How My Sabbatical Helped Me Become A Better Digital Marketer

Granular offers a wide range of perks, but undoubtedly the best one is the opportunity to enjoy a month-long paid sabbatical every three years. During the sabbatical, we are encouraged to travel and even receive a stipend to help fund our adventure. Granular has now done 10 sabbaticals!

Let me tell you, my sabbatical timing was basically perfect for when I needed it the most: my wedding and honeymoon! Having a whole month to celebrate with my family and newlywed husband was amazing and something for which I will always be grateful.

Cue fun photos:

Beyond the valuable break from work, my sabbatical taught me three crucial lessons that really helped me become a better digital marketer.

Forced Me to Get Super Organized

I’ve always prided myself on being pretty organized, but when I was preparing to leave for my sabbatical, I realized some of my organization made sense to me but no one else. 

This realization forced me to get organized fast. Before I left, I introduced several tracking and documentation systems, ensuring that even if I didn’t share any information about my clients, my colleagues could seamlessly navigate any issue and manage everything perfectly.

Now that I’m back, this new level of organization is great! The break allowed me to hit the reset button and reevaluate if my previous methods actually made sense, not simply because “I’ve always organized it like that.”

Taught Me To Delegate and Give Up Control

A few of my clients experienced significant growth over the past year, which is great, but this also took our internal teams from 1 or 2 individuals to 3 or 4. With additional team members, I needed to reassess my daily responsibilities and decide which ones I could give up to focus on the bigger picture.

Stepping back and determining who could cover for me during my absence forced me to give up the reins and bring in others. This was not only beneficial for me but also for my clients. There’s nothing better than bringing in new team members who offer a fresh perspective or can bring new ideas to the account. It also provided me with valuable insights into areas where I can enhance my skills, which essentially resulted in a self-audit.

When I came back, my clients had nothing but praise for the team members who covered for me. That’s exactly what we wanted: a transition so smooth it felt like I was never gone.

Gave Me A Much Needed Mental Reset

To be honest, taking a much-needed mental reset was the most significant benefit I gained from my sabbatical. 

I went all out: I took a break from everything advertising-related, kept my personal social media scrolling in check, tried a few new hobbies, and even tackled some random house projects.

At the end of my sabbatical, I was excited to come back to work, not only to see my coworkers, but also to catch up and hear what I had missed with my clients. It was like a gentle reminder that I still dig what I do!

Grand Finale

If you are in a position where you can offer your staff some sort of paid extended break, do it! 

If you are ever given the opportunity to take an extended break, take it!

Sabbaticals and other extended breaks from our jobs are extremely healthy; they help us reset and light the fire to continue to do great work.

A note from our Founder, Jordon

I was fortunate enough to have a sabbatical in my professional life before I started Granular and it changed my outlook on work forever. When the decision was made to take my 30 day break, I immediately created a grand list of things I could do. House projects, travel, learning a new skill…it was big and ambitious. However, mine was not a company perk…it was a break in between jobs. So when I started Granular in 2014, creating perks better than any company I ever worked for was one of my goals. 

At the end of my 30 break, I had not learned a new language, still couldn’t play a lick on the guitar, and had a project or two left at the house. (Well, I did learn a G-chord.) The main thing I did was I took an epic road trip out West and visited a lot of family, which recharged the soul. The Ah-Ha moment was, I was refreshed. I was more motivated than ever to crush my day-to-day and work towards something great. 

I created the sabbatical perk at Granular in 2017 and have since given advice to a number of other agency owners around the country to help them figure out their own version of this. It’s hard to do. It takes a very good team, intense planning, and a lot of trust within the whole company. 10 sabbaticals later, and we’re looking forward to the next one this year.


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