Even though we can work from anywhere and can dictate our own schedules, it’s not often that we allow ourselves to take non-working holidays, especially ones where we’ll be completely off the grid with no phone or internet access at all.
I never thought about this issue until about eight months ago when I got engaged. In another month, we’re going on a Caribbean cruise for our honeymoon, and I have no idea if I’ll even have a phone, much less internet access. But then again, do I really want to?
I don’t know about you guys, but it’s insanely difficult for me to stay away from the computer and work. Even when I’m not working on client work, I’m always checking emails, Twitter, Facebook, writing blogs or shopping online. This makes me wonder how I’m going to survive almost two weeks without the internet.
Is it possible? What will happen to my clients? What if I come home and there’s no business left? These are just some of the scary thoughts one might have after running a very successful and busy business for a few years.
I’ve done a lot of research and planning to make sure nothing goes wrong while I’m going and to make sure I still have a business left when I come back. Here’s how to take your vacation without any electronic devices tying you to the grid.
The Need for Technology
The hardest thing for any techy freelancer going on vacation, is going to be staying away from the internet. Even if they do provide free wifi where you’re going, you should really avoid using it. Personally I do plan on using it (if they have it on our boat) to post pictures of our trip to Facebook and Twitter, but I refuse to check my emails or anything else business related.
It’s tough, I know, but we have to resist the urge. I know people who go on “vacations”–only to be stuck in their rooms working the same as if they were at home! People with full-time jobs don’t work while on vacation, and neither should you.
Treat Your Vacation Like a Client
Block out your schedule for your vacation as if you were planning a big client schedule during that day. This makes sure you don’t forget the date and accidentally schedule anything during it.
It’s also a good idea not to schedule any work the week before you leave, in order to give you plenty of time to finish projects that are already in progress.
Save the Money
Don’t forget that you don’t get vacation pay. Make sure you’ll have enough money for not only the vacation, but the time you’ll take off from working as well.
You’ll also want to make sure any bills won’t come due while you’re gone, as you may really not have any internet or phone service. Pay them ahead of time so you can enjoy your vacation worry-free.
Warn Your Clients
About two or three months ahead of time, give your clients a heads up that you’re going to be unavailable during your vacation days. This allows both you and the client to plan around those days and it gives the client plenty of time, so you don’t surprise them at the last minute if they need you, and also so you don’t lose work.
It’s also a good idea to remind them a couple of weeks ahead of time, and to also set an auto-responder so they don’t forget. The last thing you want is a client emailing you about an emergency and then wondering where you are your whole vacation. The worst thing about a vacation could be coming home to an angry client.
Let the client know that they will have absolutely no way of getting a-hold of you during that time. It may be tough cutting ties with your clients, but remember, it’s only temporary and they will wait.
The week that you return from your vacation is going to be a tough one. You have to get back in the work mode, unpack, and catch up on your daily routines before you even think about returning to the office.
After you do return, you’ll be faced with hundreds (or even thousands if you’re me–hah!) of emails, voice mails, tweets and everything else. This means it might be best if you don’t schedule much or any work the week after your vacation as well, so you have time to catch up on what happened in the world while you were gone.
Will My Business Disappear?
It’s important to remember that just because you’re going to be off the grid for a couple of weeks, doesn’t mean you’ll disappear online. The online world moves at such a fast pace, it’s frightening to disconnect for awhile for fear of being forgotten or replaced.
While your business may certainly disappear if you’re gone for too long, you’ll most likely be okay. Just remember, the most famous of us take vacations as well, and they have a harder time staying in the spotlight than we do.
How do you prepare for a vacation?
Image by Martin Fisch