Freelancing My Way to a Real Vacation

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on July 19, 2012 in Work at Home Parents
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I have a bit of a confession to make. I haven’t gone on a real vacation in about ten years. I know. Shoot me now.

I do have some good reasons for the lack of travel. My husband is a homebody so he’s not struck with wanderlust. When I do travel, I’m usually going to see family for a few days with plenty of obligations along with a bit of fun. We went to Disney World for a day…since we were in town already to see a family member in ICU and it turns out the hospital isn’t a great place for two kids under six. See? Not a vacation.

Well, this is the year – I’m going on a real vacation and the most complicated part is seems is actually making time for the trip in my freelance schedule.

I’m not a workaholic per se. I enjoy writing part-time and I’m off the teaching gig for the summer so it should be easy to enjoy time off. Somehow, however, it’s stressful trying to arrange my work schedule to leave me about nine days away from the computer all in one go.

It’s practically unheard of in my universe to take that much time away. It seems work has become a true habit, and habits, as we know, can be hard to break.

But I’m going to make it work!


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(A side note – I didn’t even take nine days off when I had my second son. I was working four days after a c-section delivery. Seriously…it’s vacation time!

Doubling Up

This isn’t an option for everyone, especially those of you already working at maximum pace, but to make room in the freelance schedule, I’m cramming two weeks of work into one week. Fortunately, I was already very part-time with the writing career so I had some wiggle room built in.

Tonight is a normal schedule, but things pick up the pace as the week go on so that I can fulfill all of my obligations for this week and next before I leave. I refuse to put things off for when I get back – that time is already full with other obligations anyhow, and I don’t want anything hanging over my head destroying my fun.

Maximize Efficiencies

While I’m planning to do twice as much work as normal, I’m really doing the same things twice as much in the same amount of time. For example, I normally write three blog posts per week on a client’s blog. Now I’ll be writing six.

I have arranged everything to double up the same types of things on the same day when possible so that I’m able to scale my operations and maximize efficiencies. Those of you who write ten articles on some random keyword already know what I’m talking about.

I’ll write six blogs for one blog in a similar vein without breaking my train of thought tomorrow. Then, the next day I’ll do six more for a different blog in a different area and so on. This throws off my normal arrangement of work per day, but it makes it easier to write similar things without having to throw my brain into a new direction every hour or so.

Alert Clients

I’ll have to alert clients that I’m leaving town for a bit, but I do plan on bringing the iPhone along for email and necessities. I won’t be bringing a laptop, by choice, so giving clients a head’s up ahead of time is not only responsible, it’s very professional as well.

I can certainly answer emails and handle some quick questions from a mountain lodge, but I won’t be doing any revisions next week or last minute articles and posts – those need to be on the schedule now or wait until I get back.

Enjoy the Time Off

As freelancers we have more flexibility than other working individuals, but with that freedom comes a dark lining. We aren’t limited to how much we can make and there isn’t paid vacation unless you built it into the schedule. The more you work, the more money you make and the same is true in reverse. Once you get in a groove, it’s hard to turn off the writing machine in your mind.

Fortunately, by doing all of my work ahead of time, planning carefully and staying in touch with clients as needed, I’ll be able to turn off that part of my brain for over a week and just relax and enjoy being with my family in the mountains.

I’m honestly still amazed that I’ve finally been able to make something like this work. And I plan to do it again very soon!

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Rebecca is a full-time everything. She teaches English and reading to her much loved, if challenging, high school students during the day and is a freelance education writer in the evenings. With almost ten years in the classroom and advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca specializes in materials that inform, educate and entertain. Rebecca indulges herself by pretending to have spare time and writing about the ups and downs of being a freelancing mama whenever she gets a chance.

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6 Comments

  1. Lori July 19, 2012 Reply

    Careful, Rebecca. Every time I let clients know I’m leaving, they pile the work on the day before! LOL It’s the only time I say no.

    Do yourself a favor — don’t check the phone. Disconnect completely until the day before you come back. You’ll be glad you did. :)

  2. Lissie July 20, 2012 Reply

    Wow – frankly only in the America! I’ve just come back from 2 weeks away and am planning 6 week jaunt to Burma at the end of the year which will definitely be me off grid. If I don’t get overseas at least once a year I get VERY unhappy

    • Allena July 24, 2012 Reply

      My husband is from Mexico and says the same thing! I am now well-trained in the art of vacationing- sometimes with work and sometimes without. In the 2 years we’ve done Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, DC, NYC, Colonial Williamsberg, Mexico including Guadalajara, Vallarta and the middle mountains where his family has a small ranch, Mackinac Island, Cedar Point, Niagara Falls, Great Wolf Lodge, camping, skiing, kayaking. About half included work, and the rest not so much. I’ve worked out of internet cafes that were basically someone’s garage with dial up in rural Mexico, finished an aritcle on the north side of Mackinac Island on the back of a bicycle, and translated for regular clients twice on the Atlantic ocean.

      In rereading this I must say- this is NOT to brag, but more of a comment on the US state of vacationing. In summer, if we’re not in Mexico, we’re gone every other weekend. Even three day jaunts are renewing :)

      • Jennifer Mattern July 25, 2012 Reply

        Those three-day jaunts are a lifesaver for me. Fortunately I’m off Fridays, so only hubby has to take off for us to be able to get away. Our favorite getaway is CT, and we’ve been talking about taking another trip up there not too far in the future. We’re planning on another in October. It’s one thing to be “off.” But to really feel that way and relax, actually being away can make a big difference.

  3. Amandah July 20, 2012 Reply

    I agree with Lissie, only in America. My dad worked in the auto industry and told us his ‘counterpart’ in Europe received six weeks of vacation whereas in America we only receive two. He always said Europeans know how to live and enjoy life. It’s not all about WORKING.

    My vacation plans

    I’m keeping the faith I’ll spend my birthday in Edinburgh, Scotland the first week of August so I can take part in the opening festivities for Edinburgh International Fringe Festival.

    Of course, I’d love to be in London for the Olympics and check out the East and West End along with some off beaten sites such as Winston Churchill’s underground office and the remains of Roman London’s amphitheatre (coliseum). And then there’s Europe…

    I love travel!

  4. Lori July 23, 2012 Reply

    Amandah, I want you vacation. BADLY. I’ve been trying for years to get to the Fringe.

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