Take Time Off in your Creative Business & Prepare for Vacation
As a web designer, I find it difficult to take time off in my creative business…let alone taking a vacation! But sometimes you NEED TO. Since I have kids, many times they dictate my schedule. I’m a full time business owner, so I’m able to create a schedule that changes based on my needs.
In the summer, my kiddos are around more than the school year. So I find myself slowing down out of necessity with less time to get the work done. But when I step back to take a breather, something magical happens. My thoughts become more lucid and my body relaxes for a much needed break. It’s super important to slow down and take a break…we’re not machines! I know that when I return to my creative work, I’m more energized, have more creative ideas and get more work done.
In this post, I’m going to provide tips on how to take time off in your creative business (anytime!) Sometimes the extra R+R can energize you. When you return to client work or start your next project…you’ll be ready!
If you’re not able to take a bigger break, here’s a couple tips for slowing down during the work week.
- Schedule two hours during your “normal” office hours to do something fun. I sneak away with my friend for lunch and a quick trip to the mall.
- Take a break in the middle of the day for a walk or workout. I walk around my neighborhood to clear my mind & get ready for the next project.
- Reduce your client work and schedule time to work on your own projects. I recently took two whole days off to redo my blog with a new theme!
- If you’re feeling anxious, just remember to breathe. Meditation, stretching or music can help to reduce stress.
Why You Need a Creative Break
I feel stressed that I’m not accomplishing as much as before, but that’s okay. During the year, I work anywhere from 8-10 hours a day (sometimes more if I have a major deadline). But for the summer, I’m planning on 6-8 hours a day (maybe less during some weeks). And I only book one major project for the summer. We have a short summer season in Michigan, so I need to enjoy the great weather and extra time with family while it lasts!
If you’ve decided to take time off in your creative business and cut back your hours for several weeks (or longer), I have some tips:
- Cut down on the number of hours you set aside for client work (or reduce your number of projects for a period of time).
During the year, I work 25-30 hours per week on client projects, so I cut back to about 15-20 hours per week during summer.
- Take on less projects.
For the summer, I take on one big project and some smaller projects to fill the gaps.
- Limit your meetings with clients or other folks.
I schedule 1-3 meetings per week max (& provide project updates to my clients by email).
- Block a couple hours per day for important tasks such as invoicing, collections, paying bills etc.
You must keep up with the daily tasks of running your business. Enough said.
My friend and colleague, Holly McCaig, was recently rushed for emergency surgery. She’s a branding expert with a kick butt blog…but after surgery she needed to SLOW.IT.DOWN. She took a break, but her business kept going. She already scheduled her blog posts and social media for the week, so she was able to recover from surgery and not work.
Click here for Holly’s Ultimate Guide to Scheduling Social Media (ahead of time):Holly's ultimate guide for scheduling social media - Free Social Media Worksheet Click To Tweet
How to Automate your Work Before Vacation
If you’re going on an extended vacation (I know some folks who take the whole month of July off)…then plan ahead so your business doesn’t suffer. Maybe that’s writing a few extra blog posts, scheduling your social media in advance or sending out extra client emails to let them know your plans ahead of time. I would love to take the whole month of July off, but I’m not quite there yet!
Here’s some tips for automating your work ahead of time to prepare your creative business for vacation:
- Write, edit and schedule your blog posts ahead of time.
If you know you’re going on vacation for a week, you can schedule your blog posts in advance with CoSchedule (affiliate link) or Buffer.
- You can also schedule your social media ahead of time.
I prefer CoSchedule or Buffer for creating and scheduling my social media messages in advance.
- Set a vacation autoresponder to let folks know that you’ll be gone, so they don’t expect an immediate response.
I use Google Apps to create the email autoresponder under settings.
- For projects you’re working on, send an email to the Client a week before your vacation and let them know you’ll be out of the office.
I also send emails to my regular clients, to let them know my schedule.
You need to make a plan that works for you. If you’re feeling overworked and stressed, maybe it’s time to take a break for a day or two. I know you’ll feel so much better after taking time off in your creative business!
TAKE ACTION NOW
1. Write a to-do list for your business (before vacation)
2. Set your out of office email autoresponder
3. Send emails to your clients with active projects ahead of time
4. Make a plan to take time off in your creative business (you ARE worth it!)
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”