Today’s guest post comes to you from Alex Fayle of Someday Syndrome, whose good work in the world makes sure that freelancer burnout becomes a thing of the past.
Please welcome our personal vacation agent and check out what might happen to you when youtake time off – even if you can’t let go of work.
Honestly, I never thought it would come to this. It all started so simply, with a small off-the-cuff comment. I had no intention of it going any further.
It was all James’ fault. I couldn’t help myself. I mean, exactly what could I do when he mentioned that he felt too busy to take time off and that he hadn’t even taken a vacation in six years?
Saying something like that to me – the Someday Syndrome Mentor! – is like waving a red cape in front of a Spanish bull.
Of course I charged at that waving red cape. James and I talked about how his business had become a runaway train, and how he needed to plan a freelancer vacation, find support and work while traveling.
But did I expect anything to happen? Not really. A six-year habit of working non-stop is a hard one to break.
Yes, I poked and prodded and even opened up a Freelancer Vacation Clinic to help other freelancers going through the same issues as James, but I didn’t actually think James would follow through and book the vacation.
I was wrong. And I’ve never been happier.
We now have a whole new James who sees how much money the business pulls in (rather than how much more he needs) and who even follows friends into tattoo and piercing parlours (rather than racing back to work all super-stressed).
Heck, two days after his trip to Toronto (in which he dealt with a train strike and an impromptu road trip with admirable calmness) and returning home, he even had guests for a week!
And as you read this, James is currently traveling on his second vacation (though you probably wouldn’t even notice he’s gone).
This is NOT the James I had my first conversation with six months ago about being too busy.
So, just how did all this happen? And more importantly how did taking a vacation change the way James thinks about work?
It all began with James’ desire to vacation in Gaspé. After carefully planning exactly where to go, how much it would cost, when to go and starting to put aside the money for the trip, he got a call from Naomi at IttyBiz who told him Toronto was the place to be because she’d be there.
Decision made. No fuss, no worries, but then again James is like that. Once a decision is over with, there are no regrets. It’s time to move forward. The details of making arrangements happened easily because the hardest part of taking a freelancer vacation – the decision to go – was over with. Done.
James had a ton of fun with the Ittybiz empire, but that’s not the important part. What James discovered while on vacation is:
There’s a LOT of crap I don’t have to do. Seriously.
That’s a direct quote, by the way.
James took my advice and delegated, planned and cut back. He did take his laptop along on the trip, and by working only a few hours a day, he did everything he needed to do.
That led him to wonder: How much of what he does in a day is really necessary, and how much more of it is pure filler?
Here are few other things James learned:
I came back WAY more relaxed and WAY more interested in getting outside, seeing people, walking around and relaxing – because that’s what I was doing on vacation and I enjoyed it.
I realized I *could* do those things and don’t feel so stuck to my computer anymore. I also realized I work more than I have to and that there’s a lot of non-important stuff that could be eliminated.
I feel more capable, freer, more able, more relaxed, more self-reliant and victorious. Even my neighbors upstairs say that I seem to have left the real me behind and come back a new person. They say I’m tanned, smiling and looking like I’m taking more breaks.
James did have extra work to deal with when he returned, due to putting some items in a “deal with later” folder, but he figured out he didn’t need to do it all at once and within mere days. He could work on it more slowly, and be happier because of it.
This is important: How many of you freelancers fill your life with unnecessary fluff and unimportant “must-dos”, like hours on Twitter, reading hundreds of feeds, chasing ideas you’ll never finish and putting off the dreams you need to address?
I’d say a lot of you.
I take vacations all the time. Just this month, I lay on a beach in the Canary Islands, enjoying one of those REAL vacations – the kind where I’m doing nothing work related. I left my computer at home and only checked in only to make sure the technology supporting my website didn’t blow up.
I prescheduled new releases to my newsletter mailing lists. I didn’t bother creating prescheduled blog posts. My clients knew I was away and we adapted our work around the time off. Systems were in place to draw people into the sales funnel despite my absence, and my administrative systems were all set up to tell people what to expect.
So, while I’m uber-happy that James finally started taking time off to come back to his job, career and business completely refreshed, my work isn’t quite done. I’ll keep up with the poking and prodding. With luck (and persistence) the next time James takes a vacation, he’ll leave the laptop at home.
And now, what about you? When is your next vacation? How did you feel when you came home? Did you discover anything new about yourself or your life while away?
You have all the help and support you want to finally enjoy the time off you need – and it’s totally free. Just click here to sign up for the Freelancer Vacation Clinic