Hey guys! I wanted to wish you all an incredible Christmas/New Year season, from all of us here at AP&AS.
It’s been such an amazing year with lots of ups, and just enough downs to keep our grasp on reality. It’s so incredible to be able to connect with all of you every day, and I want to thank you for dropping in and sharing in the creativity. I hope in even a small way we can inspire you with the projects and ideas we share! I hope your holiday season is full of love, happiness and… overeating. And being grateful for what we have, even if it’s been a tough year on many fronts.
I also wanted to ask you a question, namely about whether you’ll be having downtime these holidays. In the past I have not only interacted and been online over the Christmas period, but worked too, creating content and communicating with clients. And, if I’m honest, I wore that commitment to my workload and business as a secret badge of honour, feeling that it was a must for this type of career. But over time, I’ve realised there’s nothing less cool than a martyred workaholic, particularly to those around you. This year I’ve done my best to clear the schedule for the next week, which will be a huge step up, but the more I think about it the more I wonder, is it essential to completely disconnect over the holidays?
If you’re a blogger or a creative, or anyone who works for themselves really, you’ll know that (if we’re lucky) the work very rarely stops. So do we just roll with that? Or do we push back and carve out some time to disconnect? After running this blog for 7 years, I’m starting to be on the side of the latter. I’ve spoken here a lot about digital downtime and phone curfews, and this year I’m all about holiday downtime – friends, family and real life relationships. Swapping emoji avocados for actual ones. In case you need an action plan, I’ve outlined what I’ll be doing below. Let me know if this is what you’ll be doing too!
An Action Plan For Downtime
1. Prep is key. You’ve still got a few days to prep your posts and other bits of workload so that you can free some time to relax. Do it now!
2. Remember your Out Of Office? Ok so in case you’ve forgotten, it’s an automatic reply that you set up on your emails so people know you wont be replying so quickly. Chances are if you work for yourself you don’t use it much, or at all in fact. But you should. For this week anyway. You’re not a failure just because you admit you want to take a moment just to breatheeeeee.
3. Tell Your Clients. Rather than going MIA and then feeling that guilt of knowing someone is waiting for a reply, tell your clients in advance that you won’t be available. I know, scary. But people much prefer you to be upfront than be left hanging. And it’s just a week! Unless you’re a heart surgeon (in which case keep your phone on) chances are no one is going to die.
4. Responsibly consume social media. Whether you choose to do a digital detox (go completely offline) or not, you need to manage the triggers you have with work, which may mean, if you’re a blogger or someone in the online industry, being carefully/strict about how to consume social media. If logging on is sure to be a downward spiral to working, don’t do it! I love reading blogs and using Pinterest even in my downtime because I do it for creativity, but it’s all about managing your intake.
5. Prep your phone. It’s there, a metaphorical bomb waiting to go off in your hand. Which is why you need to defuse it, disconnect your emails, remove notifications, do as much as you can to turn it into a benign piece of technology that’s good for playing snake on (where did that game go?).
6. Plan creative activities. Chances are without your fingers tapping out those emails you’re going to feel a little lost… So plan to do something creative instead. Hiking, cooking, journal writing or crafting – I’ve just bought some amazing fabrics that I’m taking down to Australia so I can make a few tops (yes I know that borders on work but I love it). Maybe there are a few projects here you’ve been planning to do… now is the time!
Worst case… For those of you who have things that simply must happen while you’re having your downtime, one option is to consider using a scheduling service to send out social media updates without you having to do anything, and if you must set aside a small window of the day to check incoming. On the other hand, if you have to work/be connected full time (as I did last year), just make sure you carve out some time at some point that’s just for you (and be thankful you’re busy, a blessing but a curse!).
This has to be one of my favourite posts of the year (funny it barely classifies as 2016 haha!). Along with this post, this post, this post, this post, and this one. I’m off to have a little blog break, so I’ll see you guys bright eyed and bushy tailed in a week! I’m looking forward to creating more amazing content with and for you guys in 2017. Stay safe and happy!