‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
(Except for that freelancer typing furiously on their laptop.)
The invoice reminders were sent off with care,
In hopes that a payment soon would be there;
Everyone else nestled snug in their bed,
While the freelancer was still working hard for their bread;
Then an email arrived that arose such a clatter,
They checked it at once to see what was the matter;
A client needed last-minute amends in a flash;
How to reply without sounding too brash?
The night before Christmas is no time for stress,
But for settling down for a well-earned rest,
But the moon on the laptop screen like new-fallen snow
Gave the document a magical glow,
And so to that wondering mind did appear,
A burst of enthusiasm that made it all clear,
With a little tinkering, lively and quick,
In a moment the wording was slick,
More rapid than an email recovery sent to the wrong person,
It was all sorted before the situation could worsen;
Upon seeing the changes, the client was merry,
The freelancer now could enjoy a small sherry;
But before the laptop was switched off and out of sight,
To all clients Happy Christmas, and to all a good night!
A Freelance Christmas
I wrote that freelance Christmas poem in jest—of course—but there is a slightly serious undertone to my tale. As a freelancer, it can be tempting to work over the Christmas period. You may want to get a project finished off, earn a bit extra for next year, or just be available to your clients. You might want to capitalise on other freelancers not being available over the Christmas holiday. And all of these are good reasons for working over Christmas. But…
Take a break
It’s also important to take a break and enjoy a well-earned rest—especially if you’ve been working hard for months. Spend time with loved ones and catch up with friends you haven’t seen for a while. If Christmas isn’t your thing, take a break when it suits you. The important thing is making sure you give yourself a holiday every now and again—as if you were working in an office job. Give yourself an annual leave allocation if need be, so you can recharge your batteries. Because all work and no play makes an unhappy freelancer.
The idea of not being available to clients might be an alien idea, but everyone needs downtime from working. So set your out of office on your email, freelancing platforms, and wherever else you work. Tell your clients when you’ll be available again. Contrary to what it might seem, your clients don’t expect you to be available 24/7 and they know you need a break too, just like everyone else. So switch off that laptop and be unavailable, even if it’s only for a few days.
Start afresh for 2019
Taking a break over Christmas and New Year is the perfect opportunity to evaluate your previous year and set goals for next year. It doesn’t need to take hours—just think about what went well this year and what you’d like to be better next year. Do you want to bag bigger clients? Find more regular income? Get projects finished faster? Set some freelance goals for 2019 and you’ll start the year on a positive footing.
On that note, I’m switching off my laptop…
Merry Christmas freelancers—and a Happy New Year to you!