by Meghan Bliss | Featured Contributor
‘Tis the season for stuffed turkey, twinkling lights, catchy carols, and pumpkin-flavored everything.
It’s also the season for some time off from work.
Some people get plenty of paid time off around the holidays while others get very little. But what are freelancers and small business owners supposed to do? If there’s one thing I do envy about 9-to-5ers, it’s paid leave. Many freelancers don’t have the luxury of taking two solid weeks off from work, fully paid, without having to check in to keep things running. On the other hand, most freelancers do have the luxury of setting up multiple passive income streams so they can take time off whenever they want, not just around the holidays.
If you’re new to freelancing or small business ownership, however, you’ll most likely have to work around the holidays to keep generating an income. Here’s how to work the holidays without losing your mind:
Remember that you work for yourself. You may have clients and projects and deadlines to meet, but there’s nobody hovering over your shoulder directing your every move. You work for yourself. Ultimately, you’re the one who decides whether you start your workday at 4 a.m. or 4 p.m. You get to decide whether to work overtime in November so you can take December off, or whether to keep it slow and steady. Take control of your schedule so it suits your holiday season.
Set a schedule to stay focused. Speaking of taking control of your schedule, if you can set a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule, it’ll be easier to stay focused on each day as it comes. Additionally, it’ll help you focus on one task at a time, one day at a time, until you finish a project or meet a goal. A scheduled work life helps prevent overwhelm. It also prevents guilt when you stop at the end of the day to relax, knowing you’re still on track to meet your deadlines.
Know what’s coming and plan accordingly. Do you have a huge project due right after Christmas? Try to finish it before Christmas so you can enjoy the holiday without stress. Heading out of town for New Year’s Eve? Let your clients and customers know and finish as much as you can before your trip. Even if it seems hectic now, you’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief when it’s over (and when you can enjoy your trip guilt-free).
Build breaks into your daily and weekly schedule. Whether you’re sitting in front of a computer screen or interacting with customers all day, doing the same thing for hours is physically and mentally taxing. Build breaks into your day so you can get away from your laptop, phone, or storefront. Go for a walk, get some coffee, read a book, or treat yourself to a massage for the holidays. Do whatever it takes (within reason) to boost your productivity and keep you feeling refreshed.
Stop focusing on money. This one is much easier said than done, especially around the holidays. (Believe me, I’m the queen of worrying about money.) Whether you love your job or not, the main reason most of us work is to pay our bills, save for retirement, and afford life in general — and great gifts for our loved ones, of course! Even though the holiday season is a time of financial stress for many of us, it should also be a good reminder to focus on what matters besides money, such as family, fellowship, and giving back to our loved ones and those in need. If you’re worried about money right now — especially if you’re worried about money right now — take the holiday season to focus on the abundance that already exists in your life.
Whether you’re relaxing during the holidays or working non-stop, take some time to enjoy yourself and your loved ones and to practice gratitude. Your business is something to be grateful for, even if it’s brand new. And remember that with the right amount of planning and discipline, you can work during the holidays without losing your mind.