Sabbaticals can provide the perfect environment to delve deep into uninterrupted academic research, but they can definitely be an adjustment when compared to a regular school schedule. We’ve outlined a few key points to keep in mind so that you can make the most out of your sabbatical.
1. Learn to Say “No”
The ideal sabbatical is one that will provide you with the proper space to give your full attention to research, which can be hard to do if you don’t allocate the proper amount of time. Many members of academia may still be bombarded with emails, invitations, requests, and other external distractions from their normal schedules during their sabbaticals, but it’s important to prioritize and use the time properly – even if that means turning down said offers/requests.
2. Keep it Structured
Taking a break from your regular routine probably sounds great and relaxing, and you might feel tempted to avoid anything that even remotely seems like “work.” But remember, that’s not what sabbaticals are all about. Creating a list of both overall goals and daily tasks is a great way to maintain the structure necessary to stay on task and make the most of your sabbatical.
3. Disconnect When You Can
Think of this as an extension to Tip #1. Cutting out external distractions can really be a great way to sharpen your focus while on a sabbatical. For many students and professors, this means limiting the amount of time dedicated to checking and responding to emails. Even if you are not able to fully embrace this tip (it happens), setting up an auto-reply notifying your colleagues that you are currently on sabbatical may help to decrease the amount of communication that gets hurled your way.
4. Be Present
Life is truly all about balance, and a sabbatical is no different. Although you definitely want to remain focused on the academic task at hand, it’s also important to remember that you have traveled far from home to visit a place that is totally unlike your normal environment. Taking the time to explore and soak in your surroundings will not only put you in a better mental space for when it comes time to bunker down and begin work, but it also may inspire you in ways that you couldn’t otherwise anticipate.