As you may have noticed, I haven’t blogged in over a week and a half (or worked, for that matter!). I’ve been in Arizona for the past 9 days spending time with family and friends, watching my sister get married and spending quality time with my husband. It was glorious! My parents are such a big help with the girls and it was nice to have a little break from the day-to-day life here in NC.
Instead of scheduling out posts and working ahead on projects, I decided to just take some much-needed time off from everything. I didn’t work, I didn’t blog, I didn’t look for jobs and I barely read any other blogs or spent time on the computer. While I’m happy to be back, the break was just what I needed to get back into the swing of things.
Taking a break when you’re a freelancer
I’ve been freelancing for exactly three years now, which blows my mind. In fact, this is the longest I’ve stayed at any job and I don’t plan on leaving any time soon. This is also the first “break” I’ve taken from everything – including when I had my second daughter and when we moved across the country. For both of those occasions, I reduced my workload slightly but mostly just worked ahead and still worked almost every day, just less.
Breaks are vital to your health, though. The downside to freelancing is taking a break means you don’t get paid. We don’t have paid time-off and we certainly don’t get paid vacation days. If we want to vacation, we either work while vacationing, work ahead or don’t get paid. For this trip, I chose that latter.
While in AZ last week and Boca Raton last month, I realized I am not the type of person who can work while on vacation. I really wish I could, as it would make traveling much easier, but I just can’t focus when I’m not in my own environment. I like to work in complete silence sitting at home on my couch. If I’m in a hotel room or in someone else’s house, I can’t get the motivation to work.
Usually, I get all of my work done ahead of time when I need time off. I typically don’t mind doing this since I’m usually only gone for a few days or so. This trip to AZ was 9 days and with two little ones, I couldn’t successfully work that far ahead.
So that left me with option C – don’t get paid. I had a great month in April so I knew missing out on a few opportunities wasn’t going to be the end of the world. I emailed my clients and let them know the dates I’d be gone and told them I wouldn’t be able to complete any assignments during that time. For my “regular” clients with steady work, I was able to work ahead. I have a few clients that email me on an as-needed basis, so it was those ones that I reached out to. While I missed working and am happy to be back, the break was much needed.
Advantages of taking a blog break (or freelance break)
I was able to focus on my family. I spent tons of time with my kids, my parents, my brother and sister, and my husband. Really, those are the things that matter in life and I wanted to cherish the time that I had with everyone. Had I been blogging or working during that time, my focus would have been elsewhere.
I was able to clear my head. It was really nice to not have to think, worry or stress about anything other than what I was doing in any given moment. I actually didn’t even open my computer the first five days we were there and it felt wonderful. It was nice to truly live in the moment for over a week.
I thought about my long-term goals. Sometimes, we get so caught up in working that we lose sight of our end goal. Or, perhaps our goals change but we feel so “stuck” in what we’re doing that we don’t even realize it. For me, my goals are slightly changing. I still want to blog and I still want to freelance, but I want to branch out into topics other than just finance and freelancing. I love love love finance and freelancing, but I also love parenting, I love marriage and relationships, I love finding ways to simplify my life, I love finding ways to enjoy life…really I just love life 😉 But I do want to try writing in a few different niches in addition to what I’m doing now. I also have a few goals outside of freelancing/blogging that I plan on completing in the next few months.
I feel more appreciative of my work. I’m not going to lie, yesterday was our first full day back at home and I thought about throwing in the towel with working from home while running a house and raising two little girls. Our day was packed with errands, laundry and getting back into our routine. I felt unmotivated and wasn’t sure how I was going to get my motivation back. Today, though, that all changed. I dropped the girls off at daycare and immediately wanted to work. I completeled almost everything on my to-do list for the week (don’t worry, it’s short, haha) and am in the process of applying for some new freelancing jobs. Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I’m excited for what’s to come!
When you travel or need to take a break, do you work ahead, reduce your workload or not work at all, like I did?
photo credit: Flickr via Moyan Brenn