Days off...? Weekends...? What are they?

Someone asked me the other week whether I had plans for the weekend. I assume he was asking whether I would be going out for the day or doing something other than sitting at my desk, editing or working.

It struck me (when I had no answer for him) that since I started working for myself, I've broken the working time directive (48 hours week) on an almost weekly basis! Of course, many people say that it's not work if you love it, and generally, I do love it (though not always). But I probably should allow myself some days off, right? I mean, I hit burnout just before I left working at the university, so I know what it's like and have no desire to go through that again.

But I find it almost impossible to take a day off. I have other caring responsibilities that take up some of my days of the week, which means that writing has to fit in around that. And often, just as I think I'm on top of everything, another caring issue comes up and I end up behind schedule again. Don't get me wrong, I don't in any way resent the caring responsibilities I have, but they do have a tendency to fry any plans I make. November sounded like a long month until I added up how many days I actually had available to edit in, and it turned out to be about 12 if I took any of the weekends off.

Which is why The Wrong Kind of Clouds isn't launched yet. I need to proof-read the Kindle and paperback versions (well, I need to proof-read one of them and check the formatting on both as the text is the same) and do the last checks of the cover, and then it's good to go. But I'm also neck-deep in editing book 7 (Trilogy #2) and I'm on more of a deadline with that in some ways. Oh, and I have book 6 (Trilogy #1) back from Fiona (my editor) ready for final tweaks and I haven't even managed to open that file and look at it. At some point soon, I need to contact the cover designers to get the ball rolling on covers for the trilogy (and I have a discount that runs out at the end of November, so need to get a wriggle on to use it!).

So, until I feel like I'm not juggling four books at once (note to self, don't ever do this again!) weekends and days off might be a novelty. I'm trying hard to take breaks and time away from my desk, but in many ways, it only makes me feel more stressed, as then I have less time in which to finish stuff. But I do also recognise that was exactly how I felt before I burned out and had to take more than six months off work, 4 years ago.

How does everyone else balance this??