3 things I got right after two months on sabbatical

There are many things I know. There are many things I don’t know. And after two months on sabbatical, there are some things I thought I knew, but I’ve realized I got them all wrong. Here are 3 of them:

  1. Routine is not what I thought it was
    I thought routine, as a concept, was something bad. Something boring. Before my sabbatical, my routing consisted on getting up early, training or stretching, riding my bike to work, working all day until late, riding back home, making dinner, watching one episode of some tv show, going to sleep. I didn’t hate Mondays, but I couldn’t wait for Friday evening, where routine disappeared and I was free to choose what to do all weekend. After starting my sabbatical, I changed my routine and started to love it, and to love the concept. Get up early, train or stretch as much as I want, check Twitter, have breakfast, face the endless possibilities of the day. Since day 1, I made to-do lists with everything I had to and wanted to do every day, and I felt very happy crossing tasks out. After one month of to-do lists, I left Barcelona and started traveling around, visiting family and friends. And I started missing routine. So maybe routine wasn’t so bad, after all…
  2. Losing control is not what I thought it was
    I’ve already mentioned that I started my sabbatical writing to-do lists, right? I like having everything under control. But when I left Barcelona and started traveling around, adjusting to the lives of family and friends, I lost control of my days. I missed my lists during the first week. But after a few days, I started to like to open possibilities of each day. The lack of plans, the letting myself be guided by what others were planning, by what I felt like each moment. One day, hiking in Galicia, someone suggested we took a possibly longer than expected route back home. “Let’s do it, I don’t have any plans for the rest of my life”, I joked. It was true. And I really liked the feeling.
  3. Job burnout is not what I thought it was
    With this one I’m still hesitant – I’m not sure this is what I felt. I’ve always worked very hard and I’ve been lucky to love each and every one of my jobs so far. Is that normal? But in every one of them, I had some days where I didn’t feel like going to work. Is that normal? When it started to happen more than once a week, I started to worry. I want to be happy. Every day. I feel the responsibility of being happy to help people around me be happy, too. At home and at work. I didn’t feel I was burnt out until, being already on sabbatical, I read this article describing how job burnout felt like for Steve Blank. And I’m still not sure this is what I was feeling. Maybe I was just tired. But what he learned felt useful, so I’ll share it here:

Lessons Learned

  • No one will tell you to work fewer hours
  • You need to be responsible for your own health and happiness
  • Burnout sneaks up on you
  • Burnout is self-induced. You created it and own it.
  • Recovery takes an awareness of what happened and…
  • A plan to change the situation that got you there

I can’t wait to see what else I learn, and unlearn, during the following months!