Dear Freelancer: It’s OK to Take a Day Off (And 6 Ways It Will Improve Your Career)
I’m about to utter six precious words that many freelancers rarely get the opportunity to voice.
I took a three-day weekend.
Sure, I take days off, but when you’re self-employed you’re always thinking about the next pitch, project, headline or email that needs to fly off your keyboard. It’s all part of the gig.
But, it’s draining.
As a freelancer, I can attest to how easy it is to work a half-day on Saturday or sneak in a few extra hours at my desk after a full workday. You don’t realize you haven’t had a full day off until you get intentional about fully disconnecting.
Skipping days off work is bad for your health
When was the last time you took a full 24-hours away from your work email, social media accounts and writing software? Yeah. It’s probably been awhile, right?
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation explains the combo of working long days and skipping vacations is what’s fueling our stress levels, and in turn affects our physical and mental health. Specifically, stress can lead to:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- immune system issues
- sleep problems
- stomach issues
- memory problems
- poor decision-making
- anxiety disorders
We need to manage our stress better as a self-employed workforce. I’ve struggled with finding balance between days off and deadlines, but have slowly discovered the best way to get uninterrupted time away from work tasks is to…schedule time off just as I would schedule a work task.
I block off days on my work calendar so when I’m scheduling new projects, I can see at a glance which days are open and which ones are not. I can better estimate whether or not I have the time (and mental energy) to take on a new project and when I will be able to work on it. This sounds simple. But if…