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Give Yourself a Break

As a freelancer the dream is to get paid for doing work you love. The work you love is what you sell and the service you provide.

But there is a lot more that needs to be done on a daily/weekly basis than the actual client work you signed up for.

It’s called: running your business (and life)

Blog posts
Website tweaks
Course ideas
Social Media

Not to mention:

and friends
and groceries
and cooking
and kids
and exercise…..

The list is endless.

So much to do and not enough time.

Last week we talked overwhelm and how saying no to certain things is sometimes necessary.

This week, I just want you to simply give yourself a break.

As much as I truly believe (and often speak about) the importance of consistency, sometimes you just need a break. And that’s ok.

Pick one thing not to do.


Pick one thing that you’re supposed to do, and don’t do it today (or this week).

Most importantly, be ok with it.

Whether it’s skipping a week of blogging, not sending your newsletter, not adding your recent project to your portfolio, not posting to your Facebook page or something else.

Skip it.

Be ok with it.

Focus on what you do have the energy & pep to do.

Come back next week with renewed energy and get back on track.

You may have a dip in traffic or “reach”, you might get a couple unsubscribes from people that have forgotten about you (who needs a Dory on their list anyway), but in the end it doesn’t change much.

You need to hustle to make this work. Hustle has got me where I am today. But when you wear so many hats, hustle only can go so far. There are only so many hours in the day.

You’re a freelancer for the freedom.

And sometimes we forget that.

Give yourself a break. (Tweet that!)


Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Great advice…I’m off to go do “nothing” now!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Haha, well not quite nothing I hope (although that’s ok too)!

  • So there are TWO things that I’m supposed to do that I haven’t been: exercising and getting enough sleep. But I don’t think that’s what you’re talking about here. I have a few more things I need to get done, and then I’m taking a week of from the hustle. (That still leaves me with my day job and everything else.)

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yeah unfortunately that’s the stuff we always need more of. Glad to know you’re taking a break next week. You’ll be better for it after!

  • Excellent post. Sometimes it’s just about giving yourself permission to kick back. So on that note, I’m shutting down the computer and off to watch Mad Men with my husband 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Exactly. Permission is what we often need and have a hard time giving it to ourselves. So if you need it, I’m giving you permission to watch Mad Men!! 🙂

  • Yeah this is something we all need to hear, thank you for saying it 🙂

    I usually drop things because I’m overwhelmed and then I feel guilty, but choosing not to do it on purpose and feeling okay with it – that sounds like a much better option.

    I’m going off to see what I’ll drop from my to-do list this week… 😉

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      That’s the key Nela. I’m the same, drop it because I just can’t do it then feel bad. Actively making the decision makes all the difference!

  • Leah, you pulled the thoughts right out of my brain! Sometimes we forget that this whole freelancer thing IS about freedom…and we don’t give ourselves permission to drop the ball once in a while, or not do everything on our to-do lists.

    I’ve been working on being kinder to myself and determining what my cannot-be-ignored areas are: self-care + exercise (this only recently made it in here when I began gaining some weight and having back troubles because I was sitting at my desk 24/7!), family/bf/dog time, client projects.

    The things I try to make time for, but don’t sweat if they get pushed to the side sometimes: blogging (I haven’t blogged in 3 weeks because I had 3 birthdays to celebrate – including my own!, a sick dog, and I was loaded with client work…at first I got panicky about it, but then I realized there are more important things to worry about), social media, starting new projects/fleshing out new ideas.

    Thank you for this reminder. 😀

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      I’m so glad to see your list of cannot-ignore vs. okay-to-ignore. Honestly, my list should be the same (well maybe everyone’s!) but I haven’t been great at it. I think 3 birthdays is a perfect reason to skip 3 blog posts 🙂 Happy Birthday!!

  • Phew, let’s me off the hook for a weekly round-up post I usually do. This would be week ten, but I’m traveling & haven’t been online much to pull together a high quality round up. So, thanks for the reminder! 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Haha, well I’m glad. And that’s exactly the problem…when we do to much we can’t do it well. Better wait to have a post-worthy roundup that will actually help your people!

  • Oh man, that last line about being a freelancer FOR the freedom was the slap in the face I really needed! Sometimes I feel anything BUT free with all the projects I work on and people calling and emailing me throughout the day. It can definitely feel overwhelming, but I need to remind myself to just take a break and relax more. Thank you so much for that! Funny enough, I am working in bed this morning (I never do this) because I told myself I need to take it easy more often, and shortly after that I saw your email with the subject “Give yourself a break.” Maybe it’s a sign. 😉 Thank you!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yes! So glad I could give you that slap in the face 🙂 Your bed office was clearly meant to be today!

  • Oh I love this Leah! Last week I was leaving Mexico, overwhelmed with packing, and loaded with client calls. I was tired…so what did I do? Well I decided to break tradition and not blog last week (because let’s be honest…it always takes a good 2 hours to get it together!).

    It was a refreshing break and I came back strong and rejuvenated this week!

  • You’re always in my head! I boycotted my blog post yesterday & it was fabb 😀

  • This is perfect! Doing nothing all weekend!

  • Am I allowed to pick multiple things I should do to not do!? I am procrastinating on so many things, because I am so overwhelmed with all of things I should be doing! 🙂

  • Thank you SO much for writing this- its exactly what I needed to read.

  • Jamie

    HELL YES! I love this blog post – for a hundred reasons. Mostly because I often need the permission to stop running myself into the ground (why am I SO good at that?). Leah’s permission works for me!! 😉

    Sometimes, in an effort to serve our clients, community, loved ones, and work the hustle it’s easy to forget that we need to PAUSE. My body told me to slow down this week by getting sick and this blog post couldn’t have come at a better time. We truly do better work when we give ourselves the permission to get a little lax. It reminded me of something my dad always used to say… a rubber band stretched backwards just enough will propel forward, but stretched too tight, it will snap. And then what do you have? A broken rubber band that can’t do shit. xoxo Thanks for writing and sharing this Leah!

  • Yes!! This is where I was last night. Just so tired of the hustle. Then, I still came home and worked some more. Then I got a good night’s sleep and this morning I’m back in love.

    But last week I did take a break. Just didn’t work for a few days straight (over Thanksgiving), and when I returned on Monday, I could feel the shift. Thanks for the reminder that we need to give ourselves a break. You always seem to write exactly for where I am 🙂

  • Ilina Dimitrova

    Great advice! Getting burned out and crushed under self-imposed expectations is very counterproductive in the long run.

  • Love this! Breaks are a needed part of any business!

  • I’ve done this myself from time to time and it feels great! Not only do I feel like I’m actually enjoying my life, when I actually come back to the things I’m “supposed to do”, I feel refreshed and it’s so much easier (and even enjoyable) to get done. This a great and timely article.

  • This has been on my mind SO much lately. I’ve been really intent on trying to de-stress, not take on as much, and do things that simplify – even in my personal life too. I usually hate buying the pre-cut veggies, and just buy fresh because it’s cheaper. But, if it saves me an hour of time and then I can read (which it did, and I did) it’s worth the extra two dollars. 🙂

  • Totally agree with you! The “guilty obligatory urge” often trumps our intuition, which knows what we are “truly supposed” to be doing. Thanks for challenging us to rethink this.:)

  • Love this post! I can’t wait to not schedule a bunch of Twitter posts tonight and spend some time with my husband.

  • We all need it and we all deserve a break.

  • Just do it – so hard but so necessary!

  • so good Leah!
    I rather skip something that I’m supposed to do but don’t feel my full energy on it and get back at it when I can make it better and be fully in the zone for it.

    We’re humans and taking some time to retreat, get some quiet time, recharge and come back fully charged.

    Thank you for sharing how being vulnerable is ok! Those who follow us and support us will wait once we’re back and ready!

  • YES! Thank you so much for this. I’ll be sharing with my clients, too.

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