The Art of Not Working: Why You Should Take a Mini-Sabbatical

 8 Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. 9 Six days you may work and do all your tasks, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do not do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your animals, or the immigrant who is living with you. 11 Because the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them in six days, but rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” - Exodus 20:8-11

You may be thinking… “Uhmmm, Morgan? What does Exodus have to do with my business?” Well…just keep reading and you’ll find out!

“Hustle, hustle, hustle.” 

As entrepreneurs, that is something drilled into us almost every day. I admit that I’m a huge Gary Vaynerchuk fan and I love the hustle. We’re taught that the way to succeed is to hustle and I believe that is true. I love feeling exhausted after a long day of work knowing that I crushed it. But here’s the thing...even Gary takes breaks. Even the most machine-like and most successful entrepreneurs stop to rest. 

Over these past holidays, I was no exception. I took more than two straight weeks off of working on my business. I admit I was a little nervous to do it because I felt like I would lose all of my momentum and that the world would forget about me and that all of my followers would disappear. 

But guess what?

None of that happened.

When I came back, you were all still here. The world was still here. And more importantly, I was here. 

I was not just physically or technically here by logging into my social media accounts. I was present. Fully present. And I was ready. I had a vision. I had a plan. 

And here’s the thing...during those two weeks off I didn’t just lay around and do nothing.

I listened to endless hours of podcasts, I journaled a lot, I meditated a lot, I watched interesting Netflix documentaries about awareness, consciousness, and life. I fed my soul.

If a random idea for my business came to me, I would write it down and immediately put it out of my mind afterward. I wasn’t looking for plans. I wasn’t looking for a strategy. I was looking for regeneration. For inspiration. For refreshment. 

And man, I found it. 

While everyone was freaking out about making sure their 2017 was mapped out in excruciating detail, I waited. It wasn’t time yet. 

Finally, on January 9th I sat down and created my Quarter 1 plan in less than one hour.

It wasn’t a struggle and I didn’t have to force anything or even have to think all that hard. It just kind of flowed out of me.

I picture it like this… 

Our ideas, our inspiration, and our minds are like a river. Flowing. But our fear, our negativity, the expectations others put on us, our self-doubt, and our comparisons to others are like little rocks that are placed one by one in the path of that river and eventually becomes a dam.

So, while I was resting over my two-week hiatus, I was actually working extremely hard at quietly removing each and every one of those little rocks. 

And because of that, when I actually sat down to finally put pen to paper the flow was strong and easy. 

Would this have happened if I would have binge watched OITNB on Netflix? Nope. 

What I did over those two weeks wasn’t considered a vacation. It wasn’t just rest. It wasn’t just self-care…it was a sabbatical.

According to dictionary.com, a sabbatical is, “any extended period of leave from one's customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.”

While my break wasn’t necessarily very “extended,” I used it as a time to simultaneously rest while acquiring new skills and training. I wasn’t taking any specific online course, but rather I was training my mind. I was training myself to actually let go a little and release any previous plans or thoughts from my mind so that new ones could rise up. 

This is the key difference between a normal vacation and my “mini-sabbatical.” It was more than a break, more than a vacation…it was a clearing. 

The plan I ended up creating on January 9th when I finally sat down with myself did include some of my ideas I had in 2016, but the framework of them and the overall approach felt different. It felt freer. I wasn’t doing this plan just because it was what I said I would do in 2016. I was doing this plan because it felt good, it made sense, and it aligned with where I want to go.

I recently attended a live event called, Business Boutique, where Dave Ramsey was one of the speakers. One metaphor that he related to us has stuck with me that I want to share with you. 

He compared your mind to a dirty glass. He said that although the glass was filled with gross water now, if you put it under the tap in the sink and turned on the water, eventually the clean water flowing in would push out all of the dirty water, leaving you with a clean glass full of clear water. 

Our mind is that glass and it is our choice what we will put into it. 

When we are stuck in the day-to-day of our lives and businesses we can get polluted with the tedious tasks that running a business requires. Our mind gets filled with unnecessary chores, worries, fears, thoughts, numbers, etc. that we can’t see clearly anymore. 

Taking these short “sabbaticals” can help to purge that dirt from our minds. 

Going back to the passage in Exodus, it says that the Sabbath is a Holy Day where you do not work. However, you are not meant to just sit around doing nothing. It is generally a time to pray, worship, reflect, spend time with your family or community, and yes, rest. 

The term sabbatical is derived from the Sabbath. The idea around Sabbath is that we need to take the time to restore ourselves through rest, connection, prayer/meditation, study, and reflection.

Ironically, the one thing I didn’t schedule into my new calendar that I created on January 9th was another sabbatical. So, as soon as I finish this post, I’m going back to that calendar to schedule it in!

How can you incorporate this into your life or business?

Will you block out a few weeks at a time? Guard one day a week as your Sabbath? Both? I would love to know! 

Comment on this post or send me an email at morgan@morganbattista.com and let me know!