If you’re a busy freelancer like I am, odds are you don’t have much time for a vacation this summer.
As you look at people’s Facebook photos or admire the tans on friends just returning from week-long breaks, it’s hard not to feel a little envious. Of course, it’s great to have work but sunny skies can make us long for a bit of down time.
What to do if you don’t have time to book that Expedia package? Create your own little vacationland.
1. Download a pretty screen saver – Just because you’re not in Bermuda, doesn’t mean you can’t gaze at its turquoise waters.
2. Pick a scenic spot to grab lunch – If there’s a park or river views nearby, sit on a bench and take in the scenery as you unwrap your sandwich.
3. Plan a day trip or a quick weekend getaway – Okay, it’s not a 1-2 week vacation, but sometimes a short jaunt is all you need to recharge your batteries. I just returned from a weekend trip to Mystic, Connecticut so I speak from experience!
4. Get your drink on – On the weekends or after work, order a daiquiri or a margarita and you’ll suddenly be transported to a tropical island.
5. Look toward the future – You may not have time to travel now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t book a trip for the fall, winter, or spring. It’ll give you something to look forward to and soon, your screen shot will come to life!
An email. A phone call. A meeting. If you’re communicating to employees, all of the above work well but you have to know when to use them.
I like email for prodding. If you’re inquiring about the status of a project or to set up a meeting, email is ideal. No need to bother someone with a phone call; they might be busy. Instead, a quick one or two lines is the way to go. Make sure the phrasing is polite and that the person knows you’re grateful for their time. Heck, add a smiley face if you have to, depending on the level of the person you’re emailing (e.g. if it’s an executive, avoid the smiley faces!).
With phone calls, let’s state the obvious: if you need a rush response to something, you must pick up the phone. Phoning someone is also a nice way to follow up from an email, or vice versa.
Sometimes, a project may be too intricate to discuss over email; too much back and forth in email chains can be confusing to follow. Picking up the phone for a proper discussion will work best. Always opt for the office phone before trying someone’s mobile. Save the cell phone calls for urgent matters.
Face-to-face interaction, of course, is the most personal way to communicate to someone – whether you’re in the workplace or catching up with an old friend. To my fellow freelancers, I highly recommend face-to-face communication whenever possible. If you need to touch base with a co-worker, take a stroll to his/her cubicle. You’ll find many people will welcome a five-minute break to chat or look away from the computer screen.
If the person is busy or on the phone however, just wave and come back later. Try to stay visible as much as possible to keep your face out there and build rapport with colleagues and clients.