As a freelance writer, I don’t really take time off of work. I may travel to another town, or even another country, but it’s practically guaranteed that I’ll get online at least long enough to respond to some emails — if not write an article about my adventures.
I have an extended weekend coming up, though, that I don’t think I’m going to want to read my email. It’s a chance for some real relaxation and I don’t want to interrupt it with even a small blog post that I need to write up. I’m working ahead now to clear off those few days entirely. I’m writing blog posts that I’ll set up to post while I’m gone, working on the projects with deadlines around that date and generally getting as much done ahead of time.
Planning ahead for this sort of vacation isn’t just about getting my work done, however. I have clients that often contact me to ask me to complete a project by the end of the day or by tomorrow. I’ve let the worst offenders know that I’ll be out of the ‘office’ that weekend, but I’m not sure that they’ll remember. I’m planning to set up an automatic response on my email (as well as a voice mail message) that will let clients know that I’ll get back to them as soon as I’m back in town — I’m giving a specific date so that I’ll hopefully cut down on their worry. But I’m not giving out an emergency number. It’s been my experience that every client thinks his rush job is an emergency. I have no interest in letting a client ruin my nice weekend.
What tips do you have for freelancers working on getting away from it all? How do you make sure your work doesn’t intrude on your time off?