Today is Columbus Day in the U.S.; it’s one of those holidays that some people have off and some people don’t.
Many of my friends have it off. I told them I didn’t. Each of them said, “But you work for yourself, you can take it off if you want to.”
And each of them is correct. I could take it off if I wanted to, but I don’t. I actually find working holidays to be quite productive — since they generally tend to be very quiet (fewer phone calls and e-mails). But that’s me and the personal choice I make as the owner of my own business.
Here’s how I plan my time off. Maybe it will give you some ideas.
I start by drawing a line through the dates I will be on vacation. You may prefer to put a big “X” in each box, or highlight the dates in a certain color.
Next, I go through and mark off the holidays (and personal days) I intend to take — those where I will *not* be in the office and *not* doing any work.
Then I decide which conferences, workshops, seminars, and so on I’d like to attend (as far out as I can) and also mark those dates.
I quickly have a visual that shows me the days left that I will be working. Maybe I’ll have to rethink some plans – for instance, it’s crazy how fast my November fills up. I’m never able to do all I want in that month.
This is where a fresh copy of a 12-month calendar comes in; the reassessment phase. It’s where I determine which days off are most important and which activities may fall by the wayside. I mark up the fresh copy with the re-evaluated dates.
Now, you may not know all the dates you want to take off, but holidays, vacations, personal growth, and personal days are great dates to start with. Knowing what dates you don’t want to work helps you schedule your time on the days you do work.
This is a high-level look at the year ahead, but can be a great place to start before figuring out how you will meet your budgeted income and expenses for the year.
Do you schedule your time off in advance, or go week to week and decide based on your workload?
Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with manufacturing, software, and technology businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.