3 Lessons on Taking a Sabbatical
It’s Week 4 of my 3-month break from client work so I can recharge, create and determine my next evolution. If you envision me lying on the coach, eating bon-bons and catching up on past seasons of Scandal, let me correct that falsehood right now:
- No couch or bon-bons. I’m still Crossfitting, writing articles , connecting, brainstorming, experimenting with some new creative projects and taking a year-long virtual course to amp up my business and create something new. Oh, and there’s the toddler I need to keep alive. Plenty to do.
- I already caught up on Scandal on my holiday flight home. That show is like candy: so incredibly bad for you, but so delicious, you can’t help myself.
See, I got really burned out last year. I had wonderful clients but new motherhood kicked my ass, and I’m still recovering. Creativity took a back seat to survival and that’s not the way I want to live my life.
What am I learning about taking this break? If you’re itching to do the same but not sure how to go about it, please, grab a latte and sit back, my friend for 3 tips on how to take a creative break (Tweet this!)
- Schedule Everything, Even Down Time: When you work for yourself, whether you are actively engaged with customer/clients or not, there is still A LOT to keep up with. Emails, networking, bookkeeping. I could still sit at my laptop for 8 hours a day, while not earning a single cent. Set “work hours” in your calendar, as well as play/thinking/creating hours, just like meetings and stick to them. This includes checking email. While I can easily scan email on my phone at any time just in case Fast Company ever wants to interview me, most things are not urgent and can wait for my designated times. This is a huge relief. But SCHEDULING is key.
- Announce your Sabbatical: As I did with all of you, as I did with my network, as I do with everyone I speak to, even potential clients for after I return. The more you clearly set boundaries for others, the less easy it will be for work to “sneak in.” I look at it as “my job” right now to take this time and space, so I honor it just as I would a client commitment. You should honor yourself as your own best client if you’re taking a break as well.
- Social Media is Great/Social Media Can Be Poison: While it’s wonderful to stay connected, it’s super hard to take time away when everyone is bragging about their “KICK ASS PLANS FOR 2016!!!!!!!!” in social media. People sport new journals, give you the play by play on their goals, take pictures of their exciting new book launching. It can make you feel like one lazy potato. But stay your course. For me, I have to take this time to rejuvenate my creativity and deliver something wonderful to you (while also feeding my soul) in a few months time. While I am still rolling out my Juicy Guide for Entrepreneurs eBook series (oooohhh…I hope you’ll check them out!), this is a core part of my creative therapy. I really enjoy writing, so taking time to do it is part of why I’m doing this whole “client hiatus” thing! Don’t let wonderful, well-intentioned, super-charged people in your life make you doubt what your mind and soul might really need right now.
Before you think I’ve mastered this whole thing, I’m still figuring out exactly how to truly take a step back and dig deep into my vision for the future…and I have had many missteps. I’ll keep you apprised of things that are working and things that are not.
You need to do what you need to do if you want to be successful and live a full, rich, creative life. No human can keep going, going, going at full volume without burning out. With some planning and focused intention, you can make the space you need to reset, refocus and come back swinging.