Monday, 19 December 2016

Self Employed? How to take time off at Christmas (and why you should).

Christmas is looming, the kids have broken up from school, factories have closed their doors for the new year, teachers are enjoying that lovely break from the children and you? Well, you're self employed. So you're at your desk as you are every other day.

But this doesn't HAVE to be the case. Yes we all know if self employed people do not work they don't get paid but you're a human being. You need a break from work as much as the next person. The dangers of working too much can even be deadly. Did you know a person who works over 55 hours have a week have a 33% increased risk of having a stroke?

You CAN take time off for christmas (and any other time of the year for that matter) you just, as always seems the theme in my blogs, need to be ORGANISED. Check out our top tips for taking some downtime for christmas when you're self employed.

1/ Plan your time off in advance - Simple right? Obviously the big thing for most people is the loss of income during your time off. What this usually means for me is November and December are VERY busy times of the year. I always put more in the diary than usual months and front load the work (working longer hours and a few more hours per evening) to put more in the pot. 

2/ Watch your pennies - Try and be more frugal with your money at this time of year. Less meetings with expensive brand named coffees, less travel time and less fuel costs, less parking fees

3/ Squeeze your time - I mention it above but if you can map your time in advance you need to understand exactly how many hours you have available and how much work you can fit in.

4/ Communicate with your clients - ALWAYS ensure your client knows you are taking the time off WAY in advance. Reassure them and demonstrate to them how you are going to fit your workload in. I submit ALL my holiday dates to clients at the start of the year and how the work will be covered. Everyone knows where they stand and are comfortable that they are still getting a great service.

5/ Cover your work - Whether you do as I generally do and front load the work so it is all done and covered by the time you take your holiday or whether you outsource and handover just make sure everything is covered. This will differ from client to client. Some of my clients shut down themselves so there is no work to be covered. Some are happy to take back in house for the week/s i'm off. 

6/ Save for holidays & contingency's - Every single month I put money into my holiday account. At the start of the year I work out how much I need to cover loss of income that month and put a small amount per month into the contingency pot. This pot is SO useful if you are sick, if there is an emergency or if you plan on taking holiday during the year.

7/ Schedule extra time after your break - I always make a point of booking extra hours and childcare when I return from a break to ensure I have time to get back on top of things when I return without extra stress.

8/ Once you're off, you're off - Ensure you turn out of office on, do a full and complete handover and turn off email notifications. Let your clients know they can, of course, contact you if there is an emergency but if you've done a thorough handover (leave no stone unturned, it'll help you feel ready to take a  break) there really should be no need for contact. It's important to you to really relax so you can return to work invigorated, rested and ready to take on a brand new year!

Taking time off is so important for your mind and well being and often even more so when you are self employed and it can make a huge difference.

For more hints and tips about how to be organised and productive when self employed check out our website www.theintelligentvacompany.co.uk 

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