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Not the 9 to 5: working on holiday
This summer was my first as a freelancing business-owner (eeek) and we have been fortunate enough to have had a couple of holidays planned. Both of which involved doting grandparents who are always happy to lend a hand and spend quality time with the smalls. One holiday was sadly sans husband as he had a date with 18 men in Ibiza!
We’ve always been keen travellers and have enjoyed so many trips together, and as a family. Beach-hopping in Thailand; touring Texas; taking in the clean air of Quebec; not-so-relaxing Italian road-trips, NY, NY. We love it. The kids have been brought up doing it. I can’t see us stopping anytime soon.
I’ve been blessed with two long and generous maternity leaves, as has my husband (his company offer incredible paternity packages!). But in the ‘real world’ we’ve always looked at holidays and weekends aways as a break from work. As an escape from the rat race. A time to switch off and forget work. Our colleagues take the workload on and we can log off mentally and physically.
But now things have taken a turn, and I can’t really just switch off as it’s my business!
I could pop on my out of office, email my clients and turn my email notifications off. I could, but the thing is, I don’t really want to.
Of course I’ve scheduled my social, notified clients, been pretty efficient in getting work done before my trip. But part of me doesn’t want to go off grid. I absolutely adore my business and I’m so lucky to have it in the shape it is after 10 months. I actually enjoy my work and I’ve just bagged a new London-based client who I’m excited to be working with. So, with support from the always-patient husband, I took some work on holiday with me. If you’re wondering how this could work for you, here are my tips:
- Dim the brightness, grab a bottle of wine, and settle down once the kids are in bed. On our first trip we were on a cruise which meant we were pretty constrained to the cabin once the smalls were down. My parents helpfully carried my wine back to the room while I did the bedtime routine!
- Break your tasks down into bite-sized pieces: 15 minute jobs. This way, if the kids have a long nap or are whisked away by angelic grandparents, you can take satisfaction in getting something done without the panic of having to completely finish it
- Find a space where you are comfortable and can relax into work mode. My first spot for a conference call was by a busy thoroughfare with noisy chairs and lots of chat. The next time I chose a cosy sofa with a plug point on-hand with less commotion and I managed to get so much more done!
- Limit your workload. Don’t take a list you’d usually get through in a normal week. Set yourself some goals and work when you feel it will work for you all of you. If you’re enjoying a pina colada by the pool, keep enjoying it. And take a notebook as I promise you, you’ll have so many ideas for your business and your clients while you’re feeling relaxed and recharged
- Try and achieve things you don’t necessarily prioritise as your mind will be lighter and clearer. I worked on a social enterprise piece for a new client which was a new approach for me and I felt energised and excited
And do you know what? If you’re not feeling it, just leave it at home. You’ll have plenty of time for work once you’re back in the real world. Next for us is a Disney Cruise and I CAN’T WAIT. I have a feeling I’ll be leaving the laptop at home for that one….