6th January 2013

Week One


It’s been a funny first week.

Funny peculiar, not funny haha.


After months of build-up January finally arrived and I kicked off my 4 month sabbatical.


I cleared my desk, did the obligatory New Year pen cull, set the email responder

“The studio is now closed till 1st May 2013 (seriously!)…”

wrote the mother of all to do lists and did some star jumps.


I’ve taken Sagmeister’s sabbatical advice and planned my 4 months.

The idea of drifting aimlessly from one week to the next brings me out in a rash.


I like a plan.


I’ve got a broad plan of what I want to achieve each month.

At the start of each month I write 4 weekly plans.

At the start of each week I write 7 daily plans.

At the start of each morning I update that day’s plan.

I’m not talking mega specific, but a list of To Do’s or aims to be completed within each time slot.


As I said, I like a plan.


I got off to a good start…

I began work on a super sized illustration I’ve been longing to create.

Scaling up is one thing I really want to tackle during the sabbatical.

Big drawings take lots of time.


And I was listening to Flourish by Martin Seligman.

I bought this audio book last year after listening to a feature on Radio 4 about his work in Positive Psychology but struggled to get past disk 1.

It’s pretty heavy going.

(I’m still listening, so I’ll post my thoughts on it as soon as I’m done.)


And then, disaster struck!


Or possibly a bad cold (I can be a bit dramatic)

But combined with a migraine it wiped me out for several days.


This was my own fault.

I hadn’t been taking my vitamins, eating well, exercising or getting enough sleep.

Prior to the sabbatical I’d been working crazy long days to finish all my client work.

Then Christmas and the inevitable guilt fuelled frenzy to see all the family and friends I’d neglected throughout the year.


Needless to say, I laughed death in the face and am now back in the studio.

(Told you, dramatic)


The main lesson here is one of Wellbeing;

Drink plenty water



Eat well

Get some sunshine


Take a multivitamin



It’s all too easy to just put your head down and power through till you burn out.

But burn out you will, and nothing hampers a speedy recovery like a To Do list on the bedside table.


Freelancer wellbeing is definitely something I’m going to look into.

Whether it’s yoga at your desk or a Berocca between Skype calls, looking after yourself undoubtedly allows you to function more effectively; be more creative, engaged and just make better work.


So, end of Week 1 and I’ve:

·      Cheated death

·      Vowed to be a bit less dramatic

·      Resolved to prioritise my wellbeing

·      Mapped out my Sabbatical plan

·      Set my targets for January

·      Did some filming for my Wonderbeasts project, launching in Feb

·      Started a supersized illustration (more on this next week)

·      Begun listening to Flourish

·      Posted (almost daily) mydesktoday snaps

·      Learned where the # symbol is on my keyboard (thanks Twitter!)

·      Begun my daily sabbatical diary


My first full week begins tomorrow, so after a somewhat shaky start, it’s full steam ahead!



Big thanks to Creative Scotland who supported the Sabbatical through a Professional Development Grant. 

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