With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be hard to stay motivated enough to have productive holidays instead of just fun ones. One of the best things about being a freelancer is that you aren’t wedded to a set schedule.
You set your own hours and can make special allowances for holiday events. It’s important to make a plan before the holidays get too hectic, though. Without one, staying productive during the holidays will be much harder. So, how do you do it?
Tips for Staying Productive During the Holidays
1. Keep a Schedule
It might seem obvious, but lots of people let their jobs fall by the wayside when their normal schedules are impacted by the holidays. Keep your schedule up and plan for holiday events. It’s okay to make adjustments; foregoing your schedule entirely will likely lead to fewer profits and opportunities once the presents are opened and the new year arrives.
2. Give Yourself a Break
Even though it’s important to keep your schedule, it’s also important to take time off for the things you love. If you spend the holidays hunched over a keyboard, blogging or working on assignments, you’re going to feel deprived. Instead, choose the things you love most and plan to enjoy them to the fullest. Just write them down and schedule them like any other event.
3. Take Care of Yourself
With so much going on, it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside.
Staying healthy isn’t just good for your body, it also makes it easier to stay productive during the holidays. Eat a healthy meal between the gut-busting family dinners, get up every hour to stretch and get some water, and take time out for exercise. You’ll be glad you did.
One issue freelancers face when it comes to keeping up with assignments or continuing the holiday job search is that often there are more people around during the holidays. Family comes to visit. Friends want to gather. Children are home from school. Make sure to prioritize your work for a certain amount of the day or week. Just set boundaries and close yourself off in the office for an hour or two, and you’ll make great progress.
Related reading: Getting Your Kids on Board: Strategies to Get Your Kids to Cooperate During Your Work Hours
5. Work Ahead
If you know you’ll have 20 people at your house or travel plans that last for two weeks, put your nose to the grindstone ahead of time. Land jobs early, plan to finish assignments early, or at least get a head start on them and you’ll have much more free time when you need it. Plus, no one enjoys a last minute scramble to get things done.
6. Keep Looking for Jobs
Letting your search for new clients lapse during the holiday season can put you in a real bind when January rolls around. Find jobs during the holidays by designating a part of your schedule for your job search. Dedicate yourself to, say, checking at least three ads a day in your field, sending out resumes, or spending two hours on Fridays hunting for jobs. However you do it, looking for work is essential to staying productive during the holidays.
We’ve talked about how it doesn’t hurt to keep looking for jobs even though you have existing ones, and it’s even more applicable during the holidays. Think about it. The holidays are a crazy time, and the chances are that you’re spending a lot of money during this period. While you may have saved for this, you also might have a considerable amount of bills to pay come January – on top of your regular expenses.
That’s a major reason we try to keep the job lists going during the holidays even though there may not be as many ads as usual. Platforms like Flexjobs, however, have even more options for their members, which is why we really recommend them to you guys.
Why do we keep bringing Flexjobs up? Because they have a lot to offer job seekers! Here are a handful of advantages you get as a Flexjobs member – all year round:
- A huge database of jobs
- Protection from scams
- High-quality jobs that pay well
- No-questions-asked refund
- Great customer service (which can be rare these days).
So, yes, if you want to make holiday job searching easier, then you really ought to give Flexjobs a go.
If you haven’t already, also check out Virtual Vocations for more options. Then there’s always our Daily Writing Gigs and Job Board.
7. Touch Base with Collaborators
If you work with other people, it’s important to touch base early about assignments and schedule changes during the holidays. Some people don’t travel when or where you’d expect; others take a large chunk of time off. If you’re depending on other people to have productive holidays, it’s better to get in touch and make your expectations known. By the same token, if you’re having a hard time juggling your workload, talk to the people who will be affected earlier rather than later.
8. Use Technology Smartly
Not everywhere you travel during your holidays will have reliable Wi-Fi. It can be hard to find jobs or submit assignments when you can’t get online. Check ahead of time to make sure that your holiday housing includes the internet. If it doesn’t, consider getting a Wi-Fi hotspot plan to go with your phone. Make sure to set up your assignments to save and sync remotely while you’re out on holiday travel, too, so that you don’t lose anything when you’re making use of someone else’s computer.
9. Choose Your Workspace
If you want to have productive holidays, a place to work that helps you focus and get things done will make it happen. If you’re visiting family, check out local coffee shops or libraries to find relatively quiet places to sit with a laptop so you can get a couple of thousand words written before returning to join the fun. If you’re staying closer to home, consider getting up early or staying up late to work — whichever works better for you. In that way, you’ll have a quiet workspace that’s distraction-free instead of one overrun with well-meaning visitors.
10. Take Advantage of Your Job
One of the best parts of being a freelancer, blogger, or writer is that you have flexibility. Remote work usually means that you can easily take your children to visit their grandparents without having to give up valuable income. Start a holiday job search now rather than waiting until they get closer and look for flexible remote opportunities to enhance what you’re already doing.
If you follow these tips, you’re sure to stay productive during the holidays. That means when the new year rolls around, you’ll be set with assignments, on track with your current projects, and better off in the bank account than you would be if you slacked off. Prioritizing work doesn’t mean letting the holidays fly by without having any fun – you just need to make adjustments and allowances for the holiday season.
First published in November 2017; updated October 2023