By August 12, 2013 Read More →

The advantages of a working holiday

Not a complete break, but a working holiday can still do you good

Working holidayLast week A and I found ourselves unexpectedly in Cornwall. Not quite the ‘gone on holiday by mistake’ of Withnail and I, but the result of a friend having a very late cancellation on her holiday flat. Too good a chance to turn down and so we reorganised diaries and embarked on a working holiday.

While it’s great to take a proper holiday and switch off completely, if you’re self-employed it may be impossible. Plates need to be kept spinning and the only person who can do it is you, but a working holiday is proof of the old saying that a change is as good as a rest.

I only had time to do a bare minimum of preparation and luckily had blog posts scheduled for the week, although there was still an element of juggling involved. It certainly concentrates the mind when you know your broadband connection could disappear at any moment. Priorities have to be brutally established and stuck to.

Keeping on top of my daily blog posting, social media and emails felt like quite enough work, so the August Break blog challenge I signed up for the day before our break popped up was set aside. Plenty of time later in the month for that.

It was a great start to our working holiday to hear that my article for The Guardian on the distractions of home working was on the home page of the newspaper website last Monday. A and I have often noticed that when we stop trying so hard, take some time off and think about something entirely unrelated to work, good things appear out of the blue. An enquiry from a prospective client, a confirmation of work that was discussed ages ago, a sudden spike in visitors to the site.

A few days away in a different place gives you a new perspective and distance from your problems. It’s much easier to spot your weaknesses and the parts of your routine that could do with improvement.

The difficulty is in keeping to your new resolutions once you get back home and old habits and routines start to pull you back in. How to maintain that wonderful feeling of detachment, of not being pulled off-course by little irritations and setbacks?

I have to admit a 45 minute call with Southern Electric this morning has dented my mood a little. I was told firstly there was no such employee as the person who amended my bill a week ago, and then that the 2 year capped price plan is not available for our tariff, despite having received a letter confirming we are on it.

But it was definitely the right decision to grab the chance of a working holiday and I’m determined to keep the positive vibes going as long as I can…

Do you believe in the benefits of a working holiday or think it’s a contradiction in terms? Do you ever manage to switch off completely or are you resigned to always being on call to some extent?

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