I was on my mini sabbatical during the week of 2/6.
It was super relaxing, and I felt like it was one of the best sabbaticals I’d ever been on! What made it so successful was I didn’t schedule whole a lot of social engagements during my week off.
In the past, I’d cram in as many lunches and coffee dates as possible during my sabbatical (I mean, like 3 or 4 during the week :D) because I didn’t see my friends any other time. But this year I’m switching gears and trying to spread out my social engagements more evenly and make time to see my friends in small doses outside of my sabbaticals.
I’m an introvert, and being around people, while it can be a lot of fun, drains my energy. So, in order for me to really recharge my energy reserve during my sabbaticals, I decided not to schedule any get togethers with friends in advance, and it was super helpful! I still saw people, but it was more spontaneous (imagine that!!) and based on how I felt then.
Anyway, while on sabbaticals, I try to do things I normally don’t have the time to do. And here are some highlights!
1. I did my goal setting and planning for 2017.
I got this downloadable “2017 Goal and Intention Kit” from Jessica Swift and LOVE it! I did some intention setting earlier this year but finally dug into the actual goal setting during my sabbatical. It felt so good to have more clear directions for the year!
My business goal is to grow my wholesale side of business, partnering with more retail shops to carry my greeting cards! (BTW, If you know cute gift/stationery shops that may be a good fit for my work – do tell me in the comment! Both in and outside of US.)
But more generally, my goal is to be more focused – working on just one thing at a time, be more present with work and relationships, and getting more quality work done in a shorter time. I’m excited about this goal and will share more in another blog post!
2. I created abstract acrylic paintings.
One of my intentions for this year is to try and explore different creative outlets. I feel it’s important for artists to stay curious and try something new! You might end up not liking something but will never know unless you try it, right?
I’ve been a little intimidated by painting with acrylics (I took a class once and found the medium hard to work with!) but I love the look of acrylic paintings, so I watched a couple of classes on Creativebug (I especially enjoyed this one and this one) and went for it!
I decided to paint some abstract pieces – just something different and intuitive .
I worked on 4 canvases at a time since they’re pretty small (8″x10″), and I didn’t want to wait around while the paint was drying.
I shared this process video on Instagram and thought you might like it, too! It’s good to document the process to see what steps I took to create an artwork and reflect on what I might do differently next time.
The hardest part of creating these paintings for me was to know when to stop. I felt like I over did the first paintings – I kept wanting to layer more and more hoping to make them look like something else… I’m letting them hang out for a while to see how I feel about them later.
And the second set, I went really simple just to see how I felt about them. I still did multiple layers but used just two colors and simple shapes. As my wise friend said, it takes guts to create something so simple! You keep thinking “this can’t possible be done…?” even though in your gut you know you should stop.
And the wonderful thing about acrylic paintings is you can totally paint over it if you don’t like something 😀
3. I made waxed fabrics to replace plastic wraps.
A small part of me dies whenever I use single-use plastic wraps, and I’ve been meaning to do a DIY project to replace them.
I found this tutorial on how to create waxed linen and made my own!
It was pretty easy, and they’re definitely prettier than any plastic wraps 😀 I can’t wait to use them and see how they do!
Taking a regular time off every 7 weeks has been so valuable to me. I’ve been taking mini sabbaticals since October 2015 and can’t imagine not doing it!
It gives me the chance to step back and reflect on how things are going. I often ask myself; How am I doing with my goals? How am I feeling about my business? Do I need to course correct or keep doing what I’m doing? And since I don’t have a deadline or pressing work issues to attend to during my sabbaticals, I can really focus on the big picture.
Focusing on the big picture often reenergizes me and gives me inspirations for the future. And, since I’m forcing myself to get done 7-week worth of work in 6 weeks, I feel more productive when I’m “on,” too!
I used to have major FOMO about taking a time off from work but have learned over time nothing went terribly wrong while I was taking a break.
The truth is, one week is not that long.
As long as you plan ahead (which is easy to do since the sabbaticals come every 7 weeks), you can totally have a regular time off without losing money or feeling guilty.
If you’re curious, I want you to try it and see how you feel!