The holiday season is upon us! With just over three weeks left in 2016, this is the time of year many bloggers step away from the computer for a holiday break. What does is mean to be unreachable in our 24/7 society when your business revolves around being available online?
God knows I love the internet. It’s my entire career! But being available to work all the time is not something that humans are designed for. It takes a toll on us. When you run your own show, it’s easy to justify checking your email 100 times a day or hopping on Twitter for just a moment to stay up to date. It all falls under the banner of ‘productivity’, right?
Wrong! Stepping away is actually crucial to being more productive. Let me paint you a picture of me right now. I am sitting at my desk, hunching over my tiny MacBook Air (all us pro bloggers have them). I’m wrapped in a blanket because I am freezing. I’m switching between this post and my three email accounts every few minutes. Occasionally, just for funsies, I’m also checking Twitter and Instagram. Finally, I get up to pee about every 30 minutes.
Is this the least productive way to work or WHAT? It’s absurd. I’m embarrassed to admit I work like this, but it must be said! With habits like this, I will never be able to walk away from my work. I’m addicted to social media, and my attention is so fragmented it takes me almost two hours to write posts that should only take 45 minutes.
People say the first step to success is admitting you have a problem. Allow me to be the first to say it: I have a problem. I’m taking a whole week off this month, and unless I change things up real quick, I’m going to end up working during that week. Luckily, I know exactly what to do, and I’ve done it before when I went on my four-week road trip.
How to get to the point where you can walk away? It’s fairly simply: get ahead on work before you step away, and automate things while you’re gone.
Before You Step Away
- Get Ahead on Work. This week I have eight posts to write and edit and a video script to write.That’s more writing than I usually do, but it’s all in pursuit of free time. By loading up this week, I’m gifting myself a free week soon. It’s essential to stay on top of deadlines. I’d rather have a hell week and make money upfront than lose clients because I took time off irresponsibly.
- Say No. Don’t accept work for the time you’ll be away. Just don’t do it! It’s always tempting to earn more money, but your break is more important. Remember, overwork and stress are bad for you in literally every way imaginable. The best you can do for yourself isn’t earn another $200. It’s to recharge so you can earn triple that when you come back.
While You’re Gone
- Schedule Social Media. I am guilty of under-scheduling social media. I schedule posts after I write them, and that’s it. I check in on Twitter and Instagram all damn day to reblog, comment, or like things. It’s a huge time waster that I justify to myself. Make some images, get some old blog posts, and schedule your social media for the time you want to take off. Use Hootsuite or Edgar to do so. Take that off your plate!
- Set-Up an Email Responder. I love email responders more than I love my boyfriend. Fact. They make life so much easier! They help to maintain a professional air when you need to step away. Let people know how long you’ll be away for in the response. Now people have gotten a response, they know when to expect you back, and you haven’t been stressed checking your emails.
- Let People Know You’re Gone. Email your subscribers and your clients, and let social media followers know that you’re taking some time off. Giving a heads up lets people know you won’t be around, and empowers more people to take time off. Be a vacation inspiration. 🙂
Stepping away is really, really hard. Like I said, I’m one of those people who is addicted to my social media and being online. More than I love my Instagram though, I love feeling good and doing great work. If I worked this month straight through, I know both would suffer.
How do you prepare for time off? Any tips to avoid the pull of the screen when away?
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.