1st August 2018
We know the reality of a Contractor’s life: it’s all about your contract.
You’re often the main provider for your family. You’re often a one-man or woman band, with big targets, a fast-approaching deadline and a client that doesn’t quite understand the complexities of the task they set you.
Even when you aren’t on a contract – your time is spent trying to secure your next one. ‘Busy’ doesn’t even cut it!
The irony? You work this hard to provide for your family and loved ones, yet you don’t get the quality time with them you deserve and desire. That’s why holidays are so important. It’s on holiday that you can disconnect from what’s going on online and focus on what’s happening offline and in front of you – on your family and friends.
This work-life balance challenge that Contractors like you face is no mean feat and because of that, we’ve put together a survival guide so you can really enjoy your summer holiday and not let your contract take over. Not only is putting these boundaries in place to not let your contract ruin your holiday good for your relationships, it’s good for your work. True rest will allow you to approach your contract with a renewed vigour, energy and clarity, so do yourself some justice and implement these tips on your summer holiday:
- Plan in advance: If you can, make sure your holiday is planned as far in advance as possible so you can plan your work leading up to the holiday with much greater strategy
- Prepare your client: Beyond simply letting your client know the dates that you are on holiday, make it really clear to them what this means for you. Are you contactable in any situation relating to the contract while you are on holiday, not contactable at all or, is there an ‘emergency’ relating to your contract that you are willing to be contacted for? Make the boundaries clear
- Set your phone to reflect the boundaries you have made with your client: If, for example, you have clearly defined what an ‘emergency’ is to your client, set your phone to reflect this. On an iPhone, you can create a ‘favourites’ list (family members for example) whose text and calls you can receive and otherwise the phone is set to ‘do not disturb’ and others can’t get through unless they follow rules you gave them- like texting ‘urgent’
- Ensure your contract deadlines are clearly in place and understood: having a clear project deadline and review points will mean that you can holiday in the confidence that your contract isn’t implicated by your time off
- If not checking your emails or other contract related touch points is not possible, set time boundaries: If the above really isn’t realistic for you, and that touch point is necessary for your client, contract or sanity, set yourself boundaries for checking in. You could set an alarm for a point in the morning and afternoon to check in on what you need to. To ensure you don’t go into a rabbit hole, make sure these touch points are time-bound too
- Take a moment after the urge to check your phone/emails to pause: Those urges we have to check our phone or ‘that app’ are rooted in psychology. The hormone ‘dopamine’ is released when we repeat behaviours like this, making us feel rewarded when we scroll through our phone. Because of that, we need to literally re-train our brains when these urges occur, by taking a moment to ask ourselves ‘do I need to do check this?’
- Set up automated ‘out of office’ replies: This goes without saying for your email, but have you updated your statuses elsewhere too? If you use Slack, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other sphere to communicate to clients, colleagues or potential clients- ensure that they know you are out of office and that you won’t be communicating until you return
- Use blocker apps to ensure you don’t check what you don’t need to: Apps like Freedom for IOS and Stay focused for Android allow you to block apps or websites that stop you from productivity or the task at hand – in this case, resting! If your self-discipline isn’t quite strong enough to stop yourself checking in on your contract/client – apps like these could mean the option to is removed completely
Implementing these tips to not let your contract ruin your holiday, should allow you the space to enjoy some true rest and relaxation. So plan ahead, put the right tools in place to ensure your contract runs smoothly and your client is kept happy until you get back. It’s well deserved.
All content is accurate at the time of publication