As I work to get my sabbatical in order, I’ve been contemplating various strategies.
The first thing I had done was to make a long list of things I wanted to accomplish. At the risk of undermining that effort, I do think the list is almost impossibly long. It’s as much aspirational as achievable, but it does give me a tremendously well-framed starting point for how to spend my days. If ever I am sitting thinking “hmm, I’m bored today, what should I do?” then I have no excuse but to turn to the list. Or, I can proactively tackle things on the list. Either way. Strategically planning ahead.
A second strategy I’ve been thinking about is timeboxing. Having just come back from a vacation and then having spent a few weeks filling my time with post-vacation, summer-parenting actions, I haven’t been able to effectively build a solid plan into my days. But as the weeks of August start to melt into a proper fall push of what will effectively be the core four months of my career break, I think I really need to use a solid strategy like timeboxing to shape my days.
For example, on any day that doesn’t have a big, full day plan my first attempt at a timebox for the next while will be:
|early until 8am||coffee, breakfast, social media, dog walk, news|
|8am – 9am||morning chores, clean up, laundry|
|9am – 10am||creative session one|
|10am – 11am||outdoor activity|
|11am – 12pm||reading, media, gaming|
|12pm – 1pm||lunch, dog walk, casual free time|
|1pm – 2pm||afternoon chores, yard work|
|2pm – 3:30pm||creative session two (or) cooking, baking, etc|
|3:30pm – 4:30pm||reading, media, gaming|
|4:30pm – 5:30pm||dinner chores, meal prep|
|5:30pm – 6:30pm||dinner, clean up, dog walk|
|6:30pm – 8pm||outdoor activity, running (or) family time|
|8pm – 9pm||creative session three|
|9pm until late||unwind, reading, mindfulness, etc|
The caveat to all this, is that if I happen to have some other structured plan, a coffee meetup, a lunch, or something scheduled in my day… well, it just crosses out that slot and the thing I NEED to do replaces the thing I BOXED to do.
Now, to some people this might look uncomfortably structured, and to them I would say that I really kind of need to find some structure in my days or else I’m going to lose track of this opportunity faster than I can blink.
To some other people, this might look far too vague and random and a little too full of “fun time,” and to them I would suggest that I don’t see the need to over-structure, like to box myself into fifteen minute increments nor do I think it is the goal of my career break to work myself silly for sixteen hours a day just to feel like I’m making good use of the time. It is a “break” after all.
And so it goes.
I write this now not only because mentally I think I’m ready to put this kind of structure around things, but logistically tomorrow, August 15, is “on paper” my last day of drawing a salary from my old job. At the end of the day tomorrow there is one last transition into joblessness and that is the final day of my “using up my banked vacation” and into the free, clear, and yonder. As of tomorrow at 4pm the final tether back to that old life is officially cut. Time to take control of things.
And so it goes. And so it goes.
Wish me luck.