No More Excuses: Take a Short Break

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

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