Lessons from a Sabbatical – Part 2

lessons from a sabbatical chalkboard

Lessons from a Sabbatical – Part 2

Learning is good for your mind, body and soul. But do you ever feel like you are learning the same lessons over and over again? That was the case with my sabbatical this summer. I had to be reminded about many things I thought I already know. So, as promised in our last post, here are the final six lessons from a summer sabbatical. If you didn’t have a chance to read the first six, check them out here.


1) Slow is good

Multi-tasking is not helpful. I actually realized that I had bought into the cult of efficiency. I do love a good “life-hack” but slowing down and being present is a muscle that needs exercising. It is still a work in progress but when I do one thing at a time, I am learning and listening.

2) There is more time than I realized

Slowing down makes me rush less and ironically, I often show up more on time and am way less stressed about time. I do have the privilege of no kids or dependents but there seems to be more time than I knew before I paused. Now, isn’t that a paradox?

3) Some things do not come into focus until I stop moving

I think I know what my questions are before I pause. But in a twist of irony, when I actually stopped and paid attention, different questions and answers emerged and took me down new paths. I wrote a blog about this topic earlier in the summer.

4) Accountability is essential

Have a couple of good friends or a sabbatical guide to touch base on your journey. It is hard work to slow down and re-learn how to navigate the emerging questions. I thought I was an expert on sabbatical but a friend challenged me to have a sabbatical guide just like we do for our clients. This helps you stay focused on why you are pausing in the first place.

5) Set boundaries

Your time is precious. You have intentions for your sabbatical and guess what? You get to make the rules for yourself! It is so easy to say yes because you have taken a break. But it is so easy to fill our calendars with things even when we are trying to pause.

6) Release the productivity pressure

You don’t have to be productive on a sabbatical. There are worries that the sabbatical will be “wasted” but that buys into the idea that productivity is the only thing to be valued. Even if you don’t read those 10 books on your list, or paint your bedroom, slowing down is the prize.


What have you learned during your own sabbaticals or “slowdown-ish-ness” times? Share in the comments below.  We look forward to hearing about what has worked for you.


Slow down. And everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.
– John de Paola



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