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by Nick Usborne
I’m writing this on December 4th, just three weeks away from Christmas Day, and less than a month before the New Year.
This time of year can be particularly stressful for freelancers. (I know, the holiday season can get pretty stressful for just about everybody.)
But freelancers have a few extra things to worry about...because we don’t have that weekly or monthly salary check coming into our accounts.
It’s an expensive time of year, so we need to keep working. But on the other hand, we also want to take some well-deserved time off to spend with family and friends.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the holiday season:
1. Be sure that you DO take some time off.
There have been years when I have pretty much worked through the holiday season, with the exception of Christmas Day itself.
Why? Because I was worried about losing income. And I was worried about telling clients I wouldn’t be available.
But in hindsight, it was always a mistake not to take more time off. It meant I entered the new year feeling tired, instead of refreshed.
2. Let your clients know of your holiday plans well in advance.
If you have some ongoing projects which will extend beyond the holiday season, be sure to let your clients know of your plans. Warn them in advance about the dates you will be away, and agree a schedule of what needs to be completed before your break, and what can be tackled after you get back.
3. Use your time off wisely.
First of all, enjoy yourself. Turn off your computer. Don’t just use your time off to catch up on administrative tasks and accounting. Give yourself a real break. Even if it means a week or two of extra hours to do afterwards.
Enjoy the holiday. Refresh yourself.
Also, use this time off to create a little distance from your work. Look at what you have been doing and how you have been working from a new perspective.
What do I mean? Well, each year I use the break over Christmas and the New Year as a time to reflect on what I have been doing the year before.
Have I been working efficiently? Are there some clients I should let go? Are there different kinds of new projects I would rather be working on?
Also, consider what has been changing in the area of business you serve. Are there new opportunities you could be exploring?
4. A rare time for reflection.
For most of the year it is all too easy to suffer from tunnel vision, just working on one assignment after another, and never taking time to see the bigger picture.
Use the holiday season to step back and look at your business. Consider new directions, new opportunities. Give thought to the kind of work you enjoy most, and find more of it. If you can, let go the kind of jobs you don’t enjoy.
And look for where the money is. Are you missing or ignoring opportunities to increase your income in enjoyable and maybe easier ways?
In conclusion...take a break, relax and plan your year ahead...with a view to making more money and enjoying your work more.
Related learning materials:
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