Remember to take vacation

Ever get halfway through the summer and realized you haven’t taken a vacation? When you’re self-employed, it can be hard to justify taking time off. A week without work means a week without pay…right?

Not necessarily. If you’ve managed to set your consulting fees properly and set aside money throughout the year, you should have cash on hand to cover vacation time. For example, as a minimum, I allow myself six weeks for vacation and sick leave when I calculate my fees. That’s similar to the amount of time off I’d get in a full-time job.

No money to cover time spent on vacation? Start saving. Set up a high interest savings account and contribute 12% of everything you earn. That’s the same as 6/52 or saving for six of 52 weeks. If you only end up taking four weeks of vacation and no sick time, you can reduce your contribution for the next year, since you’ve already saved for sick leave. (Unless you want to accumulate sick leave, but then that’s overlapping with your emergency fund.)

A vacation gives you time to unwind. It allows you to de-stress and relax. There’s research evidence you sleep much better throughout and right after your vacation.