I’m writing from the island of Gigha, in the Hebrides of Scotland. In the distance acrossthe gray-green sea I can see the shadowy hills of Ireland, and all around me people are speaking in a musical brogue.
In short, I’m on vacation. We started in Belgium, and made our way through York and Edinburgh. We’ll wrap up our trip in London next week. Though I’m back to working now – albeit in a much lovelier setting than usual — I managed to take almost an entire week off except for a few emails last week.
That’s no mean feat, as freelancers will know. Looking back, I think I managed it via a few crucial steps:
• I arranged to have phone service in Europe. (See: Mobile Phone Coverage In Europe: A Few Answers) That meant I could be in touch without being chained to my computer.
• I picked a holiday week, over July 4. One of my regular deadlines was canceled for the week, and more people than usual were out of the office.
• I let everyone know in advance that I would be away and explained how they could reach me if they needed to. Hardly anyone I know unplugs entirely for a week; and I think it would been out-of-the-norm if I’d done that. So I did check in a few times to show that I was still among the working.
• Most important was the mental energy it took not to pick up my computer. There are plenty of ongoing writing projects that my overactive guilty conscience was telling me I should work on. I had to make a deliberate effort to tune that out.