notice that nearly every post is of someone lounging at the beach or adventuring through a new country. You slowly start to realize, “Wait a minute…is everyone on vacation but me?!”
As a freelancer, it feels like you can never take a day off, let alone a vacation. Your income is tied to your output and there’s no HR department reminding you to take your PTO. Not to mention, when you run your own business, there are countless things outside of client work that must be done to keep your business up and running. How could you possibly take time away from it all?
Here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be this way.
No matter the season, every freelancer needs to take a vacation and step away from their business for a short time. Here’s why and how to take a vacation as a freelancer.
Why freelancers need to take a vacation
Arguably the biggest reason why freelancers need to take more vacations? To avoid burnout.
Burnout can affect anyone, but freelancers are especially prone to it. When you’re your own boss, it’s far too easy to work constantly. No one is reminding you to take a few days off or reassuring you that work will be handled in your absence.
Plus, without the right boundaries in place, it’s even harder to protect your time and energy.
Time away is necessary for your mental health. Disconnecting from the hustle of growing your business allows you the space to slow down and relax.
When it comes to planning time away, your vacation doesn’t need to be extravagant. Sure, you could plan a dream summer vacation on the Amalfi Coast. But you could also make a road trip, plan a staycation, or even just spend a few days at home, far, far away from your computer.
No matter your vacation style, time away will enable you to come back to your business more refreshed and motivated than before.
4 tips for taking a vacation
Set a date
The first step is probably the biggest: setting a date. Once a date is set, you have no choice but to prepare yourself and your business for a break.
If you feel yourself on the verge of burnout, plan some time away as soon as realistically possible.
If you are planning a big trip and you set your vacation date far enough in advance, you can financially prepare your business by taking on more projects beforehand.
Let your clients know
You are not an employee and your clients are not your employers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t extend the courtesy of letting them know when you’ll be out on vacation. This is especially relevant if you work with clients on a regular basis or are on a monthly retainer contract.
Letting your clients know in advance of your vacation can be as simple as sending a quick email at the beginning of the month when your vacation will take place, or even a couple weeks beforehand. As long as any deliverables are taken care of before you jet off, everyone should be good to go.
Set up a plan
If you’re a solo freelancer, plan your client work or new projects around your upcoming vacation. For instance, you probably don’t want to onboard a new client a few days before vacation or set a project deadline that conflicts with your trip.
If you work with a team, make sure everyone knows what they’re responsible for before you put up your OOO message. Similar to a “how to work with me” guide, you can put together an “out of office” document that outlines any deliverables that need to be taken care of while you’re out and who is responsible for what.
To fully disconnect from work, leave the laptop at home. But if that’s not an option (you run your own business, after all — it’s difficult not knowing what’s going on at all times!), make it a point to not actively work. Check in here and there to make sure there aren’t any fires you need to put out, but after that? Close the laptop, put away the phone, and enjoy that vacation that’s more than deserved.