I’m so grateful to work for such an incredible company as Automattic. Not only are they already very flexible around working schedules and time off (which has been incredibly helpful this past year), but once you’ve been at the company for 5 years you are encouraged to take a 2 – 3 month paid sabbatical. And that’s completely disconnecting: no Slack, no email, no communication, no work events. Just do whatever you want that’s not work related (psst, we’re always hiring).
I’ve now been at the company for 5 and a half years, and after the year that was 2020 I’m very happy to be starting my sabbatical at the end of today, to recharge and unwind.
Here are some things I’m hoping to do with the time away:
- Disconnect! I’ll certainly be disconnecting from anything work related, but because of that I’ll also be spending far less time in front of a computer.
- Spend time with family. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my young kids and my wife, as well as catching up on a lot of lost time from the past year with our extended family.
- Get fit! I started making an effort to get fit again earlier this year, but then I got ill for a couple of days and fell off the rails. Three months feels like a good amount of time to make a big dent here though, eating better and exercising regularly.
- Be more creative. I’d like to make some time to do some more creative endeavours, like writing and drawing.
- Get away. Back when my wife and I first started discussing my sabbatical a couple of years ago, we had ideas of travelling around northern Europe; Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark. But with the pandemic still ongoing, we figured it would be easiest to stay close to home. We’re got some breaks planned around the UK, to Devon, the Lake District, and York.
- Ride. I recently got an electric bike, which I’m really enjoying riding. I’d like to do some longer local rides!
- Gamedev. Game development has long been an aspirational hobby of mine, and I’ve made some small games and entered game jams in the past. I’ve started getting back into it over the last few months, and while I do want to take more time away from the computer I’d also like to continue learning and building some small games.
- Sleep. I haven’t been getting anywhere enough sleep recently (not because of work, I’m just terrible at going to sleep at the right time). The Apple Health app tells me that my average time asleep over the last month is 5 hours, so I’d like to improve that.
- Home improvements. Just some DIY tasks to do around the house that I always put off because the weekend’s never long enough.
And I think that’s enough! I don’t want to busy myself too much with goals, as the whole point is to take time out and unwind, but I also don’t want to look back and the end and feel that I wasted the time. I’ll report back when I return to work in late September!