Freckle Time Tracking

Freelancember 2012

Vacation Prep

Worry-busting Checklist for Freelancers

4 weeks ahead... (or more)

Let your clients know as far in advance as possible that you'll be off the grid! And for how long.

Realign deadlines if necessary (properly set expectations are happy expectations!)

Talk to your team & collaborators about what will happen while you're gone

Consider whether it'd be more useful to shuffle around parts of of the project, e.g. finishing a critical piece before vacation so others can continue working

3 weeks ahead...

Consider any hands-on maintenance that will need to happen even while you're gone (such as processing new orders, paying affiliate commissions, or sending out invoices)

Check: are you absolutely certain Horrible Things Will Happen if these are put on hold for a week or two? If yes, then continue to the next step...

Write 'em all up, document them in detail, and divvy 'em up to delegate

... Consider hiring a temporary Virtual Assistant or intern if you don't have a team to rely on!

Or, if it's really not possible for you to share responsibilities, either plan a way to sensibly finish them in advance (without freak-outs) or put them on hold

2 weeks ahead...

Tie up loose ends and wrap up current gigs, where possible

Put the kibosh on new projects!

Choose a date (after your return!) when you'll begin new projects that arise

Refer away any new clients that cannot wait until your chosen return-to-new-projects date

1 week ahead...

Queue up blog posts

Pre-schedule Tweets

Create a vacation auto-responder

Update any contact forms with your return-to-new-work date, to properly set expectations

Bonus points: set up an email blast to your clients a few days before you return, to remind them that you're coming back so they can prepare to jump right back in!

2 - 4 days ahead...

Connect with your clients to remind them about your upcoming holiday

Set clear (and cheerful) communication boundaries ("I won't be checking emails, but you can call my cell in an emergency" OR "I'll be dwelling in a hollowed-out tree, with no electricity").

Take care of any last-minute tweaks and queries, so your clients don't succumb to separation anxiety

Prepare your workspace & to-do lists for your return

Ping your collaborators, partners, team, intern, or Virtual Assistant to be sure you're all on the same page

In case of freakouts: Write down all the times you've left your work before and nothing bad happened. And write down all the ways that some real honest-to-blog time off will help your work,  too, not just  your personal sanity!

Say buh-bye! You're outta there!

The Bottom Line

Vacations: they're critical to anybody who works. The more creative your work is, the more you need time off in order to do your best (and, personally, stay just this side of stark raving mad). Those of us who think for a living must always be wary of the wolf at the door, the one we call Burnout.

There are only three ways to avoid burnout: Do work that you feel good about. Don't do too much of it. Take frequent breaks. (Real breaks, not "work-cations".) The only way to hear that small, still voice of inspiration is to stop running around working all the time!

Our check list above will help you take that much-needed time off... and spend it in blissful relaxation, rather than constant worry and doubt.

Enjoy!

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At Freckle Time Tracking, we believe that everyone wins when freelancers are aware of their work rhythms (and take vacations!). So for Freelancember, we've lined up lots of great gifts to help you do it! Keep checking back.
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