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Summary:

Freelancers can be stubborn about taking vacations. We know that money usually doesn’t come in when we go on a holiday, so we skip vacations and relax during off hours. But we all need vacations or else we’ll head straight for Burnout City, a place no […]

Beach HolidayFreelancers can be stubborn about taking vacations. We know that money usually doesn’t come in when we go on a holiday, so we skip vacations and relax during off hours. But we all need vacations or else we’ll head straight for Burnout City, a place no one wants to go. I finally compromised with a recent vacation by going on a short break over a weekend that was close to home.

How to Start Off Small With a Short Break

If you’re struggling to go on a holiday, start small. Start with a day off, if you have to, and go explore your surroundings. And consider trying the following:

  1. Take the trip over a weekend to avoid missing too many work days.
  2. Keep the vacation short so the thought of packing and unpacking doesn’t paralyze you.
  3. Pick a place that allows you to pack as light as possible.
  4. Go someplace within driving distance.

I took a Friday through Sunday vacation with my family to a hotel with an indoor water park about 30 minutes from home. I’d rather travel to a new city or country, but the thought of catching up with my work when I return stresses me. This vacation let me relax without worrying about work.

I didn’t take my computer. OK, I confess: My spouse took his and I did use it briefly while away, but at least it didn’t have my usual applications or tools. During the entire trip, I spent no more than an hour, at most, on the computer to do quick email checks.

Dealing with Your Vacation Fears

The things I feared would happen upon my return didn’t occur. I’m one of those people who cleans up as I work and handles things as they come in, rather than letting them pile up and facing a mountain. So I feared returning to:

  • an overloaded inbox.
  • too many client requests.
  • the general catch-up involved.

Between the BlackBerry and laptop, I focused on keeping my inbox manageable without spending much time doing so. Most of us don’t get much email over the weekend, so a short break over a weekend means helps in that respect.

Preparing for the Next Vacation

After seeing see how well a short, in-town vacation can work, next you can travel a greater distance. Plenty of places offer great short getaways. Places like Las Vegas, campgrounds and resorts make great short vacations. If you plan one over a weekend, it’ll cut your worries of returning to an overwhelming inbox.

After conquering a few long weekend vacations, go the next step and take a week-long trip. If this makes you cower, compromise again. Pick three or four days out of the week to do work while spending the other days doing the vacation thing. Thursday offers tips for setting up an office away from home. Consider shortening your work hours by quitting earlier in the day or starting in the afternoon.

Another option is to attend a conference. Many conferences occur in cities where people tend to go on vacation. Start your vacation after the conference ends. You could have your vacation beforehand, but it might be harder to enjoy your time there knowing the conference lies ahead.

How do you ensure you get a well-deserved vacation without worrying about work?

Photo credit: Chris27

  1. “I took a Friday through Sunday vacation…”

    That’s not a vacation. That’s called a weekend.

    Seriously, if anyone is having a hard time not working 7 days a week they need intervention. They’re either doing something basic very wrong from a business point of view if they HAVE to in order to make ends meet or they have personal issues that they need to get under control. Don’t misunderstand me, I get the occasional weekend working and I’m not really talking about that or checking emails Sunday night to prep for the week. But somone who feels they need to work on the weekend, every weekend, needs a bit of therapy. Or better business sense.

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  2. True, it’s called a weekend — but I took the entire day off on Friday — I work five days a week. Like I said, it’s a compromise as some of us struggle to do something. I removed myself from my regular environment and spent it with my entire family. It was also the best we could do this summer for various reasons.

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  3. I run a startup when I’m not at work, so when I take a vacation from my dayjob, it’s just sitting at my desk at home churning away at http://www.pay4bugs.com.

    Now I finally understand how Mark Cuban never took a vacation for years, for entrepreneurs, it’s hard to step away.

    My partner, who’s full time into the startup, is an even worse offender…

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  4. This article brings up a lot of thought-provoking topics. I just came back from a nine-day vacation, and found that getting caught up on work was so stressful during the days that followed, that it more than offset the relaxation of the vacation.

    You mentioned Las Vegas as a possible destination. Anyone headed that way should consider staying just outside the city, where it is much quieter at night, at the Boulder Dam Hotel (http://www.boulderdamhotel.com/). We stayed there recently, and it was much more pleasant than any of the big hotels on the Strip.

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  5. I try to take a vacation every day – by getting away from my home office and working in a different public place. Sure, it isn’t a true vacation, but the don’t underestimate the psychological effect of frequent changes of scenery. It’s an experiment that has so far paid nice dividends. I blog about it at http:/nycvagabond.wordpress.com

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  6. Sure its a must to go on vacation or just go out of your home a couple of days to relax, I take this lifestyle: I work 7 days a week about 8 to 10 hours but some weekends I take the whole day or a weekend for me and my girlfriend or my family, I think its not something to watch a doctor to work on weekends if you have the time why not? if you don’t you will face days when your family needs you and you simply can not because you did not work those days that selfishly occupied by your own self

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  7. I plan to NOT work one day during this Labor Day weekend. May even shoot for two. We’ll see…

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  8. I just returned from an 8-day/7-night vacation and it felt GREAT! I am a corporate worker and have some hobby web sites I am trying to turn into small businesses on the side, but I escaped from all of that for the week. No laptop. No forwarding number. Blackberry was off and packed in the bottom of the suitcase for emergencies. With my company in the middle of sale negotiations and financial crisis, it was good to return and find that the place had, in fact, NOT burned to the ground because of my absence. On top of it, they are getting a recharged worker to assist in this critical time.

    I admit, when I learned that my mobile would indeed work on the tiny island of Aruba, I had a moment of weakness where I thought of checking email “for just few minutes”. Then I looked over at my wife and daughter sitting on the beach next to me and remembered my top priorities for the day.

    For me, being able to work anywhere in the world at anytime is a great thing. But this shouldn’t mean that you HAVE to work EVERYWHERE and at EVERY TIME!

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