Freelancer’s Guide To Going On Holiday…

When you’re freelance or self employed it can be difficult to tear yourself away from work, but as I’ve mentioned before in this post, you need a break.  Without a good break your brain will turn to mush and your clients won’t be getting the best version of you – and who wants that? But I know (more than anyone) what a hassle it can be arranging a trip when you work for yourself.

Here’s a quick list of things you need to do before jetting off to make sure that you don’t come back to a whole heap of stress…

Sardinia 2011

Before you go…

Make sure your clients know you’re away. If your client knows you’re on holiday then they are less likely to try and contact you. Just send a quick email to anyone expecting work or an update a few weeks before you go.

Send any invoices in advance: Unfortunately whilst it feels as though the real world isn’t still functioning whilst you’re away, it is and you’re still going to have bills to pay upon your return. So send your invoices early or schedule them to go out automatically. The same goes for any bills that may need paying.

Plan your workload: Work doesn’t just stop (hopefully) so the weeks leading to your holiday may very well be a more hectic than usual. Plan and prioritise your workload so that you stay on top of your game.

Set that auto-responder: Seth Godin declares email bankruptcy (the act of deleting all those e-mails that piled up while you were having fun, so they don’t ruin the vacation glow) before he goes on holiday. He sets his auto responder to simply say: “I’m on vacation until x/x/2013. When I get back, I’m going to delete all the email that arrived while I was gone, so if this note is important, please send it to me again after that date.” A bit of a harsh move but if you get a lot of nonsense emails then you may find that this helps save you a lot of time.

If you take calls, forward them to voicemail (I usually ask them to just send an email as I’ll pick that up when I’m back – I’m not quite at the email bankruptcy stage).

Whilst your away…

Switch your data and wi-fi OFF. If you’ve got a smartphone or iPad then you’re going to be so tempted to just “quickly check” your email. Trust me when I say that you won’t just quickly check it you’ll see something that will drag you in and you’re supposed to be relaxing. If you want to continue to post of social media then delete the email accounts from your phone. You can put them back when you return.

Take a notebook: If you’re anything like me then holidays are where you get your best ideas. Taking a notebook will help you get those ideas down and it’s very therapeutic.

RELAX:  Remember you’re going away to relax and recharge. The moment you slam that front door is the time to switch off from work mode.