Get Ahead With a Working Vacation

At the end of this month I'll take a vacation of sorts -- a working vacation. It's a chance to get ahead on some projects and get caught up on others, all while minimizing distractions of the ordinary day-to-day work schedule.

For me it's about a  problem with project overload. I try to keep busy at all times (working hours at least), but right now there are more projects than usual in the pipeline. And my normal contracts don't leave me with enough time to do everything I need to do. That's where the working vacation comes in.

What is a Working Vacation?

A working vacation as a freelance writer involves taking time off from client work to focus on your own projects. As far as your clients are concerned you're on vacation. Period. You won't be checking in on emails. You won't be working on client projects. You're taking time off.

Think of a working vacation as a sort of staycation. You don't actually go anywhere. You stay at home (or wherever you prefer to work). Rather than taking the time to relax or travel or do whatever else you would normally do on vacation, you work on your own projects. You cut down on the stress of client work so you can turn your full attention to other areas of your business for a short period of time.

Why You Might Take a Working Vacation

There are a lot of things you might do during a working vacation that you wouldn't have time for in your usual work schedule. Here are a few examples:

  • Pre-write a large number of blog posts if you've fallen behind on your own blogging.
  • Write an e-book.
  • Work on writing a book or editing an existing manuscript.
  • Focus on some new marketing tactics you've wanted to try.
  • Develop a new professional website or overhaul your existing one.
  • Develop and launch a new blog or other type of site you've been putting off.
  • Focus on administrative work like backups or an updated business plan.
  • Overhaul your records or financial system.

How Long Should a Working Vacation Be?

I'm taking a week-long working vacation at the end of the month (followed by a long weekend off of all kinds of work due to a holiday that happens to come at that time). You might not need that much time off. Or you might need more. There is no right or wrong length for a working vacation.

How long should yours be? Well, how much time will you need to finish the things you want to finish? How much time can you afford to take off from client work? The trick is to find a balance between those two things.

If it's possible to clear up some regular client work early, that can make it easier to take an extended working vacation. Focus more on client work before your time off, then take time off to focus on projects where you aren't being pulled in all different directions each work day.

In my case I have one client with regular weekly blogging work, and I'll take care of their work a week early. For others I'm turning down additional projects or only taking on what I can work into the first three weeks of the month. Falling somewhere in between like that means that while your income will take a temporary hit, you can minimize that.

Should You Tell Clients About Your "Working" Vacation?

I chose to tell my clients that I'll be on a working vacation. I mostly work with regulars that I'm very comfortable with, so discussing plans isn't a big deal. And I know they're understanding. If you aren't as comfortable discussing plans with your own clients, you don't have to.

A vacation from client work is a vacation from client work, and what you choose to do during that time is no one's business but your own. So don't feel pressured to tell them you'll still be at your computer if you don't want to. Either option is completely fine.

So tell us. Have you ever taken a working vacation? Do you tell clients exactly what you're doing, or keep it to yourself? What did you use the time for? Share your stories or tips for others interested in taking a working vacation from normal freelance writing work in the comments below.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

Subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter to get freelance writing updates from Jenn in your inbox.

Get More Content Like This in Your Inbox

Did you enjoy this post? If so, please subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter where you'll be notified of new blog articles and receive subscribers-only content.

Subscribe now.

4 thoughts on “Get Ahead With a Working Vacation”

    • Thanks for stopping by Vidya. 🙂 I wouldn’t worry too much about telling clients you need a vacation. You’re entitled to one as much as anyone else. As long as you give them adequate notice of a week or two (depending on your usual work with them), you should be just fine. And make sure you take real vacation time too — not just the working kind. Sometimes we just need time off to recharge. 🙂

  1. I’ve taken one-day working vacations, and it’s done a lot for my mental health. I get to do what I’m dying to do, and I don’t have to answer any client emails if I’m busy on something for myself. I don’t tell anyone – I just put up the out-of-office sign and let them wait a day.

    • I don’t take the personal day approach as often as I should. But when I do I tend to use them for admin things — like a single big backup day before making a major site change, or taking a day to focus on server migrations or something. Every once in a while it’s nice to cut out the daily distractions and stressors (like Chrome’s spell check trying to tell me “stressor” isn’t a word — 😉 ).

      Ideally I’d love to take one day near the end of each month to do this. Not sure why I don’t. But now’s as good a time as any to start. 🙂


Leave a Comment