Even though your family may have the day off, the freelance lifestyle might mean you have work to do.
As Christmas approaches and I get ready to travel, I'm reminded that sometimes the freelance lifestyle doesn't always lead to the same relaxation and time off you get with a “real” job. Running a home business, even one as simple and straightforward as freelancing, often leads to times when you're working while the rest of your family is having fun.
Unlike a sick day as a home business owner, a vacation day for everyone else is a little depressing. You still have to get something done, but everyone around you is playing video games or getting ready to go out to eat. These days, now that I'm divorced and my son is grown, I have fewer problems like this.
But back in the day, there were things I had to do with my freelance lifestyle to cope when my family was having fun, and I still had to bring in the money.
5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Freelance Lifestyle When Your Family is on Vacation
I love the freelance lifestyle, but it comes with some harsh truths. One of those is that you don't always get a day off. At least, you don't in the same others do. If your family members have the day off and you don't, you need to figure out how to make it all work.
Always with a home business, the workload must be prioritized. On days when you know you won't get as much done, it's doubly important that your workload be prioritized. Finish the most important items first, and answer the most pressing emails immediately. You can put off some of your work until the next day when your family returns to work and school, and you have a little more time on your own.
If you're on an extended vacation or taking a trip, consider blocking off time first thing in the morning. These days, solo travel is common, but sometimes I have a companion. When I travel with someone else, I make it a point to work first thing. Sometimes I get up a little early. But the most important tasks are done before we take off for the day.
2. Be Flexible
While I like to get as much work done during the day as possible, there are times when I have to shift the workload to the evening. I needed to move things around when my family was home all day. This means that I sometimes work at night after the festivities of the day have ended.
Sometimes, I get up an hour or two earlier than I normally would ensuring that the most important items are taken care of first.
Don't get so caught up in your schedule that you can't move things around to take advantage of time with family and friends.
3. Bring Your Laptop
If you have a more portable device, you can bring it along. On one adventure, my family was involved in a drive that required half an hour both ways. I brought my laptop along and worked while we were in the car. In the past, I used to sit in the front room on the couch. That way, I wasn't t holed up in my office. I was available for my son and husband and participated (although it slows down the work) in conversation. While I wouldn't suggest you spend all your time on the laptop, you can get in a little more work if your family guests understand that you need to get something done.
4. Work Ahead
If you know a vacation day is coming, work ahead. When my son was younger, I integrated his school calendar into my schedule. I knew his breaks were. My ex-husband was in school for much of our marriage. I kept track of his days off as well. Looking ahead helped me prepare. Sometimes that meant cramming a little extra work on Saturday while my ex and son slept in. That way, I'd be ready for the school holiday.
Unfortunately, with the freelance lifestyle, you don't get paid if you don't work. So you need to find ways to work around that.
5. Help Your Family Understand
Your family might have a hard time understanding that just because they have the day off doesn't mean that you do. A home business owner often has at least a few things to take care of daily — even if it's only checking up on a few things and answering some emails. Sometimes, a home business owner might have a lot to do.
Explain to your family that you enjoy spending time with them but that you still have a lot of work to do. Show them that you can take breaks, and even spend part of the day having fun but that you will need to spend an hour or two on your home business. Most of the time, they'll understand.
What do you do on days that your family has time off and you still have to run your home business or finish some freelance work?
Image source: Wojciech Kowalski via Wikimedia Commons