The Freelancer’s Pre-Vacation Checklist

It’s summer here in the northern hemisphere, and that means vacation. The beach, the mountains, the pool, your backyard — here we come!

Of course, it’s not quite that easy if you work for yourself. In fact, taking a vacation when you’re self-employed can be downright exhausting. A lot has to be done in preparation for being out the office, even if it’s only for a few days.

Here’s a checklist to help you get ahead of the out-of-office chaos, so you can enjoy your time off and not worry about the mess you will be coming back to.

  • Give clients and colleagues prior notice that you will be away (the more warning the better).
  • Ask clients to send you any work that they have in the queue by a certain date.
  • Remind clients to send you work per the point above, several times if necessary.
  • Review what you have on your plate, commit to what you will complete and schedule out the rest.
  • Get as much of your to-be-completed work done as far in advance as possible.
  • Decide what, if any, work-related activities you will do while on vacation and plan what you need to bring accordingly.
  • Line up a backup person, if necessary, and plan time to get them up to speed.
  • Make sure your collaboration files for your team are updated and accessible by all.
  • Plan your vacation communication (if you will be accessible at all, when/how you will check in, etc.).
  • Pay any bills that will be due while you are away.
  • Give yourself a day buffer between when you return home and when you will be accessible to clients.
  • Set up your out-of-office voicemail and email responder.

It may seem like a lot to think about, but it’s worth it.  Putting in a little time before you head to the beach will not only help you enjoy your time away even more, but it will be a little less painful when you come back.

What do you do to prepare for being out of the office?

Image credit: michasik

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  • Greg Wilson

    * Make a backup of everything, and check that it restores.
    * Call the security company and do an alarm test.

  • aweb4u

    I use logmein.com so I can remotely log into my PC back in the office from any PC that has a browser (i.e. internet cafe, friends house, etc). Very handy and quite reliable if there’s an emergency back at the office that requires your attention while you’re on holiday.

  • Anonymous

    My favourite tip for going back to work is to come back on a Wednesday so it is a short week back. Never go back to work on Monday from a holiday.