Being a freelancer seems a lot like a full-time gig, taking over not only the daily 9-to-5 rush but exceeding into evenings, weekends and Holidays. So is the offline time a real thing for freelancers?! is.
I’ve been a freelancer and digital nomad for more than 3 years now and, I must be honest, it’s given a terrible impact on my ability to enjoy the offline time…
The thing is, I do love my work. I’m a total workaholic (here, I said it!) and whenever I have the option to work, I, most likely, will not only use but also enjoy it. And being a digital nomad just makes my situation even worse. Now I can be on vacation AND work. So that vacation never really comes and I’m just changing my work location instead… It’s a dream, really! Except for the times when it’s actually not.
That’s what location independent lifestyle is all about – the option to bring your daily life with you wherever you go. And while many of my friends and people around could see my digital nomadism as the option to “travel and enjoy life more”, I actually see it more like the option to “work while not getting bored of my location”…
For the past 3 years, I can count on my fingers how many days I haven’t worked. It doesn’t sound as terrible when you actually love your job, you’re not destroying relationships and everything works hand in hand. At the same time, everyone needs some offline time…
Is offline time a real thing for freelancers?
After all this time, I gave up on my work and said – heck, yeah, I can leave my laptop home when going away for a week. Going away. For a week. WITHOUT MY LAPTOP. I hear your heartbeat raising. It’s insane, I know. I felt like it’s the biggest adventure of my life. And it somehow really was because for the first time in the past few years I realized – the world doesn’t stop if my laptop is left home, my emails get autoresponders and my clients have to WAIT. Another trigger word for that heartbeat, right?
I won’t be lying that I’ve “come back as a changed man” (except for the part that I’m not a man). Here are a few things I realized:
- I do love spending time offline just as much as I love my work;
- No universe exploded when my clients and cooperation partners had to wait for my answers;
- No one is angry because I left for a vacation. Including a client who’s depending on me on a daily basis A LOT;
- I’ve realized that work is not my whole life.
What has changed ever since…
Let me linger on that one a bit more. It might seem silly and almost impossible if I’d say that my stress levels had decreased drastically not only while the vacation was going on but this decrease has also continued after it ended. I just don’t feel like rushing anymore. If everyone was able to live without my online presence for a week, now a day or two of waiting for something won’t kill anybody, right?
So I have taken up some new habits:
- I don’t check my email 20x times a day. Now it’s just around 5x;
- I take more offline time. Even if it’s just staring out of the window or going for groceries to shop 3 streets further. Sometimes it’s reindeer watching kind of activity;
- I am conscious of whatever is happening. I used to rush into things just because they had to get done. Now I not only enjoy doing them but also pay as much attention and energy as I have for it at the moment which overall makes me even more satisfied with what I do!
I might never leave my laptop again (what a bummer!) — for so long. Just because planning work on the road is actually easier for me than working before leaving and after coming back. Hey, that’s why I’ve chosen a digital nomad lifestyle!
At the same time, I really did enjoy this offline time and I do believe that it’s not only possible but also really necessary for all freelancers and, even more, DIGITAL NOMADS out there.
Even if we’re talking about two or three-day trip. It’s not a mission impossible, my dear! You have no goddamn excuses. Just go for it, as Nike would say.