Marci Alboher, the President of Encore, interviewed Reboot Your Life co-author Rita Foley for her new book, The Encore Career Handbook. ¬†Check out Rita’ inspiring message to give yourself a break!

You may hear the word sabbatical and think, “Never gonna happen in my life,” but sabbaticals aren’t just for academics anymore. They are becoming increasingly common for others – both those taking breaks from works to recharge or accomplish a goal and those needing a period of reflection or retooling before launching an encore career.

If you are thinking about any kind of structured break, get yourself a copy of the book Reboot Your Life: Energize Your Career and Life by Taking a Break, which covers everything from how to make the case to your employer and family members to creative ways to fund time off from work.

I’ve known Rita Foley, one of the book’s co-authors, for a long time – well before she ever took the reboot break that helped her move from a hard-charging corporate executive to what she calls her “current portfolio”. Today she runs a consulting firm and is active on several nonprofit boards. We worked together on an outline for how to use a reboot break to jump-start an encore transition.

  • Try to give yourself a minimum of three months. According to Foley, the first two weeks are decompressing, the last two are worrying about what you’re going back to, so the time does get whittled down. (That said, a mini-sabbatical of even two weeks could be useful in re-calibrating.)
  • Think into the future. If you know you want to take a substantial time away from your regular life or work, plan as far ahead as you can. With significant time to organize yourself, you can save money, develop a plan for work and other responsibilities, and prepare the various people whom your time off will affect – from colleagues and managers to family members.
  • Be creative about funding your time off. These breaks don’t have to break the bank. Start saving money over time and consider starting a reboot fund by asking friends and family to donate to that instead of giving birthday or holiday gifts. If your plan involves travel, look into home swaps or rent our your place. Taking time off from work doesn’t have to mean that you’re not earning money – think about whether there’s something you can do to bring in some income while also flexing some new muscles.
  • Create a project plan. Plot out the nitty-gritty – how you’ll finance your break, how you’ll separate from work and re-enter, where you’ll travel or live – but leave time for dreaming and spontaneity. The ideal reboot break is a combination of preparation and responding to serendipity.
  • Take a Reboot Break even if you’re still working. Set aside a chunk of time on your calendar and treat it as if it is an unmovable meeting. Use that time each week to make calls, read and research, and have informational interviews and other meetings related to your transition.
  • Communicate. Although you may see no downside to taking time to recharge your batteries, keep in mind that your partner, your children, or others who are invested in your life might not see it that way at first. Make sure to consider the issues your exploration might raise for others and address them head-on.