Out of Office: The Value of Taking Time for Yourself

July 27, 2022

Slow mornings, coffee and sudoku, home projects, long walks with the dog, and no Slack messages. This was my sabbatical life.

After 6.5 years at G2, I took my month sabbatical this past April, and it was a truly beautiful and magical month. I didn’t go on any wild international trips, cross-country drives, or lounge at an all-inclusive. I spent three days in Galveston, TX, and the rest at home.

There tends to be a preconceived notion that to take time off, you need to have an event to go to or a vacation planned. But some of the best days might be those where you putt around the house, do a midday workout, and sit out in the sun.

I’m not going to lie. If someone offered to pay for me to take a trip around the world during my sabbatical, I definitely would have taken that option. But April came and went without any plane tickets, and I ended my month feeling as relaxed as I used to feel after every summer vacation as a kid.

It took about four days to not get the urge to check my computer or phone for emails or messages. But after that passed, I felt completely free. My boyfriend and I recently bought a home and since then, we’ve had a seemingly never-ending list of projects that had been slowly getting checked off. And by the time the end of April rolled around— that list was almost DONE. During my sabbatical, I spent many hours in Ace Hardware, unpacked and organized endless boxes, and painted every inch of this place.

Being the new kids on the block, it was so nice to spend more time getting to know the area and our neighbors. My new nextdoor neighbor (turned best friend), Sue, has lived in her house for 57 years. She explained what flowers were in our yard and everything she could remember about the former owners. Since I had the whole day free, we spent time outside chatting on the warmer days, and she caught me up on all the neighborhood gossip.

If I could make a suggestion to those about to take a sabbatical, it would be to make a wish list of what you want to do during your time. Mine included: get good at golf, paint four rooms, fix the shower, learn how to make flower bouquets, install ceiling fans, organize boxes, and get fit. I did not succeed in all of these wish list items, but I made some promising progress and it was really nice to try.

Feeling truly unplugged for an entire month gave my mind a wonderfully needed reset. The fact that G2 and my team had my back and covered for me, made the month even more enjoyable.

At G2, sabbaticals are earned by employees once every five years. While this extended time off was appreciated and well spent on my end, I also believe it’s also important to take advantage of your PTO in general — sabbaticals aside. Don’t wait until you feel so burnt out that you NEED to take time off, even if that’s just a couple of days for a staycation. What I’ve learned is that you don’t always need to have plans to take and enjoy PTO. My advice: take a step back, enjoy a day without a computer or phone, and find yourself a Sue.