Nowadays, it’s literally impossible to keep yourself away from technology even for a split second. We have all of these amazing/deadly devices all around us that let us keep connected to the rest of the world wherever we go.
Even when we are out of the office on a vacation or just a day off, our cellphones will buzz and buzz all day with different phone and slack notifications. Sooner or later our minds pivot towards the thought that these notifications might be important, prompting us to check them and we’ll be right where we started.
As this new tech-savvy mindset is the new norm nowadays, our societies will get more and more technologically connected, which is good and bad at the same time. The good thing about this is that we are always connected, and the bad thing is that we are ALWAYS connected.
Organizations are shifting towards more flexible work arrangements that will let the employees work whenever and from wherever they want. This means that employees can work from their office or on a lazy Sunday at a coffee house, it’s totally up to them.
But with this much flexibility, there was bound to be a catch and that is “boundaries”. Employees are expected to work even on vacations nowadays and even if they are not required to, constant communication always makes them anxious about what’s happening at work.
What to do about this? Well, we have had a simple solution to this for a long time and that’s a sabbatical leave. Some of us rely on these leaves as a way of taking a break from our hectic routines before heading back on the grind but it was never seen as an attainable consistent lifestyle.
Luckily, the whole meaning of sabbaticals has changed in the organizational paradigm. Let us start from the very beginning.
What is a Sabbatical Leave?
A sabbatical leave is a period of time given to the employee so that he or she can travel or study without the burden of office work. This time period may be paid or unpaid, depending on the company’s policy.
We often see these sabbatical leaves appointed in higher education settings but mostly the big organizations give this time off to their employees after they complete seven years of service to the company.
This time period is often a year-long, but it can be longer or shorter depending on the reason behind the break. Today, this whole concept of a sabbatical is the presumption that the absence of work has changed.
Today, a sabbatical can be defined by the actual presence of work. People nowadays are looking for more opportunities to do something creative and productive on their time off and we completely dig it.
They’re using this precious time off to pursue different lifelong dreams that will make their life more joyful. These dreams have been sitting dormant for a long time and finally, people have the time to let these dreams out of their cocoons and become beautiful butterflies.
Nowadays, sabbaticals are not just some vacation days that you can easily relax on by sipping mimosas on a lazy beach somewhere, they are the new definition of actively pursuing your dreams and passions.
Some people are not familiar with this change in the sabbatical paradigm, but every day more and more people are searching for this new and improved concept. The great thing is that savvier employers are also jumping on the bandwagon and actually encouraging their employees to think creatively and make their time off more productive.
For example, some organizations have offered their employees two months paid sabbatical if they agree that they would work in an environmental company at that time. Employees from some other organizations have used their time to teach higher education classes.
Let’s take a look at some other interesting ideas to spend your sabbatical leave more productively.
5 Productive Sabbatical Ideas for Your Time Off
Before we look at the ideas, you have to first consider all of the circumstances related to your modern sabbatical.
Have you been offered the sabbatical by your employer? Are you going to work while on your sabbatical leave to make ends meet? Have you successfully saved enough money to support you doing this time?
No matter what the circumstances are, you could spend your time more productively while being on your sabbatical leave. The following five ideas will allow you to set out on a personal pursuit that will help your life grow in a more meaningful way.
1. Writing a Novel
When you won’t be following your 9-5 routine, you will have an abundance of free time at hand and you can use that time to write a novel or memoir about something if you have a lot of creative ideas just haunting your brain for a while now.
Use your extended vacation to share all of the amazing knowledge that you have with the world. Create different plots and spice it up with some killer suspense points, all while sipping your morning coffee.
If you are having difficulty with starting the process, you can always convene with the local writers in your area and get some pointers.
Don’t have a publishing contract with a bigshot publisher? You can always publish it yourself and get your work out in the world through the internet. Just work on your material and the fame will follow closely.
2. Side Hustles are Profitable
Sabbaticals are a great way to pursue your passions, but we will never endorse the idea that you change your whole career trajectory for a passion you have suddenly started following. Still, side hustles can be very profitable if they help promote your primary job or make you a lot of money on their own.
Let’s say that you’re a marketing professional. You have many aspirations to get better at your job with the help of let’s say product launches. You can use your time off to create a profitable client base that depends on your consultation which will boost your portfolio.
When all of this happens, you will head back to your job with a valuable skill under your belt that will be a great bargaining chip when you go for that dreadful promotion negotiation.
If you have saved enough to last a full year, you can always do something for the betterment of humanity. There are a million volunteering opportunities throughout the world, where you can help the poor and the downtrodden and make an actual change in this world.
This is not paid work, but you will feel so much different before and after the deed.
Why? Because doing something for someone else always makes the doer happy and satisfied with their own lives, and they achieve a proper sense of achievement that they could never attain with any amount of money they earn.
There are many different options for volunteer work for you all over the world. For example, if you are good at interacting with people, you can work for fundraisers that raise money for different environmental and humanitarian causes.
If you’re good at coding, you can develop websites and applications to make it easier for people to get connected with these causes and easily donate money to them.
Giving your sabbatical leave to a greater humanitarian cause will not only help your private life but also the organization you’re helping out, and you will also have a beautiful memory of how you gave your valuable time up for the greater good.
4. Seek Higher Education
A sabbatical can be the perfect time to educate yourself a bit more. Most companies grant sabbaticals just so that their employees can get higher education and when they come back, they have a more experienced team at their disposal.
Whatever the degree or the course, you can never go wrong if you are trying to educate yourself at any stage in your life let alone your sabbatical leave.
If book reading is not something you want to do, then you can always go for physical education and learn a new fighting technique that not only makes you stronger but will also make you more secure in this relentless world.
5. Join a Travel and Work Program
If you want to travel while working on your sabbatical leaves, you can always join a work and travel program. This is the perfect dream for all of those travel junkies that need a break from their work as well as their current city.
You can join a community of people that share that vision and together you can travel to a different city every other week for the next 12 months. You can make new friends and charter new relationships that will last a lifetime.
Work and travel programs are designed to help you expand your horizons by meeting new people and learn about different cultures. As globalization is quickly becoming the norm nowadays, these experiences will only help you grow in the long run.
Whether it’s a year-long sabbatical or just a surprise vacation, the extra time always pays off. You can expand your horizons during these leaves by learning new skills, visit different places, learn new languages and whatnot. So, start searching and make the best of your valuable sabbatical.