Consistency, Batching, and Productivity: Why I Take An August Sabbatical

by Aug 4, 2020Everything, Less Is More, Podcast, Systems + Processes

Every summer, we take a break as a family—from work and from routines.

Typically, we take a few weeks off in August, sometimes up to a month. My husband and I have baked it into our schedules, slowly building an 11-month year into our lifestyle.

This year is a little different, of course, because 2020 has been a tidal wave of epic proportions, with wave after wave of change raining down on all of us. From the economic crash to the pandemic to the constant renegotiation of time, space, school, and life, it is seemingly never-ending. Stress is at an all-time high over here in this household.

Still, despite everything going on, we’re going to hang onto the threads of the idea of a sabbatical and take a small step back from our crushing work demands and see if we can’t still try to slow the tempo. For me, that means I’m taking a beat from podcast production, I’m slowing down our newsletters, and I’m winding up interviews and work between now and September.

Rest and recovery are essential, and so limited right now

I’ve written before how important rest and recovery is (and how to know if you’re suffering from burnout), the importance of setting a slow enough pace that you can sustain, and how even during the busiest seasons a little rest can change everything.

It’s important to rest and recharge from whatever your normal routine is, even if you love your job and the work you do. In addition to the break from work, I also like to take time away from social media in an annual social media sabbatical (which I’ve experimented with each year, and written about for Harvard Business Review). Taking time away can be eye-opening and revealing. Sometimes the act of pausing something or stopping it entirely can be more revealing than if you pushed through and tried to just keep going.

Here’s a short snapshot of this year’s sabbatical, plus a few sneak peaks at what we’re doing this Fall with the podcast and the overall business and brand here at Startup Pregnant. Throughout August, we’ll be doing a short podcast tour and re-publishing some of our favorite all-time episodes. I’ll see you all again with fresh episodes in September.


The Startup Pregnant Podcast — Episode #165

A little backstory about why we take this family break

A few years ago, when we first had children, my husband talked to his workplace about parental leave. He knew that while he’d like to be home during the first few weeks during and after the birth, he was also interested in being able to be around with his kids while they grew up. So, the summer after our first kid was born, he shifted his schedule to work from 8am to 4pm.

From there, he advocated for taking a four-week leave every summer to spend time with his kids. “What’s the point in having kids if I never see them,” he mused. He collaborated with his boss and every year, he now takes a full month away from work. The harder part? Honestly, it was getting ME on board. (I love my work, so much.) Today, we both try to take about a month off every summer to be with the kids and to flip our work schedules around. The built in structure of a break leaves me recharged, refreshed, and ready for the year ahead.

This is his fifth year taking a sabbatical, although this year (2020) will be a little different. We’re not doing any family vacations, and we don’t have any childcare—and we’re moving. So, basically, we’re taking two weeks off of work to schlep boxes and move houses. We’ll take what we can get.

I’ll still be teaching and running all of my virtual programs, but the podcast is going into summer mode. 

One thing I’ve learned through publishing on a consistent basis for many years is this: 

You can be consistent and consistently take breaks.

In fact, breaks are essential and important for long-term wellness and stamina.


Here’s a few resources for you — on business, clarity, and finding focus — until I’m back in September

See you in September! 


Raising Them: Gender Creative Parenting — Episode #174 with Dr. Kyl Myers

Raising Them: Gender Creative Parenting — Episode #174 with Dr. Kyl Myers

The other day, I was reading an article on Time Magazine that I couldn’t stop reading. Dr. Kyl Myers, an author, had written a long-form piece about gender, sex and parenting. Dr. Kyl Myers holds a PhD in sociology and studies and speaks about gender. Kyl is an award-winning educator and a globally recognized advocate for gender creative parenting. Since 2016, Kyl has been speaking and writing about gender creative parenting and using their own parenting story to help the world learn about and embrace a new type of childhood. Kyl Myers goes by “she” and “her” pronouns, as well as “they” and “them.” Dr. Myers is the author of Raising Them: Our Adventure In Gender Creative Parenting. This is a fascinating conversation about parenting, gender, and what we can do as parents to help reduce gender violence, oppression against women and men, and create a more playful world.

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Why Are The Stories Of Motherhood So White? — Episode #173 with Nefertiti Austin

Why Are The Stories Of Motherhood So White? — Episode #173 with Nefertiti Austin

In America, the word “mother” is nearly always describing white motherhood. That’s what Nefertiti, a single African American woman and the author of “Motherhood So White,” discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked by the assumptions people had about what adoption, motherhood, and Black motherhood should look like. She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build.

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Recess: 5 Minute Resets For Sanity and Calm — Episode #154

Recess: 5 Minute Resets For Sanity and Calm — Episode #154

One of the hardest things for me is finding a way back to myself amidst the clawing of children, the demands of home, the projects at work, and the to-do lists piled extra high. You know the days—when doing anything longer than 15 minutes seems impossible. Here’s a free series of short, five-minute guided audio meditations for everyone who wants them. No catch.

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ASK SARAH #8: Side Hustles, Personal Branding, Exercise After Pregnancy

ASK SARAH #8: Side Hustles, Personal Branding, Exercise After Pregnancy

Should you start a business on the side while you’re employed full-time? What are the risks and complications—and are you obligated to let your employer know? This is a tricky question, and a lot depends state to state. I dig into the things you should know about corporate contracts, employment agreements, inventions and assignments agreements, and why getting a lawyer to look at your contracts is a really smart investment (and shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars).

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Sarah K Peck

Founder, Startup Parent

Sarah Peck is a writer, startup advisor, and yoga teacher based in New York City. She’s the founder and executive director of Startup Parent, a media company documenting the stories of women’s leadership across work and family. She hosts the weekly Startup Parent Podcast and Let's Talk, her second podcast. Previously, she worked at Y Combinator backed One Month, Inc, a company that teaches people to code in 30 days, and before that she was a writing and communications consultant.

She’s a 20-time All-American swimmer who successfully swam the Escape from Alcatraz nine separate times, once wearing only a swim cap and goggles to raise $33k for charity: water. She’s written for more than 75 different web publications and and has delivered speeches and workshops at Penn, UVA, Berkeley, Harvard, Craft & Commerce, WDS, and more.