About Seventh Week Sabbaticals

Sean McCabeMy name is Sean McCabe. I am the founder of seanwes.

In 2014, I started taking Seventh Week Sabbaticals.

I work six weeks and take off every seventh week. I also pay my employees to take off every seventh week. We don’t have “unlimited time off”, we have mandatory time off.

It is my mission, by 2047, to get every company in the world to pay their employees to take off every seventh week.

Before you think I take 7.42 sabbatical weeks each year because I must love taking time off, let me assure you the opposite is true.

I explain more in my first post to learn about the Origin of Seventh Week Sabbaticals and how I was heading toward burnout.

If you’re wondering, “What the heck is a sabbatical, and why seven weeks?” click the link above.

Otherwise, continue reading for more on why I started this blog.

4 reasons I started sabbatical.blog

I’m very passionate about the topic of sabbaticals and rest. As a society, I believe we are chronically burned out.

We simply do not realize how much rest we need. We don’t value margin like we should.

Most people see margin as a luxury, but margin is a necessity.

I want to help you prevent burnout.

I have tens of thousands of words written about sabbaticals stored on my hard drive. I’m working hard on a book, but I don’t want to wait until the book is finished to start sharing those ideas publicly.

Reason #1 – I want a place to share my thoughts on the TOPIC of sabbaticals.

When I started taking Seventh Week Sabbaticals in 2014, I began publishing what I call “mini sabbatical episodes” on my podcast during the weeks that I’m off.

I originally started doing this because I didn’t want to just “disappear” during my sabbatical. More than just resting myself, I wanted to remind people in my audience of the importance of rest. I wanted to lead by example.

When you listen to the seanwes podcast and you hear a mini sabbatical episode, it reminds you that I’m taking time off. My hope is that it at least makes you think about rest—if not eventually adopt Seventh Week Sabbatical for yourself.

(Side note: many of my listeners actually do take Seventh Week Sabbatical on the same schedule I do now, which is pretty cool!)

This is what the podcast output looks like:

  • Week 1: Normal podcast episode
  • Week 2: Normal podcast episode
  • Week 3: Normal podcast episode
  • Week 4: Normal podcast episode
  • Week 5: Normal podcast episode
  • Week 6: Normal podcast episode
  • Week 7: Mini sabbatical episode

This is fine, but I don’t have enough space to share all of the thoughts I have on sabbaticals.

More often than not, I end up just sharing some thoughts that vaguely touch on the idea of rest and don’t even talk about sabbaticals on those episodes.

I needed dedicated place to share more.

Now I have somewhere to do just that.

Reason #2 – I want a place to share the thoughts I have WHILE I’m on a sabbatical week.

As I write this, it’s Day 2 of a sabbatical week. It’s fantastic. I would never otherwise have time to do something like create and write for a new personal website.

But that’s exactly what I just spent the past two full days doing, and it’s been awesome.

It felt great to dig into code again and write some HTML, CSS, and PHP—and mess with some nitty gritty typography details.

I’m really happy with the result. I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak things as I go, but I’ve reached a point where I’m satisfied with the typography and reading experience. Now, I’m just eager to write more.

I have thought that I could simply blog about sabbaticals on my main site, seanwes.com, but I wanted a place where I can share more stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Somewhere I don’t have to worry too much about quality or diluting the purpose of seanwes.com. Sure, sabbaticals are somewhat related, but that site is mainly focused on business for creative professionals. If anything, I need to blog MORE about business topics there anyway, and adding a ton of sabbatical posts would just water down the focus.

This blog is for me. It’s a place to chronicle my thoughts and ideas and to iterate in public.

When I have ideas on my sabbatical weeks, I want a place to log and share those ideas. This is the second reason for creating sabbatical.blog.

Reason #3 – I’m taking off a full year in 2020 as my first Seventh Year Sabbatical (and I plan to document the journey).

When I first heard of people taking off every seventh year, I thought, “That’s way too extreme. What about a small scale sabbatical?”

I went on to take off every seventh week, and that’s been great.

But after the first two years of seeing the immense benefits of sabbaticals, I decided in 2016 that I would take off every seventh year as well.

How did I decide when would be the first Seventh Year Sabbatical?

I figured I’d start counting from the first year I began taking sabbaticals: 2014. This would put my first Seventh Year Sabbatical in 2020.

I made the commitment two years ago. My teams knows it. My family knows it. It’s a foregone conclusion. Now, it’s just a matter of working backwards from it.

When I first made the decision to take off a full year in 2020, I was scared to death (remember, I’m the crazy workaholic who worked 18-hour days for a decade). But the more I reflected on it, the more I realized I was just as scared when I committed to the Seventh Week Sabbatical. I don’t know if I ever would have followed through if it wasn’t for making myself publicly accountable and telling everyone in my audience I was going to do it.

I decided to trust the process.

I don’t know what to expect from a full year off. It scary to think about. There are a lot of unknowns. But after many years of benefits from small scale sabbaticals, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be revolutionary.

Something just tells me it’s going to be game-changing, and it’s going to cause next level success for years to come. I’m trusting the process.

I know for a fact that I will want to have something to look back on for that year. I want to document the journey. This is primarily for me, but I think it will also be interested for you to follow along.

I needed a place that would be my online home for the year 2020. This is where you can find me during my Seventh Year Sabbatical.

I may blog, I may podcast, I may make videos, I may do it daily for 365 days—I don’t know yet. But I will document that year in some form or fashion.

Reason #4 – My next book is called “Seventh Week Sabbatical” and this blog is my public draft.

I’m writing a book called Seventh Week Sabbatical.

The purpose of the book is to:

  • Show you the benefits of rest and how to prevent burnout.
    • There are so many benefits to sabbaticals. This book will help you be more mindful and purposeful about how to maximize those benefits.
    • You’re actually bad at taking time off and you don’t even know it. I will help you so you get the most rest out of your sabbatical so you don’t burn out.
  • Show you HOW to actually take off every seventh week (and what to expect).
    • This sounds silly at first, because it seems so straightforward, but you are going to encounter so many unexpected issues. It’s taken me years to figure this out. I can help you avoid a lot of pitfalls, disappointment, miscommunication, and unmet expectations. This will be your handbook and your personal guide to sabbaticals.
  • Provide a resource you can give to your employees (or people you care about).
    • Once you just how many layers and systems there are to properly implementing sabbaticals into your routine, you’ll be glad someone else wrote the book on it, so you can simply hand it to people you want to “get” it.

There’s so much more to the book, but those are the benefits at a high level.

When I wrote my first book, Overlap, I pulled from a lot of the podcast episodes and blog posts I’d already created over the years.

I’ve already started writing tens of thousands of words privately, on my own hard drive, but that’s not how I want to continue writing the book. I want to iterate in public.

This blog will feature a lot of the ideas, concepts and systems I’ve come up with over the years. Those things will be a part of the book as well, but by essentially writing my draft in public, you can get a glimpse into my process and thinking, and I can get a sense of what’s resonating.

The blog will also enable me to keep a finger on the pulse of what people are struggling with and what sabbatical questions they have.

I know from having written a book already that I (or my editor) will end up rearranging virtually everything after I think I’m finished with the first draft. What I publish here won’t be in any particular order. It will be fragments of an overall idea that I will later piecing together into a cohesive narrative.

Also, not to be completely morbid here, but one never knows when one will die. God forbid, I get hit by a bus and none of my ideas are public because I didn’t have enough time to finish a lengthy manuscript. Sorry—I just think about these things.

It’s much better to share my thoughts sooner and more frequently, even if it means they are imperfect and less polished. I can always add polish later.