As a freelancer I've always felt like I have to be working.
I don't mean 24/7. Every hour. Every day.
In general I would feel like I had to show up Monday to Friday. Every Monday to Friday.
And then more often than not, Saturday. And Sunday.
Recently, it was half term.
I'd screwed up booking childcare (as you may have seen in my vlog).
It forced me to strip back my workload and pile on the fun with the kids.
And when I explained to my clients that I'd be off with the kids for half term, guess what happened?
They were cool with it.
And for those clients who then have end clients in big businesses they simply said 'Steve's off next week'. And those clients WERE COOL WITH IT.
Because that's the thing.
In every office across the country people are taking days off. They're taking weeks off.
Julie's off next week because it's half term.
Terry's off on Tuesday because it's his wife's birthday.
AND PEOPLE ARE COOL WITH IT.
It's me, as a freelancer, who felt guilty.
Who felt I couldn't take a day off outside of my summer vacation.
I had a project deadline in half term - on my son's birthday.
And when I emailed the end client the day before... I got an out-of-office saying he'd be back Monday. HE WAS OFF!
Because People. Take. Days. Off.
IT'S NOT JUST ME
I thought maybe it was just me, but then I spoke with illustrator Holly Exley for the Being Freelance Podcast.
"When I first started out in freelance, I really believed I needed to be working all the time constantly. And that was the only way I deserved to be in the industry."
Two years with no holiday, of "working weekends and evenings. And I don’t regret doing that because it really did help boost my career… but it’s really not sustainable to do that long term."
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION
Why not create an amount of holiday days for yourself for the year?
As a guide: people in 'normal jobs' get 28 days (in the UK*).
From now on, I plan to take all half term school holidays off to hang with the kids.
Give yourself the right to book time off.
Don't feel weird about telling clients you're off... because people in their office, their world are doing it all the time.
Give them as much notice as possible. Then set an out-of-office email assistant and...
DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT.
And you know how people in offices sometimes bring back sweets or biscuits from their holiday to give to their colleagues? Yeah. Do that too. All for yourself. Mwahhahahahaha.
*I still can't believe in the US it's 15 days. What's that about?!
Denmark, France, Germany, Spain... they tend to get 30.
I read that in China you get 5 days. But is that still more than you give yourself?