I recently discussed the idea of a micro-sabbatical – a short time off work where, rather than lay in bed, I use my time for family and self-improvement.

Left to my own devices on a day off, I’d probably have a lie-in before watching far too much daytime TV and then even indulging in a movie for the afternoon. By the end of the week I’ll feel that I hadn’t achieved anything. So, I set myself a specific schedule for each day to ensure I had something to do at each point, yet something I wanted to be doing.

I had a week off – bookended by two “normal” weekends, this attempt was a whole 5 days. Definitely “micro”.

So, I cancelled the child-minder for the week and took my daughter to school each day and picked her up too. This gave me a lot more time each with her (another 3.5 hours each day). I also went swimming, read, did some chores (that I wanted to do rather than those that urgently needed doing so I did begrudgingly), wrote (for BTQ and also for my WordCamp talk). On Tuesday I went to the cinema.

It was a packed week but, and this is crucial, I felt like I hadn’t wasted it.

My steps were up by 150%, and that doesn’t take into account the swimming I was doing each day (I’m not a particularly strong swimmer but was averaging around 11 lengths a day). Yet, annoyingly, my weight has remained the same for weeks, despite the fact that I wasn’t eating more than usual that week (if anything, I may have been eating less).

The one issue was the swimming – as I’m not a regular swimmer, by the end of the week my back was hurting, due to all those shoulder muscles I didn’t usually use. If I was doing this longer term (say, a full sabbatical) then I’d keep it up and that would go – as it was, I just ended up on Friday aching a lot before stopping. For shorter bursts, like this, I need to find a different solution.

But, overall, a good week. I look forward to trying it again (albeit a little tweaked).

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