I’d love to be one of those digital nomads who manage to work and travel at the same time, but that doesn’t work for me. To me, travelling is about indulging in a different rhythm and pace. It’s about forgetting it all, and diving into different atmospheres, scents and experiences.

I tried organising a “working holiday” a few years ago. I got back home exhausted, feeling drained and bored – with no chance of a real break for months to come.

And that’s when I realised that taking time off as a freelancer is not a sin. It’s a must.

As freelancers, we often struggle between the (genuine) need for a break and the terror of missing out on the project of the century – you know, THE project that “might come in” if you dare taking one week off in 5 years. But here’s a thing: in the long run, being available 24/7 affects the quality of your work, your wellbeing, and your decision-making skills too. Not a smart strategy after all.

Moreover, taking a break (or a short leave) doesn’t mean your customers will kiss you goodbye. With a little organisation, you can take your time off whilst keeping them happy. Here’s my method:

  • At the beginning of each quarter, I notify planned absences to my clients. To make this easier, I plan all of my courses, workshops, and holidays on a 6-month basis.
  • Two weeks before closing, I send a quick reminder. And customers still have time to push urgent projects forward or “book a slot” after the break.
  • One week before closing, I add a note to my email signature.
  • During the break, a nice automatic reply message does the trick – so people know exactly when I will get back to them.

It’s simple, and effective. If you setup email templates for these communications, the whole process takes just 15 minutes – and you can enjoy a stress-free break.