You deserve a vacation freelancer- ENJOY IT!

Jul 01, 2021

We all want to have some time throughout the year when we can truly unplug. Often even the thought of unplugging can be stressful when you think about the mountain of emails and tasks that will be waiting for you when you plug back in. For freelancers and independent contractors particularly, it can be tricky to completely unplug when you are a one-women (or man) show. Here are a few helpful tips to plan for a vacation that can help relieve the stress of unplugging.

  1. Designate a contact: Making sure you have the right person on deck who can run point while you are out is crucial. For freelancers and independent contractors this may be particularly difficult. Reach out to each of your clients to let them know you are out of town and if possible, designate a client contact who knows the project and can handle requests while you are out. You could also consider teaming up with a fellow freelancer to help guide a project while you are out. I know I, and many other consultants I know, would be happy to do this on an I-scratch-your-back basis, as opposed to charging for it.

  2. Differentiate your out of office message: The easiest way to do this is to differentiate the message that goes to your contacts, or within your organization, vs. the message that goes to external people. I also find it helpful to make it explicit in my OOO message who to reach out to for different things. One other thing to consider here is your “if this is urgent” caveat. Really consider whether or not you need this. If you want to completely unplug, then put your trust in your planning and back-up, and just let folks know that you will get back to them when you return.

  3. Schedule specific check-ins (if necessary): If you are going to be gone for an extended time and/or if you have urgent project needs during your vacation, be strategic about scheduling specific times when you will check-in via phone or email. You can make sure that your clients and colleagues are aware of this and even put it in your OOO message. That way you don’t have to be checking your email constantly.

  4. Filter your email: Email filters are super handy and underused. I get so many things in my inbox that are not urgent, like blogs, newsletters, news updates, etc. You can set up automatic filters that will put these things into a subfolder as they come in. That way, when you get back to your inbox you will only see your messages from clients and colleagues. This is also a great tool for everyday inbox management.

  5. Take an extra day, on both sides: Block off the whole day before you leave for vacation to tie up loose ends and get everything settled for you to be gone. I am also a huge proponent of taking off an extra day after a vacation to regroup and get back into regular life. This is not an extra day to go through your inbox, but a day to do laundry, go to the store, and get your brain back into regular-life mode.

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