Even a freelancer needs a break – the importance of taking a holiday

First things first, I’m going on holiday! *watch Fi do her little happy dance*

My holiday wardrobe has been updated. I’ve dragged my teens round the shops until they gave in and agreed to buy new clothes (“No, you can’t spend the holiday in jeans and a hoodie. You’ll scare children in the swimming pool.”). We’ve even arranged for the dog to stay with Grandma.

All that’s left now is to let you all know that my last day at work will be Thursday, 16th August and then I’ll be away on a jolly until Monday, 3rd September.

I won’t be reading or answering work emails during that time, so if you do drop me a line don’t feel neglected (it’s not you, it’s most definitely me relaxing with a cosmo somewhere Greek or reading in the back garden) if I don’t respond until I open up shop again.

I could leave this post here but I thought I’d share with you three of the reasons why I’m so excited to be going away (besides the time to catch up on my reading and cocktail-quaffing).

I’m excited because I know that when I return from my hols and settle down to work again, I’ll be a better freelancer and writer. Here’s why:

Exhaustion

Ok, I’m not keeling over, yet, but equally I need a break. As freelancers, we’re probably most prone to overwhelm from doing it all. We do the work (in my case, writing), keep track of our finances and fill in our tax returns, market our businesses all over the place, and generally do it all.

I don’t have a back-up team to sort out my invoices, maintain my website or wear any of the other business hats. It’s just me.

Emotionally, psychologically and sometimes, yeah, physically too, we need a break so our brains can go to mush for a week away from our business life.

Mush is good. For a week. Possibly with cocktails.

Perspective

Another effect of ‘doing it all’ is that we can become so close to our business, so caught up in the day to day routine and concerns, that we lose the ability to see the bigger picture.

If you’re nose up against a tree, that’s all you can see. The beauty and wonder of the forest glade beyond and the paths leading from it are out of sight.

When we lose perspective, we lose the opportunity to look ahead and plan where our business is going. Is what we’re doing actually working? If not, how could we improve it? What new opportunities are there out there? What’s happening in the world beyond our four walls?

When I’m away on hols, whether it’s abroad, at the local Haven site or just taking a break at home, I can see the bigger picture because I’m not nose-down to my keyboard.

Bring back the love

It’s all too easy to begin to take our business for granted, even to dislike it. Maybe a client is impinging on our weekends, or there are unpaid invoices. Perhaps it’s just the constant workload which is getting us down. Whatever it is, it can rob us of the enjoyment we used to take in our work.

And here’s the thing. If you’re like me, you started down the path of self employment because you wanted to work at something you love, something you know you’re good at and that makes you feel worthwhile.

Taking a break, and removing all of those annoyances, means that when I return to work I’m happy to be there.

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So there you are. My reasons for not feeling one tiny morsel guilty for taking a holiday.

Have a wonderful remainder of the summer. I shall see you in September.

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