We have been blessed with warmer weather in the last few weeks, so the question is what will you be doing this Summer? Is it a family trip, a solo trip, a girls’/lads trip or something else? It feels quite nerve-wracking that flights are being cancelled last minute and everyone is being stranded at the airports dying to feel their toes in that golden sand.
Taking time off for freelancers and entrepreneurs is something that we all struggle with. Let’s call it a love-hate relationship. No matter how much we love working for ourselves, there are still those days when we wish we could work less or just not have to work at all. Even at weekends, I am thinking about what my new week will look like, it is so hard to switch off.
When you’re working for yourself, you have the freedom to work flexible hours. If you feel like taking a day or two off work, you can do it. The ability to take time off when you want is one of the main benefits of being self-employed. Yet, many of us don’t take advantage of their freedom because we feel guilty if we are not working.
I want to help you get rid of that guilt and remind yourself why taking breaks is so important.
Allow your mind to rest
I know I know; this can be SO tricky. The mind is very active and can think of so many different things at once. Rest is so important for things like mental health improves your mood and can reduce stress. Mental breaks can improve productivity, and attention to detail and encourage creativity. You have seen that when people are feeling burnt out or just exhausted, they force themselves to shut up shop and have some downtime. Many take social media breaks just for this reason. Everything can feel like a rat race and how can you enjoy the fruits of your labour when you are constantly on the go?
Gain new perspectives
Taking a step back looks different for everyone. Taking time off can help you foster new ideas, plans and directions for your business. Your environment is no longer a ‘crack the whip’ setting, the pressure has reduced and time away can put the spring back in your step that your business so desperately needed. The weight of the day-to-day running of it all can be quite daunting especially as a solopreneur, you have nobody to bounce ideas off of, accountability and/or another body to help you drive things forward.
Whatever fun looks like to you, do it! Whether you like travelling, going for long walks, working out or taking part in an upcoming retreat, go and do just that. Laughter is good for your soul. Laughing releases endorphins, makes you feel happier and can lift your mood.
I spoke previously about getting that work/life balance right. Being overworked is no fun for anyone. Taking time away from your work gives you the opportunity to bask in the joy of your hobbies and things that interest you. Life is for living, as they say, ‘all work and no play make Jack a dull boy’.
By now, you can probably run the business with your eyes closed, although doing the same things each day will eventually take its toll, where you are screaming to see the plane leave the runway. Having a good holiday will see you return to work with fresh eyes and lots of new ideas to implement.
If you have a service-based business like me, you can work from anywhere. This aspect I love because in between having a dip in the pool, I can answer emails, hold client meetings etc. without disrupting the services that I provide. If, however, you don’t have a service-based business and you sell physical items, you may wish to outsource that side whilst you are away. Of course, you can look after all the admin stuff. Also, look at automating your systems, so you don’t have to do very much regardless of where you are in the world.
In summary, it all boils down to this: if you like your work and enjoy the freedom of being a freelancer, it can be tempting to continue working at all hours of the day. But in doing so, you might end up losing some of that initial passion you had for what you have created.
Taking time off from your work can help you to destress and rejuvenate, helping you to come back to your projects with a fresh perspective. Taking time off is crucial if you want to continue being productive when you do return to work—it keeps you motivated and always thinking of new ways to improve your business or creative endeavours.
Schedule some time in to grab yourself a well-deserved holiday. You won’t regret it.