Fancy a week off every six weeks?

Thanks to the concept of Small Scale Sabbaticals you can give yourself permission to hit the road regularly to recharge and reset.

I’ve always been a big advocate of sabbaticals in general but I have the brilliant Jonathan Fields to thank for putting me on to the idea of Small Scale Sabbaticals. In his World Domination Summit talk he shares so many golden nuggets of wisdom which I’ll reserve the right to come back to on a future blog but, the nugget I want to focus on now is the story of Sean McCabe and how he’s built a one week sabbatical into his work schedule every 7 weeks. That’s not a typo, at the end of every 6-week cycle he downs tools and takes a one-week sabbatical.

As you might expect, Sean has had to be very disciplined and rigidly stick to his plan regardless of how busy he might be at work when each sabbatical rolls around. Without exception, he hits pause on everything for one week, steps away from his work and immerses himself in relaxing and pursuing his secondary passions. Not a bad way to keep on top of your personal health and tick off a few life goals at the same time.

Whilst it might sound incredibly indulgent at first, it’s incredibly productive for Sean and in reality his week away from the office leads to him being so much more productive in the 6 weeks preceding it. The magic comes from the energy and the ideas generated from his time away from his desk.

What I particularly love about this is the intention behind Sean’s decision to make this a reality. “If I’m not intentional about making time for my secondary passions, life will pass me by and I may never get the chance.” Through his actions, he’s future proofing his life to minimise regret. Sean’s blog post will better explain his rationale and how he’s made it work.

There are some really nice shifts taking place in the world of work at the moment, all rooted in some way to this increase in mindfulness. More and more of us are opting for experiences over things. We’re putting less emphasis on the biggest salary option and instead choosing companies that offer us the opportunity to flex our working patterns and environment. We’re seeking out a work culture that allows us to work autonomously and treats us like grown-ups to manage our time and tasks effectively. In Sean’s case, the success of each sabbatical can be measured in the results of what he produces over the following 6 week period.

Sabbaticals come in all shapes and sizes. Stefan Sagmeister still applies the 7:1 ratio but it’s based on years and not weeks. Every 7 years Stefan closes his successful agency in New York for a full year sabbatical as he explains in his TED talk. Similar to Sean the discoveries he makes on his year out are ploughed back into the work he and his agency produces over the next 7 years to the benefit of himself, his team and their clients.

Both of these examples prove that it’s possible to make Sabbaticals work at either end of the scale and any point in between. Every business will have to take their own unique approach to where they sit on the topic of Sabbaticals but it’s hard to argue with the value they present both to the individual and the organisations who embrace them.

Never underestimate the time you spend away from your desk, it’s likely to be the trigger for some of your most productive time.

The companies that keep pace with this change in mindset and apply it to their company culture will fare much better at attracting the most dynamic and innovative thinkers in their niche.

Photo credit to @stefan_hayworth and @projectvanlife on Instagram.