I realized something recently.

I was finishing some comics on Sunday morning, and then I went to a shift at my day job as a Michael’s cashier.

And when I got home, I splurged for myself and knitted and crocheted ALL OF THE THINGS.

crocheted head with cute face
ALL THE THINGS includes this little potato face here. He needs a hat.

The reason?

I needed a little time off to do something for myself.

And then I realized that, as a freelancer, I don’t do that nearly as often as I think I do.

As freelancers, we all need a little time off.

Freelancing is a lot of running around to manage everything, from finances to invoicing to actually making the things you promised to make for that client who forgot to pay you last week and –

It’s chaotic.

Sometimes the chaos is fun, in a “How will I kick Chaos’ ass THIS time” kind of way.

However, it can be really easy to get caught up in the chaos and never take a day off.

On the other hand, it’s easy to take a lot of days off.

Freelancing gives us the ability to set our own schedules, which is both awesome and terrifying.

It’s awesome because if you need to take a day to help mom move a fridge, get a haircut at some random hour of the day, or drive into the city to get a thing, you can totally do that.

But it’s terrifying because it’s easy to fall into one of two extremes: too many days off, or not enough of them.

Too many days off means you’ll be cramming to meet your deadlines, and that can infringe on your ability to meet promises you made to the folks outside of your work. Did you promise your sister you would drive her over to a friend’s house? Well you can’t do it because you have a deadline to meet and you slacked off too much earlier this week.

Too few days off means you’ll start seeing numbers in your sleep, you’ll see everything you do as “work” or “in the way of work,” and your friends and family will be deeply concerned for your health and possibly have the hospital on speed-dial.

So how do you handle this conundrum?

It’s all about balance.

It’s all about knowing when you’ve worked too many days, when you’ve taken off too much time, and knowing how your body and mind acts in those scenarios.

Listen to your body.

Don’t overwork yourself to the point that you get sick. Don’t take off so much time that you start sleeping in for eleven hours and wake up even more tired than you anticipated.

Know the rhythms of your body. Know when it’s tired, when it’s active and driven to get work done.

Make a schedule and stick to it.

If you are the type to make schedules and stick to them (like I am), decide how many days off you need and incorporate it into your flow. I usually do two days off, but they don’t have to be consecutive. Even if it’s mega-crunch time, I make room for one day off, at least.

If you are the type to not make schedules, then figure out the number of days off you would need in a given week/month/quarter and incorporate it into your flow. Do you need two days off in a row? Ok. Or do you need three days off a week? This will depend on your lifestyle and your responsibilities, but always make sure you have time off and that it’s balanced with your work.

And relax.

It will get done.

I know sometimes I tend to overwork myself because I feel a sense of urgency. Like, “If I don’t get this done now, it will never get done!”

That’s bull-crap.

Things will get done. Your project will get finished, and then you will move on to the next one.

Nothing needs to be done “right now.” It just needs done.

How soon, or how late, is up to you.

I’m not telling you to shurk your deadlines.

I’m telling you that if you need to take a breather so you’re not overworked, take that breather.

Take care of yourself first. The rest will follow.

I hope this helped you in some way. Please take good care of yourselves.

So when was your last day off? Did you do anything/nothing/all of the things? Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on Friday.