4 Questions to Help You Plan Your Sabbatical

plan your sabbatical

Some people plan a sabbatical because they have a particular thing in mind they want to spend their time on.  Maybe it’s a round-the-world trip, a massive art project, writing project, house project, or something entirely different. 

Others (like me) plan a sabbatical because all they know is that they need a break to avoid burnout.

If you fall in the latter group, as your time gets closer to actually telling people and then going on sabbatical, you start to wonder, what exactly are you going to do with your time off?

Questions to Ask When Planning a Sabbatical

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you start figuring out what your sabbatical will look like.

1. How do you spend your time on vacation? 

Vacation isn’t the same thing as a sabbatical, but it does give you an idea of how you like to spend your downtime. Do you like to go to the beach and just sit and read? Maybe you sign up for an adult tennis or golf camp? Or maybe you visit museums and sit in cafes and write. 

Thinking about how you spend your vacation time will give you a good start to considering how you might want to spend your time on your sabbatical. For example, if you are a museum-goer, perhaps you spend your sabbatical volunteering at a particular museum or taking a class. 

2. What do you value?

Think about what you value most. What are you most grateful for? Is it your kids? Is it health and fitness? Cooking delicious meals? Having quality alone time?

These questions will point you in a direction to figure out what to do with some time off.  If you like health and fitness, maybe you spend your sabbatical excelling at a particular sport or training for a marathon. If your focus is cooking, perhaps you set a sabbatical goal to cook your way through a particular cookbook. You could even write your own. 

3. Imagine 10 ideal days in a row. What would they look like? 

Imagining just one perfect day doesn’t give you a good sense of what a sabbatical looks like. However, if you start to imagine what every day would look like if you had multiple of them in a row, you can think about how you want to spend your time.

4. What is on your bucket list?

No one likes thinking about death, but doing so helps us act with a sense of urgency. You only have this one life, so make the very most of it. A sabbatical can help you do the epic things you’ve always wanted to do, but perhaps you’ve likely never made the time for them before. 

They say as people get closer to retirement or financial independence, they start to fear the freedom they will have. They don’t know what they will do with their time anymore. I think the same may be said about a sabbatical. If you don’t have a plan and people start asking you what you will do with your time off, it may feel not just awkward, but it will also feel scary.

The Bottom Line

Spend the time reflecting and determining the purpose for your sabbatical.  It will not only provide clarity, but it will motivate you as well.

This post is part of our Sabbatical Sundays series. To read more, click here.