Sabbatical after five years at Automattic

On my five-year Automattic anniversary (February 3rd, 2017), I started my three-month paid sabbatical. (Such a rad benefit!)

It was strange not signing into work. Some preparation and unforeseen events kept me preoccupied, but overall, it was quite enjoyable.

Many thanks to Automattic for the opportunity, and all my teammates for handling things!

Now, I’ll share some notes and highlights because midnight (PST) is soon. 😊

Mind map

Months before it started, I created a mind map with MindNode of all the things I might want to do. I reviewed it from time to time, and it was easy to add new ideas.

I knew I wouldn’t get to it all, but at least I had no excuse to be bored.

Jury duty

I spent about four days in jury selection. While I was being questioned, I told the attorney I was a Happiness Engineer. I…was dismissed. 😆


On the second day of jury duty, I got a phone call from our landlord. They had to move back into their house, which meant we had to be gone in two months.

Amy found a place fairly quickly (not far from where we were), so we didn’t need those two months, and the move went smoothly. Mad props to her!

KonMari Method

Since we were moving, and we had a few weeks, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, then reduced my stuff by a lot. I have more to do, but ridding myself of clothes I no longer wear or like (for example) made the move much easier.

To Be Continued

A bit more to come about my sabbatical over the coming days. Stay tuned!

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Community Guardian at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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