Friday, April 30, 2021 was my last day at my employer. This time, rather than waiting to be let go when the project wound down and they had no other place for me, or getting so burnt out and stressed that the company decides I’m no longer wanted, I decided to take a sabbatical. I was inspired by a couple of sources that one, this was a good time to do it, and two, I could do it.

Max Frenzel’s work on disconnecting and deliberate rest inspired me to assess my condition, and look into whether or not I was burnt out or approaching burnout. Spoiler: I was. Frenzel has a book out, by the way, titled Time Off, it’s about learning to slow down and appreciate how leisure is essential. The other inspiration was Will Larson, who mostly came to my attention for his book Staff Engineer, which I bought and love. But more directly, in his blog, Irrational Exuberance, made it clear to me that I needed a change to continue my programming career and take it up another step.

And the Inside Times had their say, too. After a year of sheltering in place, not traveling, not going out to bars or restaurants, and pretty much only leaving the house every couple of weeks to get groceries, I was about to be fully vaccinated. My second Pfizer shot was, as I was planning, scheduled for May 5, and I knew that by Memorial Day I would be as safe as I was going to get until the US finally drags itself out of the pandemic. I didn’t get a summer in 2020, I was determined to have a good summer in 2021.

After quitting, I set up a schedule for myself, based on ideas from Frenzel and other sources, that boils down to doing Deep Work for half a day, in the morning, and spending the rest of the day on, well, rest, as well as taking care of all the little things like chores and errands. It’s a good schedule, it works, but I’ve had trouble sticking to it. I’m writing this post during my morning work time.

8:00Wake up
8:15Feed Yuli 😻, make coffee
8:30Have coffee while reading daily inspirational text
9:00Meditate for 25 minutes
9:30Study and reading rotating topic list in 25 minute intervals, Pomodoro-style.
Alternate with Yuli playtime, reading for book group
Daily Topic List
Sunday: Spirituality
Monday: Photography
Tuesday: Writing
Wednesday: Productivity
Thursday: General Programming
Friday: IAM
Saturday: wildcard or off
NoonFeed Yuli
12:15Meditate for 25 minutes
14:00Unstructured time: nap, exercise, chores, errands, shower, Yuli playtime, journalling
21:30Meditate for 25 minutes
Daily Schedule for May, 2021

Here at the end of May, though, I’m going to launch into the actual task I set for myself in this sabbatical. After a few unsuccessful jobs interviews earlier this year, before I decided to take a sabbatical, I realized that however much I detest the coding part of interviews, I still have to deal with them. Will Larson in his guide to interviewing for staff-plus roles, mentioned the book Cracking the Coding Interview and the companion website. I feel quite a bit more inclined to work through it than spend any time on one of the coding practice sites. Starting June 1 I will modify the above schedule to fix a hour-hour block of two rounds every day, and the rest of my work time I’ll continue with daily the rotating topic list.