One of the greatest draws of freelancing is the freedom and flexibility that it offers. However, maintaining work-life balance as a freelancer comes with its own set of challenges.
For independent contractors, the line between the personal and the professional is never 100% clear. Everyone’s heard about the supposed benefits of freelancing (no commuting, you can work in your pajamas, etc.) – but it’s exactly this inherent lack of boundaries and structure that often leads to frustration, stress, and burnout. A recent survey from Inc. found that remote workers are more likely to work longer weekly hours than their in-office counterparts, with 53% saying they put in over 40 hours when working remotely. Situations like this might make freelancers believe that taking time off is impossible, but all you really need is a little planning and communication. Here’s how to go about it.
Plan for everything
Taking time off as a freelancer usually means putting in more hours ahead of your vacation AND after you return. Don’t make it harder on yourself by trying to do everything at the last minute. Your clients will also appreciate the notice – working as a contractor is all about maintaining relationships with the people who hire you, and that means being reliable and conscientious and considerate of their needs and goals. Do that, and they’ll be more likely to reciprocate – even the most demanding clients will understand that you need some time off.
Arrange for some backup
When you need some time away, don’t be afraid to delegate some projects to other professionals in your field. Letting someone take the excess work off your hands is a great way to offload some stress – just remember to make sure that your colleague’s work reflects well on you, so that you don’t have to come back from vacation and smooth any ruffled feathers.
Avoid communication breakdowns
Looping your clients in on your vacation plans will build trust, so send them an email as soon as you’re planning to take time off, even if you haven’t chosen the exact dates yet. Follow up when you know exactly when you’ll be away, and don’t forget to set up your out-of-office message so that nobody thinks you’re ignoring them.
A lack of paid time off is one of freelancing’s biggest downsides, but you can lessen the financial hit by making a budget and sticking to it. A budget will help you absorb the loss of income that results from not working during your time off. If your income fluctuates a lot, it’s a good idea to establish a fixed percentage of your income for a vacation fund.
The Argos way
At Argos Multilingual, we care about the people we collaborate with, and we understand that even the best freelancers need to take some time off. We’ve always encouraged our employees and partners to take the time off they need to look after their health and well-being, and we feel strongly that looking out for our people results in higher levels of dedication and motivation. Visit us online to find out more about what it’s like to work with us.