Why freelancers need to go on holiday

Posted on: September 28th, 2010

I recently returned from holiday. It was the first break I’d had in 15 months and it made me realise I should have taken time off sooner. There are all kinds of reasons not to go on holiday if you are freelance:

  • You won’t earn any money (unless you’re lucky enough to be on a retainer).
  • You need to save money for your ‘buffer’ fund for when times are quiet, not spend it on holidays.
  • You risk losing out on projects that come up while you’re away.
  • If you’re midway through a project, the likelihood is it will be given to someoen else to complete
  • You have to work like crazy to finish everything off before you go, and then you need to work like crazy when you get back to catch up – so is going away worth the effort?

Five reasons why you need to go on holiday

But there are also equally important reasons for going on holiday:

  • You need to rest and recharge your batteries.
  • If you don’t take a break, you risk going stale and losing your spark of creativity.
  • You need to take time to unwind and destress.
  • If you’re stuck at your computer for most of the day, it’s a great rest for your body to take time away from being hunched over your keyboard.
  • If you’re anything like me, you get so busy with client work that your goals and your action plan for achieving those goals go out the window. By taking time out from the nitty gritty of your everyday work, it makes it easier for you to take a step back when you return, so you can focus on your goals again. If possible, tell everyone you’ll be back from holiday a day later than you really are. Then spend that day looking at your goals. Have they changed since you last looked at them? What activity are you going to achieve this week to get one step nearer to achieving them? And what will you achieve next week?

When is YOUR next holiday planned? (Mine’s planned for January.)

Related post: When was the last time you took a holiday?

Tags:

9 Responses to “Why freelancers need to go on holiday”

  1. Ramona
    September 28th, 2010

    A holiday is VERY important. With a careful money management an active freelancer can save money for these weeks and also make sure nothing remains unpaid. Still, work only is never the solution. I’ve done the 16 hours/day no weekends stuff myself and it wasn’t fun. It was something I had to do for 3-4 months to get going in my freelancing career, since I started with nothing but debt, but I always knew it’s a temporary solution.

    Now, since business is blooming, I know when to take time off and when to steadily work. Overworking is never good, unless it’s for a limited time.

  2. Corporate photographer London
    September 28th, 2010

    Have to agree with this as when I started as a freelancer I did not have a holiday for 5 years. But when I took a week off, I felt great when I came back to the coal face. It is very important to get away as you can stand back and see the wood for the trees. Grant

  3. Lisa
    September 28th, 2010

    I just got back from a week’s holiday too. SO glad I went! Not only did my boyfriend and I have an amazing time, but I’m now back at my desk with renewed concentration, energy and creativity. And a tan :)

  4. Freelance FactFile
    September 28th, 2010

    @Ramona: I usually take a couple of one-week holidays and a couple of long weekends every year but, for one reason or another, a whole year slipped past without my going away. Not a good idea! Glad to hear you’ve got your work/holiday balance sussed. :)

    @Lisa: Just seen from your Tweets that you went to Corfu. Bet that was lovely and hot. I stayed in England for my holiday: Dorset and New Forest – not a drop of rain all week AND we had sunny weather. Wish I’d taken off two weeks….

  5. Steven H
    September 29th, 2010

    Exactly. We all need breaks if we want to be effective workers. This can amount to have mini-breaks throughout our daily routine, to taking weeks off and regathering one’s whole sense of being. Both are necessary. Good post!

  6. Freelance FactFile
    September 29th, 2010

    I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post, Steven. Yes, even taking a couple of hours out of our work schedule can be beneficial: I often do a mid-morning class at my gym which is a great stress buster and a good energiser.

  7. Carole
    September 30th, 2010

    @Grant: Five years without a holiday – yikes! I hope you go away more often now… :)

  8. caldwell196
    October 4th, 2010

    A holiday is VERY important. With a careful money management an active freelancer can save money for these weeks and also make sure nothing remains unpaid. Still, work only is never the solution. I’ve done the 16 hours/day no weekends stuff myself and it wasn’t fun. It was something I had to do for 3-4 months to get going in my freelancing career, since I started with nothing but debt, but I always knew it’s a temporary solution.
    +1

  9. Freelance FactFile
    October 8th, 2010

    @caldwell196 – yes I’ve done the working all weekend/working silly hours stuff as well. It’s fine for a short period but there’s no way you can sustain that kind of work level (unless you’re a serious workaholic). I’m opting for the short breaks approach this year – am about to take a long weekend off.

Leave a Reply

Type your comment in the box below: