I’m Taking a Digital Sabbatical – I’ll be Offline Oct 3rd to 8th…


I’ve been thinking about doing a digital sabbatical for a long time now.

Even when I have time off from the jewellery business (such as our #USACAN2013 trip this year), I still stay connected. I still work – checking email, running this blog, staying on top of social media.

I have a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone. Seems a bit crazy when I lay that all out there, but I use them all (except maybe the laptop) every single day. Oh, and I have a kindle for the sole purpose of reading novels, too.

I’m betting you’re in pretty much the same boat, am I right?

I find myself thinking in tweets. No joke!

Or, perhaps I should say that when I have an interesting thought, my first instinct is to think ‘how can I say that in a tweet’.

Not that that’s a bad thing, necessarily… but the idea of being disconnected from twitter et al for a period of time appeals to a part of me – the part that remembers what life was like BEFORE the internet. Before Google, smartphones, tablets, instagram etc etc.

Don’t get me wrong – you all know how much I love the internet, blogging, and social media. Heck, I wouldn’t have the life I have now without them. They are ESSENTIAL to my business and my life.

But I yearn to live once again as if none of that connection existed – even if it’s only for a few days – because I’m curious as to how I will feel and think without the trappings of digital connection.

So, this October, I’m taking a 6 day digital sabbatical.

I’ll be completely offline from Thursday the 3rd of October to Tuesday the 8th. It’s a short time, but I hope it’s long enough to reap some benefits.

I’m combining it with a trip away – I think it will be MUCH easier to maintain if I’m in a new environment, busy doing things, rather than sat at home. I’m also doing it over a weekend as most of us tend to ramp down our work/social media on the weekend, so it won’t be such a stretch.

My oldest and dearest friend and I started a tradition last year – we call it our Dream Date – where she and I go away together for a long weekend to natter, chill out, drink a cocktail (or four) and just spend some good-old-fashioned face-to-face time that we don’t get anymore, now that we live in different cities.

So, instead of reaching for my phone, I’ll be out and about – and if thoughts come, I’ll be reaching for my moleskine instead.

I won’t lie – I’m a little trepidatious about this! I think connection has become such a routine, ingrained part of my life that I’ll struggle being without it. I’m sure I’ll find myself reaching for my phone on numerous occasions.

I also have a grand dream that the mental space I’ll reclaim during this time will result in amazing ideas and schemes for the months and years ahead… but I’m trying to go into this without any goals or expectations. Rather, it’s an experiment, and only by doing it will I know what the result will be.

So, I’ll be leaving my laptop behind, switching off the data on my phone, and attempting to live in the moment… unplugged.

I shall report back and let you know how I go!

If you are one of my October Set Up Shop students, you’re going to be in the capable hands of my very lovely assistant Megan Eckman. You can email her – megan@createandthrive.com if you have any questions/issues as the course progresses.

Ditto for any other urgent issues – please shoot Megan an email and she’ll do her best to help you out in my absence.

Things will be ticking along as per normal here – we’ve got some great posts scheduled up, and Megan will be sharing great stuff on FB in my absence, too!

If you’ve done a digital sabbatical, I’d love to know how it went for you, please share in the comments below!


For further reading on the subject, here are a few great posts around the interwebs:

How to Avoid Burnout and Take a Digital Break

The Importance of Unplugging

A Beginner’s Mind: Insights from my Digital Sabbatical

Screen Time: The Place to ‘Connect’?

40 Ways to Give Yourself a Break


Van Den has written 388 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at Epheriell.com. You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.


Sue Bertozzo

LOVE it! Can’t wait to hear how you go. xxz


Thanks Sue! 🙂


We are very lucky to have a farm in the family that is located in one of those odd spots where you can’t get mobile phone reception. There’s no internet connected and the landline only accepts incoming calls (we never give the number out anyway) or outgoing emergency calls. It is utter bliss. We head up there for a couple of weeks each year and it’s amazing how the digital-free time allows us to reconnect creatively, with nature, and with each other. Enjoy your time away!


Wow, that sounds utterly amazing!!

Elle Roberts (@Elle_Roberts_)

Totally understand what you mean about thinking in tweets! Good luck with your week off I know I would find it hard. When we go camping I try to be totally off line but that is usually only for a night or two!


I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks in tweets ;D


good luck & have fun 🙂

we’re going to my cousin’s wedding & having a little holiday later this month (in Brisbane, any recommendations?) & will be mostly off-line, should be fun 🙂


Oh, that sounds lovely! And definitely visit Southbank and the Cultural Precinct there 🙂


I love this idea – going offline and disconnect yourself from technology. I am going to try it myself but definitely starting small such as 1 day a week. So glad that I managed to catch you right before you go on hols. Looking forward to hear what you have discovered during your ‘time off’.

P/S : You have just inspired my next blog post. Thank you!



Oh, look forward to reading it! Link it here when you’ve written it 🙂


You’ve already gone offline, so I hope you’re enjoying it without too many withdrawal symptoms. 😛
Nearly a decade ago I worked through Julia Cameron: The Artists Way, one of the 12 weeks in that coursebook is to take a week off from tv, internet, newspapers, non-essential phone calls. Essential stuff for work is allowed. I got out more and had more real-time conversations. In the old days (I’m 51) we made arrangements before parting and stuck to them. You will hear about major news through other people.
Great exercise to find out just how much we really need modern technology and how much it intrudes. Recommend it for everyone. I still spend way too much time on the web, but at least I have a distant voice reminding me to go and do something more interesting, like painting. 🙂


I have heard about that book over and over through the years, I REALLY must get my hands on a copy!

I adore the idea of turning off everything for a week. My next plan is go to away to a retreat for a week by myself and have NOTHING screen-wise with me. That will be interesting…

What say you?