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Welcome. My name is Janna Hagan, a designer from Toronto. Thanks for stopping by.

The Importance of Taking Time Off as a Designer

The Importance of Taking Time Off as a Designer

Taking vacations can sometimes be the most productive thing you can do to progress your career forward, but being a designer makes it very hard to log off from our computers and our work. The notion of working hard to attain success probably won’t fizzle out anytime soon, but it’s important to understand your limits. Creating distance with your work while on vacation can recharge your brain, help you regain your motivation and let you sit back and appreciate the important things in life. 
 

Realize Your Priorities

People that work for themselves as freelancers are sometimes more hard on themselves. I know I’m guilty of this. I tend to feel that I need to be working all the time, even when it would be more productive for me to take put my work aside for a while. Just because you work at home, doesn’t mean you need to be working when you are inside the house. Taking a break from your everyday routine can help you put your priorities in perspective. It allows us to enjoy the small things in life and spend time doing things we truly enjoy. 

I like to only allow myself to work until a certain time each day. I usually only get about 6 hours of actual work done a day. Once that time expires, I give myself a break, regardless of whether I completed my work or not. Working at home often creates a greater temptation to work past your normal hours. It’s important to try to create that good work/life balance, or else you might find yourself being consumed by your work. Once you find that good balance, it can help you realize that work doesn’t always need to be your number one priority. Clearing your head during a vacation can be just as important as crossing tasks off your to-do list. 
 

Regain Motivation

One of the most noticeable side effects of taking a vacation, is that my motivation is completely restored afterwards. When I come back after a break, I feel excited and am itching to get back to work. There are many days were I feel worn down from the daily grind, which can affect my satisfaction with the work I’m producing. Plus, not having to check your e-mail or your phone every hour is such a relief! You’ll find that you produce your best work shortly after you take a vacation. 
 

Ignore Your Phone

We allow e-mails and text messages to pollute our precious time off when they are better turned off. If you truly want to refresh your brain and energy, do yourself a favour and turn off devices that might distract you. We often times seem to disregard the people we are spending time with because our phones consume our attention. If you always have the urge to check your phone, don’t carry it with you or leave it at home. It’s one of the most annoying things to try to talk to someone who has a phone in front of their face. 
 

How to Plan Your Break

We know that taking a break is good for your well-being and your business, but sometimes it can be a hassle just to plan a break. You have to let clients know you’ll be away, push back projects a week, schedule meetings and phone calls around your vacation, and so on. Although you may have to spend an extra day before you leave to make sure nothing will go astray while you’re away, it will be worth it. Planning a break will allow you to come back to your work with a fresh mind and enhanced creativity. 

Schedule wisely: It’s probably not the best idea to schedule a vacation during your busiest month or when you have a big product launch coming up. Try to schedule around these events, so that you won’t have to deal with them while you’re on vacation. Also, if you know you need to get some things done before you leave, don’t leave it to the day before – you’ll just end up being more stressed about leaving instead of excited like you should. You also don’t want to come back to a complete disaster, so preparing and scheduling beforehand will prove worthwhile. 

Let clients know you’re leaving. You don’t want to leave your clients in the dark about their project for a whole week (or month), so let the people who you communicate with the most that you will be out of town. Set up an auto responder just to remind others that you’ll be away and not responding to e-mails during that time. 

Lastly, remember to have fun! Taking a break, after all, should be enjoyable. Whether you’re leaving for a day, a week or a few months, you deserve the time you take off. It will not only help improve satisfaction with your work, but it will help you feel better about life in general. 

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