On average, how many weeks of annual leave do you take each year?
That’s the question I asked professional organisers in a Quick Question survey. I’m pleased to bring you this survey summary.
Answers ranged from zero to ten weeks. Overall, the average number of weeks reported was four.
I also asked a follow up question about how far in advance they organise annual leave. On average, those organised respondents plan their leave five months in advance.
But as is always the case, the full picture lies not just in the numbers, but in the stories behind the numbers. Here are some of those.
Chantal Imbach from Photos in Order said, “My principle is to not work during school holidays. However, now that the kids are older and do their own thing, I have started to work more during the school breaks, in fact pretty much as normal with a lazy day here and there. I went away for 2 months this year, which was a bit scary when one is a sole trader. However, it all went well and to plan and I will definitely do this again. Communication with existing clients and prospects is of course key. As a photo manager I have usually clients who had procrastinated about their photo organisation for years and none of them had a problem with me pausing for a couple of months and delaying their project. It’s all possible, just requires a bit of planning and communication.”
Stefanie King from The Organising Project also plans around her children. She said, “I still have school aged kids, so try to take time off during holidays or at least work fewer sessions. If we go away it is either ad hoc long weekend or long planned.”
Amy Kennedy from The Organising Bee continues the theme and is very satisfied with her choice. “I made a decision early on in my business (back in 2015) that I would not work the school holidays, so that my children and I could enjoy this time together. It also meant that I wasn’t needing to pay for holiday care for 3 children during this time. To this date, I have honoured this and have only worked for a handful of days during the school holidays (mainly for families with young children and it is essential for the child to be present during the session). For me it works perfectly, I get to spend valuable time with my daughters. Plus, organising is hard on your body, so after 10 weeks of hands hands-on organising within a clients home (5 days per week), my body physically needs time to rest and recover.”
A Hand to Help’s Veronica Kennedy knows that time away from work makes her a better organiser. She said, “Booking leave is extremely important. We can’t care for our clients if we are exhausted and running in empty. Most of my leave is away in the bush camping. One week in July is rented accommodation by the sea. We have one weekend away a month camping. I’m happy with our down time. The trick is getting it into the diary and keeping it there. It is non-negotiable time.”
Kelly Bainbridge from Life Organised said, “I close my business down in the summer school holidays but this European trip hasn’t been as quiet as I hoped!” I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless, Kelly.
Tracey Warren from Professional Organising Solutions takes two weeks on average, and said, “I’m happy with the amount of leave I take. I tend to take several short holidays (3-7 days) throughout the year.”
As well as taking regular annual leave, Sharon Alexander from O2B Organised said, “I also block out occasional long weekends when I am going through extra busy periods so I can recharge.”
Virginia Wells from WellSorted said, “I am booked out at least six months in advance, so I do have to plan very far in advance my annual leave. I would like to take more time off from work – why not? I have a choice with running a business, so I could plan more in! (But then I have less hours available for clients!) Hard choice.
Natalie Morey from The Lifestylers Group isn’t satisfied with the amount of leave she gets. “I would love to be able to take more time. (After all is that not why we are in business in the first place to have work life balance.) I find it is always such a juggle as I am fielding calls, checking in and thinking about work.”
Noela Collins from Organise Your… is also not getting enough holidays. Taking on average four weeks a year, Noela said, “I would prefer 6 weeks, in 2 week blocks, but it never seems to work out that way to date, always hopeful.”
Although Kathy McGiffen from Create The Life You Love takes six weeks leave each year, she said, “There is no plan. I work for myself specifically because I need flexibility for sport and family commitments. I let life decide. I am the one who writes in the calendar. If I have a competition or family holiday booked, I simply do not take bookings on those dates.”
It seems that flexibility is one of the key benefits of “being your own boss”. I’m pleased to say that my boss – me! – is pretty generous with the amount of time off I get. I hope yours is too.
If this article has tempted you to pull out your calendar and organise annual leave for next year, you’re welcome. 🙂
However, if you find yourself shaking your head and worrying about how you could organise annual leave while juggling your business and life commitments, drop me a line. Let’s work it out.