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First off, the last time I had a hangover was over 20 years ago, when I was still a partying single. It was so bad, I swore off drinking (for a while anyway). That’s not what this post is about.
I’d like to talk about a different kind of hangover. One that last longer than a drinking hangover. It’s vacation hangover — when you get back from vacation and have a really hard time getting back into the swing of things.
I just recently went through one and I’d like to share some of the things I learned with you.
Signs of Vacation Hangover
How do you even know you’re suffering from vacation hangover?
My symptoms included inability to focus. Sleepiness and sluggishness. Lack of interest or desire to work.
Your symptoms might be similar or completely different. The point is, you’re unable to complete your work, because your mind and body are still longing to be on vacation.
What’s a struggling freelancer to do?
Lessons From A Really Bad Vacation Hangover
Here are some tips and advice that may help you stave off and get over a vacation hangover as quickly as possible.
1. Tie loose ends before going on vacation.
This is common sense. Meet all your deadlines and complete your assignments before your vacation starts. This helps you to actually enjoy your vacation. However, beyond this it’s also a good idea to….
2. Complete work in advance.
If you have deadlines shortly after your vacation ends, don’t count on completing them right after you return. Instead, complete those tasks way in advance — yes, before your vacation starts.
This came in really handy for me, because I got sick during my vacation. But because I had “banked” some work in advance, I was able to relax and focus on getting well, instead of fretting over my deadlines.
3. Schedule your post-vacation projects accordingly.
Keep your post-vacation schedule light, at least for the first week or so after you return from your holiday. Don’t schedule demanding projects, big campaigns or other crucial tasks right after your vacation. Instead, allow yourself to ease back into work.
I made the big mistake of scheduling a huge marketing effort with one of my clients in the week immediately after my vacation. Boy was it hard to crank up my engine and get all revved up for it. But I put off whatever other tasks I could and focused completely on this campaign for a couple of days. Fortunately, it worked, and I was soon on top of all my deliverables. Ahead of schedule, even.
4. Don’t fight it.
Work with your body and mind; don’t fight vacation hangover. If you’ve been hit hard, it probably means you’ve been overworking and actually need more time to rest and recharge. If you fight this, you’ll be doing sub-par work and taking twice longer to complete it.
Instead, give your body and mind and rest it’s craving. Work shorter hours. Take more frequent breaks. Get plenty of sleep. Just take it easy for a few days. And if necessary….
5. Adjust your deadlines.
Your clients will actually appreciate it if you’re honest and ask for a deadline extension, instead of giving them work that isn’t top quality. Most of the time, you’ll find that clients are quite flexible and very few things are truly urgent.
Have you ever experienced vacation hangover?
What did you do to get over it?
Do you have additional advice to our fellow freelancers who may be going through it this summer?
Share your thoughts and experiences below, so we can all learn from each other!
photo credit: oooh.oooh