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Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Time-Off category.

The Power of Time-Off

I was really inspired by Stefan Sagmeister’s speech at the TED conference about the power of time-off. You can read a quick synopsis of the talk or watch the video here. In a nutshell, Stefan closes his New York studio every couple of years for a sabbatical to refresh his creative outlook. The time-off allows him to explore new ideas, become inspired and change his point of view for his work as a designer. The creative ideas that he pursues during his time away are put to use and become the muse for the work that takes place between his sabbaticals.

For me, taking a break this past summer allowed me to exponentially increase my connections to people, ideas, and the best practices in my industry. As importantly, it has made me very clear about what I do best, where I can contribute most, and the kinds of organizations I’d like to work with. So while I didn’t travel to Bali like Stefan, my own sabbatical has allowed me to learn a few good things along the way.

People. Everyone talks about growing your network and I have certainly invested time to expand my personal and professional networks on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (@annebentley). Equally important is face-to-face time with people – asking for advice, talking about their projects, exchanging ideas, and soliciting input and feedback. Connecting with entrepreneurs and giving them a sounding board from my PR point of view has been an exciting part of my time away. I’ve also had fun getting involved in some of my friend’s activities – from hiking local trails in Northern Virginia to providing pro bono consulting to DC non-profits. And then there are the hundreds of new people I’ve met because I was out and about and available to new possibilities.

Purpose. One of the things I’ve enjoyed during this break has been the opportunity to have a laser like focus on my personality, strengths, and the types of companies and assignments that naturally appeal to me. I also took the time to fully explore business ownership and learned a lot about my abilities and myself as an entrepreneur during the process. I also created a list of what was important in my life beyond work. This specificity allows me to effectively communicate what I offer to potential business clients and employers and keeps me honest about the types of opportunities I am pursuing.

Passion. Having the time to fully engage in my industry has been extraordinarily satisfying. I’ve read white papers, explored social media best practices, participated in seminars, started a blog, read industry analysis, and deconstructed major media events. Most of all, the time-off has renewed my passion for what I like to do – motivate and influence people.

The time-off has been an incredible gift and a moment to take stock, get refueled, and linger over a cup of coffee or lunch with a friend or business colleague. And, I have a new arsenal of ideas – like Stefan – to bring to my next assignment.