Freelancers, especially creatives, often derive much of their personal identity from their work. So there’s not only a sense of guilt that comes from not working around the clock, but sometimes a crisis of self as well.
The idea of giving yourself time off can be a tough pill to swallow but you should instead look at it like it’s your responsibility to your business—to your clients—to take time off. You need to recharge to be successful in your work.
That’s what time off is for. It’ll make you a much better, more creative, smarter freelancer.
If you’re self-employed, chances are you’ve struggled with letting yourself take time off. It’s understandable! Time is money, after all, and when your income depends on having clients, it’s hard not to feel like there’s always something to do: if you’re not working on an assignment, you should be hustling for more work. Even when you’re operating at full bandwidth, the pressure to “keep up” with industry news, opportunities, and your peers is real—and so is guilt of taking time off.
Your value is not in the number of hours you’re willing to work, it’s in the quality of the work you create. That’s what’s going to keep you in business.
That guilt really has two sources. First, there’s the sense of doom that always seems to sneak into the back of any freelancer’s mind: “This could all be over at any minute!” Second, there’s the idea that just because you can be working, you should be working—a notion that’s especially prevalent in our always-on society.
But the same guilt that’s preventing you from backing away from the computer is also likely preventing you from doing your best work.
Taking vacations away from work means you come back rejuvenated, relaxed, and ready to take on anything coming your way.
Remember, when you’re a freelancer, there’s no one telling you when you’re working too much. You need to realize it for yourself and set your own boundaries.