Calling All Freelancers: It’s Time to Reclaim Your Weekends

Photo by Leo Foureaux on Unsplash

I am a self-confessed workaholic.

And it’s not necessarily because I want to be — it’s because I’ve felt I’ve needed to be in order to please all my clients and get paid on time.

Prior to starting out in the freelance world, I had this idea that I’d take endless days of vacation time because I could.

That I’d sleep in late every morning, have breakfast outside in the sunshine every day (ha, fat chance in England), and clock off well before my usual finish time.

That has not been the case.

I’ve been terrified to take a break. Taking a break means not earning money and making my clients wait.

But what about me?

We came to the freelance life to have freedom. Less work and more play. And yet we’re choosing to work longer hours and skip vital vacation time.

Author of ‘The Weekend Effect’, Katrina Onstad says, “We venerate busyness, exhaustion and long hours even though there’s no correlation between long hours/no weekends and productivity…overworked people are prone to errors and don’t do better work.”

Burnout is real. I’ve been feeling it a lot lately, and so I knew I needed to make a change.

We simply cannot be our best selves when we’re working ourselves into the ground. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs do less yet achieve more.

It’s time to switch off and reclaim our weekends.

Set those boundaries

Look out for yourself for once and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Setting boundaries not only benefits you, but everyone around you — even if they don’t realise it yet. Learn to say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t serve you or enrich your life in some way. Turn your phone off. Stop replying to emails out of hours. Shut your door.

Unplug

In a world where we’re constantly connected to our smartphones and social media, it’s time for a digital detox. Our energy is continually sapped when what we need to do is reset and recharge. Prioritise people and real life human interactions over that of phones, and catch up on that book you’ve always wanted to read.

Change the scenery

One of the biggest problems with working from home is that we’re in the same place every single day, seven days a week. Try and keep your office in a room that can be closed off and doesn’t get opened over the weekend, or at the very least, keep your laptop out of sight. Don’t let your weekends become a monotonous routine. We can’t always leave the house but try to go or do something new as often as you can.

Don’t sleep in

As tempting as it might be, try not to sleep the day away. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with a little lie in — especially if you’ve been working hard all week — sleeping in excessively will only rob you of your valuable free time. Not only that, but it will disturb your sleeping pattern for the rest of the week. And that’s a killer.

Do less

The weekend isn’t a time to catch up on household chores, essential shopping, or work. It’s a time to reconnect with yourself and improve your life — to get into your creative flow and do the things you love. And ultimately, if we re-frame the weekend in this way and be loyal and committed to our leisure time, we’ll perform far better in our working life.

Take it from the girl who’s finally taken a few days break away from work. I’m well-rested, more in-tune with myself, and feeling more productive at work. So much so, I’m itching for my next break.

After all, as the common proverb goes; “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.”

Freelance writer, procrastinator, and lover of cats. Avid traveller pre-lockdown. Future best-selling novelist post-lockdown🤞 Find me at www.amycubwrites.com

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