How Freelancers Stay in Out of Office Mode When on Holiday

So yes, it’s Christmas Eve, so for all my friends, family and colleagues who celebrate this season, may you have a wonderful time and for those who don’t, I pray that you have a blessed and restful break.

Today’s post is a bit of a fun one for all my freelancing buddies across the world. Yesterday I put a call out for tips on how to stay sane when running your own biz and having a holiday break.

I was inundated with amazing and practical advice and below are just some of their thoughts.  I will post a second edition after Christmas for the rest that came through!

Please help them out by visiting their websites and social links and sharing their advice with your own networks. A little bit of cyber – love goes a long way!

Here is what Melissa White of Melissa’s March says.

  1. What do you do to keep yourself from working on work stuff while your on your break?

Create a list of the items that need to be completed, get the list done, and then stop. It sounds simple but it can be very easy to second guess yourself or go back and redo perfectly well done work.

Don’t go back to add more or tweak what you’ve finished. Close the doors to your office, or turn of the computer to deter temptation; the work will remain but your family and friends are only there for a little while.

  1. How do you minimise your chances of getting distracted when you work from home but are on a holiday break?

Work in a separate office space and get everything done BEFORE guests show up if possible. If it’s not possible, work at night when everyone is asleep or let everyone know that you have to get your work done and then you’ll be free the rest of the break. They should understand.

Listen to music on headphones to cut down on distractions while working. Just try to get it done ASAP so it isn’t hanging over your head the whole break.

  1. How do you manage the ‘guilt’ factor – the emotional side of not working and staying focused on family, friends and personal wellbeing?If you’ve taken proper care of your clients by completing everything you needed to get done then you shouldn’t be feeling guilty. 🙂 We all need time to ourselves and if the guilt starts creeping in just remember – your clients are enjoying time with their families too.

Visit Melissa at


Rob Flood from Robert Flood Freelancing shares some valuable advice on maintaining a mental boundary when on holidays:

  1. Don’t check your office email!

That’s a big one that many people have the issue with. We don’t want to feel like we are going to get slammed when we get back into the office. Granted, some of the emails will be deleted but don’t worry about it until you get back.

  1. Keep Work Talk out of the Holiday

This is pretty simple to say but just like the email tip, not always easy. Don’t talk about anything work related on holiday. Don’t even say you’re dreading going back or looking forward to going back. This brings your mood and thoughts to things other than enjoying your holiday. After all, you’re away from work, keep your thoughts away too.

  1. Stay away from your voicemail

My final tip and this is probably the easiest because you probably don’t have access when you’re out of the office. It’s checking your voicemail. You’re on holiday for a reason. That means NO CHECKING YOUR VOICEMAIL! You can deal with whatever happened when you get back. I put a note in my voicemail about who to contact for emergencies. Do not check your voicemail on holiday. It takes away from your fun.

Check out Rob’s portfolio by visiting him at


Financial Coach Melissa Thomas works with businesses, manages a busy family life and keeps a tight schedule too. Here’s her advice.

  1. What do you do to keep yourself from working on work stuff while your on your break?

I set up autoresponders for email and also communicate with my clients that I will be on vacation.  There is also a discipline to “taking a break”. There are things that can wait until after break.   

  1. How do you minimise your chances of getting distracted when you work from home but are on a holiday break?

We have a home office with a door so when I go in there, I am in “work mode”.  When I’m in the other areas of the house, I am not working.  We also have “no phone zones” in our home and have taught our children to call us out when we pay to much attention to the phone instead of to them.  

  1. How do you manage the ‘guilt’ factor – the emotional side of not working and staying focused on family, friends and personal wellbeing?

I do not feel guilty.  When I started my business, it was with the mindset that family came first.  I am not successful if I grow an awesome business but lose my family n the process.  I cannot give my clients 100% if I am not 100%.  This is why downtime is important.  It’s a delicate balance so as not to lose momentum but its important to not lose myself in the process.

Here is Melissa Thomas’s website:


Lauren B. Stevens, professional blogger, writer, and editor is also chasing around an energetic 3 year old and her advice is practical and sensible. Here is what she had to say:

This is the first time in three years I’m actually taking a break for the holidays. It feels strange, I swear my computer calls for me, but my clients are quiet. I’ll be using the break for side projects, drafting and editing creative nonfiction submissions, or reading publications I’m interested in querying.

I like to view the holidays as a time I step away from my everyday work and take the time to seek out some of the creative pursuits that interest me; this way I maintain a semblance of routine, without it being work, per say.

Lauren can be stalked online at


Sarah Li Cain is a nimble and strategic copywriter who works with busy professionals by ghostwriting under their own bylines, and any other urgent marketing needs they need done. Here’s her really clever tip when managing her freelance career and time off:

I turn on vacation mode in my email, and every time I check it, gmail reminds me I’m on vacation smile emoticon I’ve also emailed clients waayyy in advance when I’m not around, so I’ll be getting less emails, which helps a lot!

Check her out at


Now, I haven’t forgotten about those of us who for many reasons are still going to be clocking in over the Christmas break.

One of the biggest issues with taking time off is when you really love what you do, you find it so hard to switch off but this hasn’t stopped Jonathan Knepper from Dude With the Hair – he’s one of those can’t get enough of doing what I love doing people and he had some great thoughts to share:

So I’m a bit of an oddball in that I look forward to working through holiday seasons. In thinking through this question, I’ve realised that some of these reasons are good while others I might want to think about:

  1. The digital silence is great for productivity. You don’t feel the need to check OR if you do have a few impulsive checks it only confirms your inboxes are ghost towns.
  1. I’m generally passionate about what I do and the clients I work with so it’s fun and in some cases work is almost therapeutic for me.
  1. One thing that I hate the most is sitting down and feeling like I have to bring myself up to speed. I’d much rather just keep at it, even if only through some baseline tasks. Long spurts of time away from work generally have me feeling like this.
  1. While my year in review generally doesn’t happen until about a month into the new year, I do always have some side projects going that I’m supper passionate about. And breaks/holidays open up a door to explore them. My current one is related to morning routines (interviewing entrepreneurs to look for inspiration/overlap).
  1. Lastly, part of me takes satisfaction in working while other’s aren’t. I’m a grinder 🙂


You can catch up with Jonathon at


So if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the challenges every writer/ freelance biz owner and entrepreneur faces at the holiday time of year, we hope you have some new ideas to try and get some genuine rest from your work.

See you on the other side of Christmas!

Much love,


Do you have some tips to share too? Please add them below for the rest of us to use 😀


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