This is my very first sabbatical blog post. By the time this post comes out, I’ll have finished my first sabbatical week! Woo hoo!
I’m following Seanwes‘ advice (I pretty much follow all of his advice) to take every 7th week off to step back from my day-to-day and recharge. To learn more about the small scale sabbaticals, you can watch his short video or listen to this podcast episode.
If you’ve been following along my weekly blog, you probably know that I quit my day job to pursue art full-time at the end of July this year. Ever since, I’ve been hustling pretty much non-stop. I’m grateful for all the opportunities and all that I’m learning every day.
At the same time, I was drained.
It’s weird right? You’re following your passion and are able to do what you love all the time. I should be happy and more full of energy, shouldn’t I?
The thing is, it’s still work. In a way it’s even more taxing than being in a day job because now you’re 100% responsible for whatever happens. I’m mentally more engaged every day, making all the decisions and thinking ahead. And making a lot of art can be hard on your body, too.
When I was toying with the idea of taking a week off regularly, I was hesitant at first. I just started doing this full-time not too long ago, and my business is still at an early stage of growth. Is it smart to take a week off now? It’s not like I have paid vacation any more! I started thinking, well, maybe I can take sabbaticals later when my business is bigger and then I can afford to take a time off.
And then I had to shift my mindset around a few things to really recognize the benefits of taking a regular time-off.
By taking a week off every 7 weeks, I may have a small loss in sales or client work. But if I put off taking care of myself, I’m going to burn out for sure. There is absolutely no doubt about that. And if you’re burnt out, there will be no passion to pursue. That’s the worst thing that can happen to any creative people, right?
When I worked with people affected by domestic violence in my old day job, we often talked about self-care as an ethical obligation. Working with people with trauma could cause you to have secondary trauma, which will lead you to burn out. If you don’t recognize the signs of burn-out and take care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to help people effectively. Not to mention your own happiness, and your personal relationships will suffer too.
I know that growing a business is hard work that could take many years. If I put off taking care myself until I could “afford it”, 1) it may never happen because there are always things to do, and there is never a “good” time to take a time off, and 2) my business may never grow to the point where I feel like I can “afford it” because I’ll burn out and quit. Neither option sounds good, does it?
So I’m making a commitment to take every 7th week off to step back and recharge. I’m not going to wait to implement a good plan that’s going to help me and my business grow long term. My future sabbaticals are already on my calendar so I know not to schedule any “work-y” stuff, like client meetings and project deadlines during that week. I’ll probably stay away from my regular blog-writing though I might continue writing for a different project or for fun. I’ll prepare a shorter blog post for each sabbatical week, so you won’t miss me 🙂
Some sabbaticals may just be me relaxing for a week. But here are some of the things I’d like to do during my week-off:
- Make art for fun and/or exploration
- Learn new skills and information whether it’s about creativity, business, or something totally different (like cat whispering!)
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Focus on my long-term project – e.g. web redesign, new service development, future visioning etc.
- Enjoy other creative things like crochet and sewing
- Cook more
- Pamper myself
I know for sure that the long-term benefits of taking mini sabbaticals far outweigh any short-term losses. Plus, one week is not that long… It’s not as big of a deal as taking a year off or something! If you get behind during the week off, I’m sure you can catch up in the following weeks because your time off will make you even more productive. Win win!
Oh I can’t wait to report back what I did this past week in my post next Sunday!
See you soon!