I’ve taken a few risks in my career. Well, I don’t see them as risks but more as twists and turns. About every 5-7 years, I have taken a sabbatical. One time I spent 7 months volunteering in Peru. And just recently my husband and I traveled extensively in our Airstream. Over the years (and adventures), people have said, “Man, I wish I could do that.” And the reply is simple, “You can.”
Sometimes people put these arbitrary boundaries on their career and life.
- They need to keep climbing a ladder and can’t hit pause.
- They live paycheck to paycheck and need a certain amount of money to live.
- Everyone always works a full-time 40 hour/week job; it’s what you’re supposed to do.
- Credit card debt, student loans, a mortgage, kids, pets, family, anything
However, all you need to do is prioritize and make some sacrifices. If you want to take a sabbatical, start planning it out.
1 – Sabbatical Budget. There are three things to focus on with your budget: Save Money, Reduce Expenses and (possibly) Identify Alternative Income. What are those things you are currently spending money on where you can stop or put on pause? Easy ones: stop buying clothes, stop shopping the aisles of Target, reduce your subscriptions (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, BirchBox, StitchFix, Gym), reduce eating out or bar tabs. Even if you don’t get to your sabbatical quickly, it’s powerful to have a Freedom Fund stashed away in an investment account or high-interest savings account. Research some Alternative Income Ideas. Are there ideas for passive income (rent out your condo/home on Airbnb or a long-term rental, rent out your car on Turo)? Is there some Extra income you can develop while you’re saving up for your sabbatical (drive for Lyft, dogsit on Rover, freelance)?
2 – Sabbatical Goals. Write down what you want to achieve by taking a sabbatical. Anything from learning something new, furthering your education, traveling, giving back, spending time with family and friends or caring for a loved one. Why do you want to do this? Print this goal out, write it in your planner, hang it on the wall. Keep your goal front of mind because this will be the guide to make the most of your planning and your sabbatical. With every decision, you should ask yourself, “Is this decision in line with my goal?
3 – Sabbatical Ideas. Once you’ve established your goals, then narrow it down to 2-3 ideas for how you want to make the most of your time. If your goal is furthering your education, that may be getting your MBA. YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest are full of inspiration.
4 – Sabbatical Plan. Here’s where you add a Timeline and Action Plan – make it real. When do you want your sabbatical to start: will that be when you hit a savings goal or a certain time period? What are the Action Items you need to complete to make it real?
Develop your plan and find an accountability partner to help you achieve your Sabbatical Goal! Be flexible and pivot when it makes sense to pivot. Commit to making this a reality. In the end, you either take a Sabbatical and have the experience of a lifetime or you’ve saved up that Freedom Money to use in the future.