A friend is off camping soon. She goes camping in Cornwall with a bunch of mates every year. But this year is different. She's taking serious steps to deal with a behavioural problem she's been struggling with.
The last couple of years, she'd been abandoning her friends for huge parts of the holiday. Brightly making her excuses ("Just off to do some shopping, see you all later!") she'd disappear along the coast path. She'd be gone for hours, while everyone else surfed, chatted, and barbequed in the sunshine.
This happened every afternoon, until, one day, her friends stumbled across her, hunched guiltily in a dark corner of a pub. This was where she'd been spending those bright, hot afternoons.
Was she an alcoholic? Nope. A freelance writer. She was using the glitchy pub Wi-Fi to tap out blogs on her Kindle. "I got this email from a client yesterday and I thought I could just nip to a pub and quickly do it..." she explained, "I'll holiday properly tomorrow. If nobody else emails..."
You really do need to relax
I suspect that this is a familiar scenario for most freelancers. We've all found ourselves putting life on hold while we churn out work in unlikely locations.
Many freelancers find it impossible to say 'no' when we're offered work. We make excuses to work through 'time off'. "I can just do this bit of work quickly...." or "Well as I'm not getting any holiday pay..." or "I get enough flexibility in my work, I don't need to take a TOTAL break..."
These mindsets are damaging. Flexibility does not equal relaxation. Always having half a mind on work can lead to burnout. Not taking enough time off to relax and get some headspace can have some pretty serious repercussions, including:
How to achieve a work-free holiday
So, taking time off is pretty important. But it's not always easy.
When you're a freelancer, your 'workplace' is kind of inside your own head. Sure, you can take yourself hundreds of miles away from your home office, but that doesn't make work impossible. Just as you're settling down to relax, your phone pings with an email from a prospective client, or feedback on your content, and boom – you're back in your mental workplace.
So, you need some tactics to help you out. Be prepared, some of these ideas are going to be tough for connectaholics!
Good luck – and enjoy your summer holidays!