Sleigh bells ring, but you’re too busy working away to be listening. As Christmas looms over you, your hefty workload isn’t letting up. However, we all deserve to enjoy this holiday season, and make the most of us of us and our families. Yes, even freelancers need time off. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some straightforward strategies you can use over this period.
Set boundaries with your clients.
When you work for yourself, you can easily fall into the trap of being ‘too available’ to your clients. The fear of missing out on potential work and projects could see you checking your emails 24 hours a day. However, research from Lehigh University suggests that the mere expectation of this is enough to negatively impact your work-life balance.
In the period leading up to the Christmas holiday, be open and honest with your clients about your availability. Giving them a reasonable amount of notice (and attending to any outstanding work first) shouldn’t lead to any problems in the future. During the holiday season, many businesses wind down, and take a break. Your freelance business should be no different.
Increase your productivity BEFORE the holiday.
So that you can schedule time off for major holidays, you might need to make a sacrifice now. Scaling up your productivity before scheduled time off will help you to get ahead on any projects that you have undertaken. While — of course — you don’t want to be working overtime each day, squeezing extra tasks into your daily schedule could be key.
Planning ahead is essential here. If you want to have three to four days off during a break, how much work will you need to do now? Can you take on extra projects over the next few weeks that will cover you for the holiday period? Asking these questions ahead of time could help you to have a relaxing break when you want it the most.
Pre-plan your schedule now.
While we’re on the topic of scheduling your break, there’s no time like the present. If you’re planning to have consecutive days off, go ahead and block them out in your calendar now. That way, you won’t be tempted to take on any extra work for those dates in the lead up to the holiday. It’s a small mental trick, but it has a huge impact on how you feel.
Of course, you should also consider what a ‘break’ means to you. For instance, some freelancers may find that working mornings during the festive period (and, ultimately, taking the afternoons off) is a smart way to make the most of their time. Take a moment to consider how you work best and the right approach for your work style.
Manage your family’s expectations.
If you’re visiting loved ones over a holiday, and need to work, too, you’re going to need to manage your family’s expectations. While you may have no problem attending to minor work-related tasks during this period, you could find that your nearest and dearest object. This is especially true if your family members aren’t familiar with freelancing.
Before you head home, speak to your loved ones about your schedule. Let them know how, when, and where
you’re planning to work while you’re staying with them. Doing so will give your family a clear indication of when you will be free to socialize and when you won’t. This small tactic means that you won’t disappoint anybody.
Take the time to rest and relax.
Once you’ve ticked all of the above boxes, there’s nothing left to do but sit back, relax, and enjoy your holiday break. Use this much-needed time off to rest and relax. That way, you can enter the post-holiday period with a newfound passion for your freelance work.
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Charlotte Grainger is an experienced freelance writer having contributed to national publications, including Men’s Health, Brides Magazine, and Cosmopolitan. She specializes in lifestyle and health-related topics.
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