(Video link here.) One of the things Designer Stefan Sagmeister is known for is the seemingly radical act of taking a year long sabbatical every seven years to refresh his creative self and explore projects freely.  He has much to say about sabbaticals. Our favorite bit:

How important do you think a sabbatical is for replenishing creativity?

Stefan: On a scale from 1 – 10, 12.

We take Sagmeister’s idea to heart and put it into practice in small ways: a week-or-two’s sabbatical here-or-there.

Our self tells us when it’s time. When ideas and energy feel mired, and the daily disciplines of writing and foraging ideas become curiously daunting, we know it’s time to take time out of our usual routine (which we mostly LOVE). We’ve learned the hard way that creativity depends on rest as much as it depends on action.

Then we STOP. Take stock.  See what happens….

….We’ll be back on June 10th, possibly sooner.

Meanwhile, we encourage you to poke around ‘improvised life’s huge archive, by search term or random visits. And we’ll continue to post content of Facebook (you don’t need to have an account) and Twitter.

Related posts: 20 second therapy for fear of failure
‘self-confidence produces fine results’ (sagmeister’s banana wall)
stefan sagemeister on ‘serious failure’ and training the mind
the power of time off

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3 replies on “we’re taking a mini sabbatical

  1. One phrase in particular stands out to me:

    ‘creativity depends on rest as much as it depends on action’. Too often I find that instead of recognizing the truth of this phrase and learning to listen so that I know the difference between the need for rest and procrastination, the rest is not as restful and creates its own anxiety. How have you learned to differentiate between procrastination and the need for rest?

    Thank you!

  2. I find procrastination to be a useful: When I find myself doing everything but what I need to be doing, I know I am procrastinating. And in the doing “everything but”, I am often mulling the very project I am avoiding. I respect that process unless if becomes too painful. And it usually becomes painful when I either don’t know what next steps to take, or there is something blocking my taking them in furthering a project. Over the years, I’ve learned to identify when the balance is tipped. Then I usually reach out to someone who understands the idea, and can help me formulate the next steps, or solve the obstruction that is blocking action. Collaboration can be a great antidote to procrastination if there is an alternating current of energy.

    Have written a great deal, and made many projects happen, I’ve come to learn when I’ve hit a wall and can’t work effectively from having worked too long, too hard, on too many things. It may be that we never quite get it right…that we continue to learn about our process and fine-tune it. During this coming time “off”, I don’t imagine I won’t be working. But I won’t be working under deadline; I will put aside the immediate to focus on backburner projects, with lots of rest and recuperation in between.

  3. A word on ‘procrastination’ -it sounds harsh ..
    Why do we find it so hard to open our heart and embrace what really matters (to us) ? Are we afraid to get it wrong ? Are we not making it wrong by not getting started ?
    Yet those questions are useless . When the time has come, things happen . No tearing, no figuring it out and wondering . It’s useless until it finds us , when we are ready . Then things start falling into place . A lot of patience is needed here . And decision-making, even the decision to let go; let our idea be born .

    Sometimes, with disabilities and severe impairments, it is hard to figure out how to make things work at all. How to just get things done. Then you look around and see everyone is struggling somehow.

    I know people who work hard and they just never seem to stop (unless some health problem makes them ) . They love what they do , i admire their strength, yet sometimes this turns into the other side of the same problem . One keeps busy so that certain things do not come up . But they do , because they matter . i wish people could stop before they knock themselves out .

    Maybe ‘time out’ is really ‘time in’ , a space to come back to ourselves . It matters. Good things come out of that . Might take a while for us to see it .

    Whatever the reason is for putting things forward to tomorrow (pro-crastinating ), even if it is fear, we always do the best we can. Maybe we need to find out what we are really capable of. That is what problems were ‘invented’ for, how else would we find out ? : ) and also with a little help, of course . We are not alone .

    I feel i put a lot of different thoughts into this post, maybe you can grab one out of it that makes sense. Anyway, have a great time , on and off and anywhere in-between

    best wishes ,

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