Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Learn to Disconnect from Work for the Holidays

I love being a freelancer at this point in my life. The flexible schedule, the different projects constantly changing from different companies and the ability to work at home in my pajamas are all pluses. One of the only downsides is that while my schedule is flexible, it also has the ability to force me to work constantly. I've learned that if you don't set boundaries, as a freelancer you could be working all day and night and even weekends if you have enough work. Unfortunately, sometimes I get asked to do assignments right away at 8 p.m. at night.

This could be the case for anyone who works a job where their boss has their email addresses and phone numbers and contacts them day or night. Some people take work home with them. This can be a slippery slope that leads to extreme stress that could even lead to illness. Especially around the holidays, when you have holiday to-do lists, presents to shop for, and parties to host. How do you let yourself take a break if you've become a workaholic?

1. Set hours for your work time whether you're a freelancer or a regular 9-5 worker. Stop responding to emails at 6 p.m., for example, unless it seems to be an emergency. You may have to talk to your boss about what an emergency entails. Something may seem like it could wait until the morning, but they consider it a priority task.

2. If your boss gives you grief over not being available 24/7, explain that you need time away from work to enjoy your life. If you do not get this time, you will be too stressed and will not be able to give your best work.

3. Take time off for the holidays. Even if you're a new post grad and don't have vacation days yet, take a few days off without pay if you have to. This may seem like a waste, but it will help keep you sane. Enjoy the holidays and spend time with family and friends to recharge for the new year.

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