The holiday season is here—and hopefully, amid the big dinners, shopping, decorating and parties, is, somewhere in there, a break. But taking some time off is a bit different when you are self-employed. For one, there's often no one to pick up the slack when you take a vacation, and you probably have to plan ahead so there's no slack in the budget either.
Keep Family in the Loop
Before you plan your time off for the holidays, chat with your family. What days will your spouse have off from work? Does little Johnny's Christmas play fall during the hours you would normally be working? Will you go on any special family outings, perhaps to pick out the Christmas tree or visit Santa? Knowing all your families activities ahead of time will help you plan how much time you'll need off, and when.
Organization is an essential quality for a work-at-home-mom, and it certainly comes in handy when you are preparing for time off. Create task lists that outline what you need to accomplish both before and after your break. Block out time on a calendar so you know what you need to be working on and when. Find a system that works best for you—just remember to stay organized.
Notify Consistent Clients
You probably don't need to notify clients when you are taking a national holiday off—but if you plan on taking the whole week off or a few extra days, be sure to let your consistent clients know ahead of time so you can make sure you'll both be prepared.
Set Up an Automated Email and Phone Message Response
Whenever you take a vacation, it's a good idea to set up an away message in your email so no one gets upset when you don't respond right away. And if you use a phone for business calls, change your voicemail as well if you don't plan on picking up for business calls during your time off.
Arrange Extra Work Time Before and After
Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to make up for the time you take off. Plan extra slots of time both before and after the holidays. Schedule when you'll take care of the extra work, so you're not stressing about when everything will be done. Ask for help with the kids and housework if you need.
Thanks to technology, there are a few ways to be present without actually being present. Schedule social media posts during your time off—try a social media management system such as Hootsuite if you haven't already. The scheduling feature makes it easy to ensure there isn't a big lapse in posts while you're away. If you use a blog to promote your business, most platforms will allow you to schedule entire posts as well.
Holidays should be spent enjoying time with family—not worrying about work. With some organization and planning ahead, you can take some time off without a drastic impact on your business. Chances are, you started working from home so you could spend more time with your family—don't let your work interfere with enjoying the season with your loved ones.