I just finished reading Reboot Your Life – Energize Your Career and Life by Taking a Break and it really shifted my thinking on a few things and cleared away a lot of anxiety I have been having lately (I wrote about how I was feeling in my Lost post).
Not only is the book filled with a lot of great advice about taking a sabbatical in general, it also features a huge amount of personal stories from people who have actually done it. These really drive home how beneficial it can be to take some time off and how to go about it.
I haven’t worked for two months now and I don’t feel great about admitting that I haven’t made the best use of that time. I spent a lot of it going around in circles, feeling guilty about not working and anxious about the uncertainty I have with my career.
This will change now.
I’ve realised I want to take a big lump of time off. I am going to give myself proper time and space to simply enjoy life and do interesting things – and in the process hopefully become clearer on what I want to spend my time doing professionally in the future.
The book suggests that successful sabbaticals tend to have four phases:
1. Creating Space - Putting your life in order (normally lasts about thirty days)
2. Reconnection – Revitalizing connections to people, places, activities and self
3. Exploration - Learning new things, especially through travel
4. Reentry - Starting a new chapter of your life
I like this a lot. It makes a lot of sense to think about loosely structuring some time off in this way.
I can now see I have been treading water in a kinda ‘Creating Space’ phase for 2 months – not good. A lot of that has been driven from feeling I need to move quickly into the next professional stage of my life – yet not knowing what the hell that is. It’s a vicious circle.
I have now let go of this completely and I’m not even going to try and solve it.
My goal is to take some time off and enjoy life and I have faith that the answer will present itself when the time is right and in a more natural way (and likely as a result of the new experiences I have).
Maybe that means I will go back to games. Maybe it means I won’t, but will still work in technology / product companies. Maybe it means I will do something so entirely different. We shall see.
So February will be my ‘Creating Space’ phase.
I have a number of things I want to get straight. I want to continue to read, write and improve my health. I want to simply do nothing at times and enjoy it. And I want to plan what comes after February.
I have no idea how long I will take off. It could be 3 months, it might be 18 months.
I feel very lucky to be in a position to be able to do this. The fact that Ella understands and is supportive. The fact that financially I can cope with it too.
For the first time in ages, I feel excited about the next 12 months.
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