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Wellbeing / Work life balance

Taking time out: Give yourself a break

I strongly believe every soloist should have a plan for taking time out from their business. Now is the ideal time to work out how you’ll get time out this year. Here are some tips that may help.

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1. Taking time out

Just as an accountant will tell you to pay yourself first and reflect this in budgeting, so your plans for the year ahead should have taking time out built in from the get go.

Solo businesses are time vampires, which makes an ad hoc ‘I’ll take time out when it’s quiet’ strategy too risky. Whether you’d prefer a series of mini breaks or one maxi break, ensure that come 1 January, the time is blocked out in your calendar.

2. Budget for six weeks off

When you build the time out into your budget at the start of the year, you can adjust your prices (or indeed your outgoings) accordingly. This negates the “I can’t afford to take time off” argument.

Six weeks sounds generous, but you don’t have to take it all, you just have to afford to be able to take it all. It makes sense to build in some wriggle room.

"Solo businesses are time vampires, which makes an ad hoc ‘I’ll take time out when it’s quiet’ strategy too risky."

3. Be able to extricate yourself from your business

You may find it hard to believe, but it is possible to build a business that can operate without your input. And yes, you still maintain control. There’s no shortage of literature on this. Our very own website abounds with articles on business procedures and virtual assistants.

Want more articles like this? Check out the work-life-balance section.

4. Expect the unexpected

Some soloists claim they love their work so much, they don’t need to take time out. Yet even uber dedicated types may find themselves in a situation where they need to drop everything.

Family illness, burnout, a friend in trouble… you may not want to take time out, but could find it forced upon you.

The topic is front of mind for me because John-Paul and I are expecting our second baby on New Year’s Eve. We will have our hands full with two under two’s, but are really excited-slash-terrified.

Have you got your holiday plans sorted? Let us know.

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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