Every year I take some time off from publishing blog posts, composing tweets, and ‘personal’ online/screen time. I call this a digital hiatus or (more grandly) Belshaw Black Ops.

This all started in 2010 with taking three weeks off in December as I’m prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). However, I’ve found it so valuable that for the last couple of years I’ve disappeared for two months including November! It means I can come back full force in January refreshed, with lots of plans and ideas.

As I get older, I’m getting better at looking after myself. I’m eating more healthily, doing more exercise, and remaining more calm and centered. Part of the reason I’m able to do that is that I’m increasingly in control of my own time and, as a result, can prioritise things important to me.

I so enjoyed the family road trip we went on last year, camping and travelling around Europe. I actually chose to disconnect for a good deal of that, too. This year, then, I’ve decided to split #BelshawBlackOps15 into two – part one will be next month (August) and then I’ll be ‘away’ for part two in December.

I’ll see how I feel in terms of my ‘rules’ for December, but for August, I’ll be:

  • Keeping anything I write or create offline
  • Avoiding online social networks
  • Replying to personal emails on a weekly basis

One day, I hope to be in the position to work four days a week and for ten months a year. That would be my ideal. Until that point, and throughout both parts of #BelshawBlackOps, I still need to work on projects for clients and be available via email. That means can still get a timely response from me via my Dynamic Skillset and City & Guilds accounts.

So, practically speaking: this Sunday’s newsletter will be my last one until September; there’ll be no August episodes of the #TIDE podcast; on my return I’ll write a ‘monthnote’ for August (instead of my usual weeknotes); and for those privileged few on my private Slack channel, I’ll be around as usual. 🙂

Image CC BY-NC Jeremy Brooks