Planning a Sabbatical

This is a little off topic, but it’s a part of my career and something I think more companies ought to think about offering, at least to some of their staff. This series of posts documents the time away from Redgate Software. My employer, Red Gate Software, offers a sabbatical to their employees, and this year (2019) I’m taking my second one.

It’s time for my second sabbatical from Redgate Software. This is an amazing benefit that they offer, and it’s one I greatly appreciate. I documented my first one under the Sabbatical tab on my blog, and I’ll do the same here.

I start on Jan 13, though really my last day of work will Jan 10. I won’t be back until Feb 26, taking an extra two days as I have a conference speaking commitment in the middle of this time.

Building a Plan

This sabbatical has been tougher to plan. I’m really a year and a half late with this one, being unsure of what to do with my time. I haven’t had any burning desires, and a few ideas were a little hard to fit in, both from a time and a resource standpoint. Six weeks is a lot, but not a lot for many structured learning programs.

With my kids leaving the house this year, my wife and I are starting to think about tackling some projects around the house that we’ve never had time, money, or desire to do. Our basement and garages are a mess, and there are some repair items we’ve let go for some time.

I’ve also had the desire to do something more for myself, which I’ve often neglected in order to spend time with my kids. I don’t regret anything, but this feels like a good time to maybe change that.

The House

Last year I found a box in the basement that I’d packed up over a decade ago. In fact, it was one I’d packed at a previous house and never used unpacked here. That started me thinking I really need to take time and get more organized. At the same time, my wife got interested in KonMari, and we started slowly working on our bedroom.

Six weeks isn’t a lot of time, but it is time to get things started. The previous owner framed out our basement and ran some electrical wires, but never finished anything. We’ve debated doing something over the years, and this is my time to start down there. I plan to clean out old stuff, donate lots, throw some away, and insulate the upper part of the basement. I may start some drywall, but we’ll see.

In conjunction with that, our garage has become a holding space for lots of things and I want to rebuild some shelving and get organized there, at least enough that I’m more proud of the space than I’ve been. I have a mini wood shop, but it’s more a pile of stuff around some tools, and I’d like to fix that.

Music and Sports

I love music and sports, as does my wife. I think we’ve given that love to our kids, all of whom have enjoyed time on the slopes and music in their ears. I want to do a bit more in these areas myself, so I’ve allotted a bit of time here for myself.

A couple years ago we bought a place at Keystone Lodge. We’ve used it a bit, but relatively little in a busy life. This winter I want to spend more time there, and am hoping to go spend a night a week there while on sabbatical. I’m not completely sure I will, but I do want to go skiing every week if possible.

In line with that, I want to learn to play guitar better. My middle son played cello all though high school and then picked up guitar afterwards. He actually took an old guitar I had to college, bringing it back a few times last year. He impressed me with his skill and inspired me to do better. I’ve barely touched one in the last few years.

As a part of my sabbatical, I wanted to play for an hour a day. That doesn’t just happen, and it’s not really even possible without prep, so I’ve been trying to spend more time every day or two building up some strength and calluses to let me focus during my break.

I also bought an online course, so I plan to go through a module a day and try to both learn more and build some skill. We’ll see how that goes, but it’s the plan for now.

It’s a Lot

That’s a lot to do, and as I write this down, I know I won’t get as much done as I like. I also know that not having a specific goal of getting all this done reduces some stress. Instead, I want to work towards time. An hour on guitar, 6-7 hours on the house or skiing each day.

Around that, I still have life, with time in the gym, coaching, cooking, and getting time with my wife. Hopefully I end up with a nice sense of accomplishment at the end, with real physical changes in my world that I can see and touch.

I’m looking forward to it, and will try to spend a few minutes each day documenting where I am. No matter how much gets accomplished, I am looking forward to another long break of limited connectivity.

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2 Responses to Planning a Sabbatical

  1. Pingback: Knocking Off for Six Weeks | Voice of the DBA

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