One of the challenges of working for yourself, whether you are a freelancer or run your own limited company, is always how to achieve that perfect work life balance. We all need time off but when you are self-employed it can be difficult to find the time to take a proper break or holiday.
Planning ahead can help
Don’t put off planning a holiday. If you plan ahead and effectively book your time out early then you’ll be less likely to find it difficult to actually take the time. Make sure your diary is blocked out. If you are going away block out the day before and the day you get back too so you aren’t tempted to arrange meetings for these days. This will allow you time to prepare for being away and some time to catch up without interruptions on your return.
Pick the best time
This will depend on the nature of your business but considering when your busy and quieter periods typically fall is a good idea. If you have children and their school holidays to consider or a partner’s work schedule then take these into account too.
Budget for time off
The flexibility and satisfaction of being self-employed generally outweighs any downsides but not benefiting from holiday pay is something which can take some getting used to for the recently self-employed. Saving regularly to allow for time off, both planned and unplanned is always a good idea. Putting just a little bit aside each month to cover time off will take away the stress of being away from work and it is amazing how quickly savings can mount up if you commit to saving regularly.
Keep people informed
Let clients or suppliers know in advance of planned holidays. Don’t be afraid to tell people you have planned some time off. Generally, people understand that everyone deserves a break now and again, they’ll appreciate the heads up and hopefully will plan accordingly if they have work they want you to do. If they know in advance this is likely to prevent people trying to contact you when you are trying to relax and switch off from work. It should also mean you don’t return to an avalanche of emails.
While you are off
Once you have decided you are taking time off make sure you switch off. Think about what you really need to do and decide how you will manage this. For example, if you are going to check emails have a plan to check them just at certain times of day and then ignore your phone the rest of the time. Make sure your voicemail and out of office is on. And relax…