Feeling, Living, Working

Thinking About: A Digital Sabbatical

July 30, 2012

Sort of out of nowhere, the idea of a digital sabbatical popped into my head. I’m not sure if it’s mercury retrograde, being back to “normal” life, being away while on vacation or just a fluke idea. I don’t even have that much time to figure things out, as I’d like to start on Wednesday August 1st.

Oh irony, as I’ve spent a bunch of time this evening “researching” a digital sabbatical online. Susannah Conway did a digital detox, which seems more in line with my emotional goals for this time. Others work digital sabbaticals into each weekend. Some took 4 days, others, a month.

Here’s a list I read through that you can enjoy too:

For me, I know that it needs to be at least a week. It coincides with recalibrating my work routines and the feeling that August is here for me to reboot my life. The urge to go through things, sorting out what I want to let go and keeping what serves me… this is my jumping off point – my motivation.

Why am I doing this?

I just took 20+ days away from work for my wedding and honeymoon. It was glorious, but I found all the boredom / stress / anxiety entering into my actions via social media and Instagram. During vacation, I stayed off email and “off the grid” for work, but I mindlessly checked my phone. I logged onto Facebook, seeking comments and support, complain a bit on Twitter, and showed how awesome my life was via Instagram.

It’s addicting. And kind of pointless.

I want to feel present – with my husband in this new phase of our relationship, with my dog in his new rhythms, with my body, my work schedule and my own thoughts and emotions.

I want to reevaluate – how I spend my time, where I put my energy, how I use (and enjoy) my creativity.

I want more creativity – in my journaling, my writing, my photography, my art

I want a few more systems in place – things I can’t step back and think about or set-up unless I have some time

I want more quiet in my mind’s eye – computer screen at work, TV screen at home, Kindle screen for reading, iPhone screen for my phone… etc. Turn ’em off!

I want more human interaction with friends and family that’s deep – phone calls, letters, and hang-outs

The General Plan

I can not take full time off from email / the internet for work (just got back from a 20day vacation!), but I can build in some tight boundaries.

  • Actively cleaning up Facebook, Twitter, Email subscriptions, Inboxes, and LinkedIn – I’ll need some type of plan and schedule for this. Unsubscribe and delete!!
  • Take a full hiatus from Facebook & Twitter (personal) and check 1x per day for work
  • Tighten up my Flickr and Instagram accounts
  • Log onto Instagram 0 – 1x per day. Process photos but do not post to feed. (Airplane mode on phone)
  • No reading internet posts / blogs – deleting (mindless) web surfing for the full duration
  • Checking email 2x per day for work – 1x per day for personal (use ‘out of office’ replies and phone to connect)
  • Clean up hard-drives, desktops and back-up all files
  • Put e-books on Kindle and iPad
  • I am unsure if I want to post on my blog during this time

August 1st sounds like a great starting date. August 15th is 2 weeks, and August 19th feels good too come back.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Jennifer Louden July 31, 2012 at 8:09 am

    love it esp. this part “I logged onto Facebook, seeking comments and support, complain a bit on Twitter, and showed how awesome my life was via Instagram. It’s addicting. And kind of pointless.” That’s pretty much where I am with social media most of the time. I am working toward finding a way that is nourishing and creative and informative not addictive and pointless. Have a wonderful break, may it bear much fruit.

    • Reply justine July 31, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment! Love your blog 🙂
      “Nourishing” and “creative” are awesome rails to ride when it comes to social media. I find it incredibly satisfying in regards to a quick fix, but it can never replace the feeling of having a conversation with someone face-to-face.

  • Reply Nourishing & Creative « Allowing Myself July 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    […] did a bunch of thinking today about my digital sabbatical / detox.  My whole day felt like a practice run and even though I logged onto FB for work, checked personal […]

  • Reply Somehow, It’s All Enough « Allowing Myself August 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    […] work and feeling out a routine. Tonight we actually watched a movie, which we hardly ever do. My digital sabbatical feels good and I continue to get up each day and write morning […]

  • Reply Sundays Are For (Week 7) « Allowing Myself September 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    […] up Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts and processed 200+ emails per my digital detox plan. It didn’t feel as productive as I hoped, but the overwhelm of opening my email is less. […]

  • Reply Thank You 2012 « Allowing Myself January 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    […] tried a digital sabbatical in August and the heat wave begun (lasted until October). We watched planes land. A friend gifted […]

  • Reply August Break 2013 | Allowing Myself August 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    […] I could not be more excited for this year’s August Break, originally created by Susannah Conway. I’ve participated in my own way for two years now. 2011′s post is here and 2012′s is here. […]

  • Leave a Reply