“No days off,” was my motto for a while in my business. However, I can vividly remember my last straw.
My husband and I took a six hour road trip to the beach to celebrate Memorial Day weekend one year. I was holed up in the hotel room for hours finishing a project for a client instead of enjoying the sun. As soon as I turned the project in, I got an automated “away on vacation” response email from the client which brought me back to planet Earth.
I also wanted to be someone who could set an automated “away on vacation” response, and I realized the onus is on me to make it happen. Here’s how to make sure you set some time away for yourself as we get closer to the end of the year:
Know that We All Have End-Of-Yearitis
We can run ourselves into the ground trying to meet deadlines and to delight customers, but we’re also human. Thankfully, most clients understand that we’re human, too.
If you need to switch up your schedule at the end of the year to accommodate a few days off or a longer trip, clients understand as long as you give them adequate notice. After all, they want to spend time with their loved ones as well. Connect with your clients to flesh out adjusted due dates on one-off projects or recurring work to free up some time for merriment.
If due dates are not flexible, you can always work ahead of schedule. This approach will put some extra stress on you for a short period of time. But afterward there will be a huge weight lifted off your shoulders when you’re enjoying time with family and friends.
After my less than relaxing Memorial Day exursion, I worked ahead before another trip I took abroad. It was the first time in years I had several completely free days off. It was incredibly refreshing.
Stick to your guns and be stubborn with your time off. Make your scheduled vacation time non-negotiable. It never fails — as soon as you decide to take time away a new client or project will pop up. Don’t even consider taking it on. Say no.
More work will come around especially in the new year when companies have brand new budgets. Plus if a client really wants to work with you, they will be happy to work around your holiday vacation.
Business owners are in a unique position. We have the freedom to work as much or as little as we want. However, what tends to happen is we work harder than we ever imagined. We all need a break, so take one.
Time away from business activities recharges the batteries and boosts creativity. Beyond helping work productivity, vacations and experiences outside of work are enriching to our personal lives. Since we’re still a few weeks away from the major holidays like Kwanzaa, Hannukah, Christmas, and the New Year, now’s a good time to start planning out your end of year schedule.