Freelance Survival: How To Get Motivated After Taking Time Off

Tell me if this sounds familiar: (On Thursday) “Oh my god I can’t wait until the long weekend!!!!!” (On Tuesday) “Oh my god, I am so not motivated to do any of this work.”

Vacation hangover. I need a vacation from my vacation. Whatever you call it, it’s an issue for every freelancer on the planet.

Working for yourself takes mountains of motivation. Gobs of personal drive, and huge piles of determination. It’s not easy to get up and start your day early, when absolutely no one would yell at you for sleeping until noon. It’s tempting to put that to-do list off for another day when you’re still posting pictures of your beach vacation on Facebook.

If you’re coming off the long weekend and feeling like you’d rather work on your tan than your inbox, here are some motivational tips to keep in mind:

1. Leave No Loose Ends

Feeling good about returning to work starts by feeling good about how you left it. Take the time to alert your clients to your vacation time well in advance, if possible. Stop taking on new work at least a week before you’ll be away, so that you can have peace of mind that everything is well in hand before you leave.

2. Ease Into It

Plan a transition day into your vacation schedule. If you’re going away for 7 days, tell your clients that you’re leaving for eight. Take that half or quarter day as a time to slowly check emails or prioritizing your to-do list for the week ahead. Knowing that you don’t have to jump back in to your work with both feet can help reduce stress and resentment about the responsibilities ahead.

3.  Prioritize

For me, it’s the emails that make me most reluctant to return to work. After not opening my computer for two or three days, I know there will be a pile of messages to sift through. The sheer (often imagined) number, is daunting and scares me into procrastination.

Conquer the fear by setting small manageable goals for yourself: I will go through my inbox deleting spam and Twitter alerts, and filing the rest of the emails into their appropriate folders. After you’ve recovered from that task, pick one folder, and start answering the emails. You can do the same thing with any kind of task, just pick the smallest most non-threatening chunk, and go for it.

What advice can you give other freelancers about finding your mojo after taking time off? Share your ideas in a comment!


Image Credit: Flickr – joelK75

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