Juan Carlos just finished a semester-long sabbatical during which he wrote a chapter of a book he is writing in collaboration with a colleague and translated a previously published article into English. Now, a sabbatical is usually considered a great thing because you can take the time to really concentrate on your work and not stress out about your teaching load, right? Well, not so much as it turns out. Here are the lessons I learned from Juan Carlos.
- Spend all day every day sitting clenched in front of the computer. Especially do not do this when you are not actually writing anything.
- Keep going to school three times a week while you are on sabbatical. It’s a semester away.
- Decide that the perfect way to spend all this time is ironing the sheets and your wife’s pajamas.
- Wait until the last moment to put together the Powerpoint for your presentation, especially when you don’t really know how to use Powerpoint.
- Suddenly expect your wife to be a Mac/iPad expert when all she ever uses is PC/Android.
- Follow your wife around the house with your laptop for translating help while she is:
showering, brushing her teeth ordoing anything in the bathroom.
- Share with everyone the intimate details of your writing research or ask for translation help from (this includes but is not limited to): the Stake President, the car serviceman, the grocery store checkout person or your wife’s colleagues.
Anyone who knows Juan Carlos will not be surprised by any of this, but as you can see his semester away was not really a semester away. I will say that it was super nice to have all the laundry done, though. We talked about it and figured out some of the things you SHOULD do during a sabbatical. Juan Carlos managed a couple of these things, but alas, some he will be saving for next time.
- Take the dog for a walk every morning before you try to sit down and write.
- Hire an editor.
- Take a trip somewhere that is not for work. While on this trip do not think about work.
- Work for a certain period every day. If it’s not happening, go for a run or watch TV or something.
- Do laundry if it relaxes you, but leave the sheets and pajamas out of the ironing basket.
- Relax and recharge your batteries.
So as you plan for your sabbatical, keep these things in mind. And have a great one.