The end of my sabbatical

Illustration of an icon of a man walking to work and a fully charged battery icon.

I started Lagom in 2013 and it is the longest thing I’ve ever done for a living. Longer than any school, uni, or job.

I’ve been wanting to take some sort of sabbatical for a few years, but the timing has never been right.

And then with the conclusion of some projects at the start of the year, and some won tenders, a four week window opened up. So I grabbed my chance.

My goals for a sabbatical were something like this:

  1. Catch my breath after 10 years of being at the helm
  2. Enjoy learning and tinkering around with technology again
  3. Get inspired and bring back ideas and knowledge about the latest tech (to use in my work at Lagom and with clients)

Worth saying that this was never going to be a backpacking adventure kind of sabbatical – I’ve got way too many kids’ football matches and birthday party drop-offs in the diary for anything so spirited.

Instead I’ve gone for more of “study leave” vibe.

And today is the last day. Already.

So how did it go?

Well I’ve certainly caught my breath and recharged the batteries by stepping back from my day-to-day project work, business development, and team management duties.

I agree that “a change is as good as a rest” and I knew that I wanted to feel productive each day. I was also a bit concerned that a lack of structure and focus could be a problem.

So firstly, I told myself it was ok not to get through the impossibly long list of things I wanted to look at. I only had four weeks, so I needed to make my peace with that.

And then each morning I sat down with a cup of tea to (re)prioritise my backlog of topics (Agile habits die hard) for the day ahead.

Which helped me achieve my second goal to enjoy learning and tinkering around with technology again.

There’s certainly been lots of browsing reports and blogs, watching tutorials, attending webinars, reading books, and chatting with ChatGPT (and increasingly Gemini) about tech topics.

But the most fun has been geeking out on the tools and experimenting with things like low/no code app platforms (like Google’s AppSheet), workflow automation tools (like Zapier), and cloud infrastructure (like AWS EC2).

Which has in turn helped me to achieve my third goal to get inspired and bring back ideas and knowledge about the latest tech.

As a compulsive note taker, I’ve naturally been writing it all down: things we can use as a business, and things that might be helpful to our clients as we work with them to consider tech options for their services.

That’s all written up in our Playbook (with some help from Gemini to speed things up) with lots of links back to source material to go deeper when we next need it.

Well I’m back to the day job on Monday: recharged, inspired, and more knowledgeable than I was four weeks ago.

I don’t think I’m going to leave it 10 years until my next sabbatical, although that one may involve a backpack and a round-the-world ticket.

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