I was recently in a Facebook group for freelance writers where someone asked how to give themselves holidays as a freelancer. They weren’t sure how to go about it since some of their clients may not observe national holidays or perhaps they have clients in other parts of the world.
Like many freelancers, I used to be terrible about giving myself holidays as a freelancer. Sometimes I still kind of am (I’m writing this on Memorial Day Weekend). Granted, I kind of like working during holidays because the inbox is calm and I can work on things I don’t normally get as much time to focus on, such as a social media strategy for my brand.
I’m also kind of used to working on holidays. I went to Catholic school for college so we didn’t get many national holidays off (they would make up for it with religious holidays). My previous employer also didn’t really give us time off on many of the national holidays. Essentially, working on holidays is just a habit of mine.
However, giving myself holidays as a freelancer is important because I do want to spend time with friends and family when they have time off. They don’t have the same time freedom as I do, so sometimes I need to rearrange things. Here are some of the ways I’ve learned to give myself holidays as a freelancer.
Just do it.
In the beginning, I think many freelancers are afraid to give themselves holidays because they don’t want to alienate clients. Or, they think everything will fall apart if they take just one day off. It’s the same reason why they don’t give themselves a vacation.
Most of this is in our own heads. I’ve realized that 95% of my freelance clients have respected national holidays and my travel schedule. No one has ever really had an issue with it, and if they do, then they just may not be my ideal client.
Learn from others.
My virtual assistant is actually the person who has taught me to take more time off and give myself holidays as a freelancer. From the moment I hired her, she was always really good about setting boundaries with her time.
I was so impressed by this that I tried to start incorporating it into my own life. Eventually, I asked her to hold me accountable and remind me when a holiday was coming up so that I could take time off.
Sometimes it helps to have people around us who remind us to take a holiday every once in a while. I have actually found this to be the most helpful because it holds me accountable.
Use vacation responders.
Vacation responders are everything. I already have one go up every weekend which lets my clients know that I’m out until Monday. On holiday weekends, I simply extend it a day and let them know I’m out for a national holiday.
At the end of the day, it’s really all about setting boundaries with your time. If you’re able to do that, then you’ll be able to take some holidays as a freelancer.