My First Sabbatical Week: Recharging my batteries

October 28, 2016 | 24 Comments

I don’t think that anyone who even casually follows my adventures here or on facebook or Instagram would have missed the fact that 2016 has been a massive year for me. From writing a book in a few months, planning a number of overseas workshops, redesigning this site, launching two SketchingNow courses, and a non-stop 8 week trip to Europe.

If it sounds like a lot of work I can assure you that it has been, and in a word, I’m exhausted. I am tired of working 70 hour weeks which I have done consistently for the last two months or so – long weekdays and Saturdays. There has been a lot of sacrifices that I had made this year in order to achieve all this, and while I have been content to make them, it’s certainly not sustainable. There have also been costs that I’ve not been happy about.

It’s easy to say “just don’t work so hard, take a break, just work 9-5, five days a week” but when you are trying to support yourself as a single person, doing what many people think of as a hobby, there is a lot of pressure to say yes to everything, especially in the early days. I now say ‘no’ to a lot of really incredible opportunities and I now try to schedule down-time but I’m still constantly overloaded. I love what I do so much and I’m happy to work long (flexible) days so I know that working 9-5, five days a week is very unrealistic!

In the process of researching ways to work smarter I came across a really great idea of a Small Scale Sabbatical. I got this idea from Sean McCabe from Seanwes who gives his whole team every seventh week off. This Sabbatical week is primarily for rest or to pursue secondary interests that have been sacrificed in the other 6 weeks of hard work. It sounds perfect for me, so that is what I’m going to start implementing.

So next week, my first Sabbatical, there will be no new articles here. I might post the odd image to Instagram, but then again, I might have a total break there too. I’ll see what I feel like at the time.

Thank you for all your support this year. It has been insane, even by my standards, but the encouragement and inspiration I receive through your comments has really spurred me on and helped me to keep going! I hope you all have a wonderful week too.


  • Marianne says:

    You’re absolutely right, it is much easier said than done, particularly when you’re a one woman enterprise.
    So I’m very happy to read that you found a means to achieve it!
    Finding that is key, because if you’re uncomfortable with your time off, you wouldn’t enjoy it anyway.

  • Pat Oblak says:

    Glad to hear that you are taking care Liz! You drive yourself harder than any boss could/would. We’ll be right here when you get back, no worries!

  • Having just completed your Sketching now Buildings course I can totally appreciate all your hard work.
    I learnt so much from the course and thoroughly enjoyed it . The content was so informative and very generous. I too teach and know how many hours of planning and preparation goes into even a days workshop.
    Thank you so much.
    Enjoy your sabbatical!

  • Wanda Eichler says:

    Smart move. It’s hard to change gears, even for a few hours, sometimes. I appreciate your daily posts and will look forward to your return. Enjoy the time away. Get bored!! It’s good for the brain!!

  • Wonderful! Go forth and enjoy your one-week sabbatical Liz. Like may others I believe you deserve it and God sparing life, I’ll be eagerly awaiting your return.

  • Emily D. says:

    Enjoy it, Liz!!!!

  • Gerda van Hummel says:

    Take a break and let life be good to you!

  • Georgina says:

    Good for you!

  • Christy says:

    Excellent choice Liz!

  • Fantastic!! You need that Sabbatical. I love the idea of taking every seventh week as a short Sabbatical. Good for you!! I agree with Lisa, above. I have absolutely loved the Sketching Now Buildings course. It is a wealth of info and tips, and so rich with information to absorb. Thank you!!

  • Corinne McNamara says:

    Your post is a reminder about taking care of what matters. Thank you! I hope your sabbatical is everything you anticipate.

  • Maggie says:

    What an absolutely grand idea! I can see this would be so much more successful than trying to work shorter days. You’ve given us so much–thank you! And thank you for taking care of yourself so we can all benefit from your creativity and generosity for years to come. (Your example is yet another gift to those who push too hard…)

  • Chris kopet says:

    I am so glad you are taking this time to re-set and reflect and relax. You completely amaze me with your work ethic and battery power. Enjoy it!

  • Marcia Lynch says:

    Liz, I love your daily notes and the classes and free tips you give are amazing but you are wise in seeing that all the output in the last year is not sustainable.
    Yes! You are wise to recharge on a regular basis whether it be every 7th week or whatever works for you. I and I am sure all your followers will still be here, and will miss you but be all the more anxious for your notes, newsletters, tips, etc and you will most likely have more enjoyment of your work as a result of a regular break.
    Take good care, rest, hydrate, enjoy some other activities and we will see you on the other side!

  • Bettina Armstrong says:

    Liz, I was in your class at Manchester and see what a whirlwind you are! I am very glad you are giving yourself this gift. We all need to recharge and this sounds perfect. Take good care– and we will see you later!

  • Samanta says:

    Hi Liz! I’ve started following you and a few other urban sketchers a while back, and I can certainly see that you are the most active of all! Posting almost everyday is hard work, and you have all those other commitments at the same time. So I believe it’s about time for you to try having some down time. We’ll still be here when your next post gets published! 🙂 It doesn’t matter if most people see your work as leisure activity… drawing alone is hard work (at least for me) and keeping such a productive routine with art is just as exhausting as working in an office. Keep calm and take a break!

  • Debbie Mack says:

    Fantastic idea, enjoy your break.

  • Philippa Granwal says:

    It’s hard to look after yourself in the midst of all the demands. Rest up and refuel and enjoy the week. Meanwhile I for one will mine your excellent blog and think of you enjoying and maybe drawing a cup of tea.

  • Hi Liz, enjoy your sabbatical! This is so important. I am also working 70 hours a week since the beginning of this year to transform my business and I know how you feel. I had a four week break in summer and looking forward to a three week break over Xmas – and I need it.

    So recharge your batteries and I am looking forward to you coming back! 🙂

    Best wishes from Germany

  • Enjoy your break and recharge!

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