Saturday, August 1, 2015

TED talk: The power of time off

Stefan Sagmeister, a designer who closes his studio for a yearlong sabbatical every seven years advises us to do the same on TED talk, to take time-off to become better productive in our routine life. I strongly recommend watching this video.

I am taking out a concept of his for a discussion. He says, a typical person spends first 25 years of his or her life learning, next 40 years working and then begins the retired life. He advises to push out the retirement age by 5 years to use them as sabbatical in between the working years. See the image.

Those sabbaticals help us in understanding the life better and we don’t have to wait till retirement to do what we loved. At least we will get to know how the life after retirement will be. Of course, we need to make practical arrangements to ensure that our employer or customers are not troubled with our disappearance.

Top: Years spent in a typical life. Bottom: As proposed by Stefan S. (Source: TED talk)

I attempted to work out a personalized map out of this concept. I am already 38 and wanted to retire at 60 (or earlier if I become financially independent). If I push out the retirement years by 2 years, I get 24 months (or 104 weeks) to distribute during my next 24 working years. That would mean one month sabbatical a year or 2 month time-off every 2nd year or any such combinations suited to my needs. I think two weeks of my disappearance every six months would not put my job in jeopardy and employer would agree to it.

What should be the duration of time-off depends on what we want to during that retirement on trial. If we like pilgrimage, we don’t have to miss the next ‘Kumbh mela’ and why stop at char-dham yatra when there is so much to explore? If we are nature enthusiasts, how about taking part in the next tiger census? Those few weeks would be far enriching than a casual wild safari. If you loved your parents, how about giving that time for their unfulfilled wishes? If you are a man of written words, how about visiting a lit-fest, come back energized and write a novel? It could be an awful read for others but it is still your first book. If you are a movie buff, how about creating those short movies to load it on YouTube?

Retirement life is not to please others but to get a sense of satisfaction of living happily. Our bank balance comes down during these mock-retirement periods but the stocks of memories go up. At least it lets us tick off few from the check-list incase if we are not to live till old age by destiny.

Being crazy may be the quickest route to our inner self but we need to back it up with the rationality of a plan. Writing this blog post had made my thoughts more clear, family and passion would get more of time in the form of extended vacation or mini-retirement.


  1. Good one. Hope you're time-off materializes.

    1. Thanks Subhodeep for visiting my blog. Yes, I am putting efforts to materialize time-off.