There was a question in a Facebook group recently asking business owners if we plan to take time off over Christmas.
While I wanted to say you should take time off over the Christmas break, I stopped. It’s not that you should take time off this time of year, but that freelance writers must take time off work at some point. When and where you decide to take that time off is completely up to you.
Time off writing is so important. Most of your clients will likely expect you to take time off this time of year, but it really depends on whether you celebrate Christmas or not. You may want to take earlier in December off or January may be your preferred holiday season. There are just so many holiday periods around the world and in different religions.
So why must writers take some time off from their busy schedules? Surely your blog and your business need you around 24/7. Well, that’s not the case and here are my top five reasons why freelance writers must take time off work.
Your Brain, Body, and Soul Need You to Take a Break
You’re not productive when you work flat out all the time. Without a break, your brain and body just start to give up. Your soul starts to feel like you’re dying.
Even if you love your business and your writing, over time you will need to escape it and spend some time doing something for fun.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll step completely away from your business, but take time away from your clients. During breaks I usually get a lot of blog post ideas. This is my chance to make a note of ideas of blog posts and courses. Inspiration will hit you when you’re refreshed and ready to take in the ideas.
Your whole body will thank you too and your mind will feel more positive. You’ll stop worrying about what you’ll have to deal with day after day, especially if you have PITA clients.
Your body will need the time off too. If you constantly sit at a desk typing away all day, you’re likely to struggle with health problems. If I work too much, my wrists start to hurt a lot. If I let the pain continue, I can be left unable to work for days. So it’s in my best interests to take time off writing regularly.
Your Family Wants to See You
Even if you don’t have family living with you, those that live away from you will want to see you. Don’t have family? What about friends?
You need to get out and socialize. If you’re not a big socializing person, you can spend some time talking to people you know on group forums and social media accounts.
It’s all about getting that work-life balance. I used to not take a day off work at all. It was my mother-in-law who told me I had to go with her and her family to the beach one Easter Sunday because she was fed up of seeing me work all the time. That was a bit of a wakeup call that I needed.
You Become a More Productive Writer
I’ve already said that when you don’t take a break you become less productive. I didn’t really explain why.
We always seem to think that taking breaks stop us from being productive. We think that we’ll get less done because we have less time. Well that couldn’t be further from the truth.
When you take time off, you give your mind the rest it needs. Returning to work more awake and ready to tackle problems will give you the chance to see problems from a new perspective. You may even get the ideas while you’re having your vacation, so you’ll need to make a note of solutions you’ve found.
Your Clients Need to Know You’re Not Always Available
If you’re always around for your clients, they will expect that from you every single day. They expect you to be able to handle emergency projects and take on work that other freelance writers can’t do, because you’ve already set a precedent.
Even if you’re not taking a completely business break, you want to take a break from clients. You want to get away from answering emails and being at the beck and call in Facebook groups.
Your clients need to know that you do take time off. They need to know that you’re human and should be treated that way.
Working all the time is a sure-fire way to get a PITA clients. Trust me!
You Have Time to Rethink Your Priorities
Is your writing still a priority? Is the type of writing you’re doing still something that you want to do?
It’s very easy for us to lose track of our goals and our visions. We lose track of the type of writer we want to be or the type of clients we want to serve. Sure, we need to make money writing but we also want to be true to ourselves and our priorities.
When you take time off your business, you will have a chance to rethink your priorities. You can reassess your goals and make sure you’re working towards them as much as possible. You can reassess the schedule and the plan to make sure they both work towards your rethought out priorities.
Freelance writers must take time off work. If you don’t, you run the risk of health problems, PITA clients, and doing down the wrong path for your business. It could be the Christmas period that you take time off or you may choose another time of year.
I like to take four weeks off spread out across the year to fully recuperate and enjoy time with my family and will always have weekends off. What about you?