Working from home … on vacation

We’re heading home today after nearly a week in sunny southern Ontario. (Yup, just like we did right around this time last year.) 

What’s that thing people say — if you’re travelling with kids, it’s a trip, and if you’re travelling without kids, it’s a vacation? Well, when you’re self-employed? Whether it’s a “trip” or a “vacation,” it means you don’t usually get to put aside your work.

What I’ve discovered this week, though, is that I actually enjoy a vacation more if I’m working. Yes, you read that correctly.

Here are five reasons working on vacation when you’re self-employed is not such a bad thing …

1. You remain employed.

This is a biggie, obviously. But when you’re a self-employed, work-at-home freelance type, there is no one to cover your vacation. There is no one to mention in your vacation auto-reply, if you even do one of those (I don’t unless I will literally be unreachable, which almost never happens).

Over the last week, I’ve had social media clients still rely on me for posts. I’ve answered emails that would have resulted in missed assignments if I’d left them. I’ve written stories because I’d committed to those deadlines.

I’m not saying you have to work your entire vacation if you’re self-employed, but there is a certain amount of responsibility that comes with it. You can’t just shut down operations without harming yourself in one way or another.

2. You skip the end-of-vacation dreads.

When I have taken time off work, it’s almost haunted me because I could feel it — or, in the case of my inbox and calendar, see it — piling up. Waiting for me. Lurking.

Because I’ve worked almost every day of our trip — whether it was an hour or four hours — I’m not going home to a mountain of deadlines and unfinished stories. Everything is under control, and that feels really, really good.

2. You feel like yourself.

I don’t call myself a workaholic but I probably am … like if there was a quiz or something? I’m used to working. I love what I do, and I write every single day. So if I were to STOP, cold turkey, for a week? That would not feel normal. Since I’m a creature of habit (to the extreme), I like continuing to work — just with a lighter load — while “on vacation.”

While at my dad’s, I set up a mobile office in his dining room with my Chromebook, external mouse, notebook and pens. I worked very happily and comfortably there, and it never felt like I *had* to be in there or that I was missing out on anything.

3. You get a break from your family.

This doesn’t make me sound like a very nice person, possibly? But I know myself and I’m a huge introvert. I need quiet time to myself every single day, and one of the ways I get that — especially on vacation — is by working. It sounds dickish to say “OK, I just need to go sit alone in the other room now, guys,” but no one can question the need to work. And while you’re working, you get precious quiet solo nobody-bugging-me time.

4. They get a break from you.

Being in Ontario meant the kids got to spend special time with my dad and stepmother. They kept them busy with lots of fun activities and outings when I had to work, and everybody was happy. I can guarantee that if I was spending 24/7 with these little darlings during our vacation, nobody would be happy.


So what do you think?

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