It can be hard to make a major forward movement when you are in the day to day hustle of your business.
That is one reason I go on regular work retreats to give myself time and space, to dream big and execute my big plans for my business.
In this episode of the Goal Get It Podcast, I’m pulling back the curtain and answering some common questions I get from clients around planning a solo retreat, including all my best tips and tricks to planning an effective work retreat from logistics to mindset.
- Listen to hear how to plan a successful solo-retreat and why it’s important for you and your business
- Understand how to set boundaries around your time and energy during the retreat
- Discover how to talk to your spouse/significant other about why a solo retreat matters
- Hear the behind the scenes of how I plan my solo retreats
Links In This Episode
- Episode 015: How to Take Time Off in Your Business Without Everything Falling Apart
- DM me on Instagram
Rather read than listen? ⬇️
It can be hard to make major forward movement when you are in the day-to-day hustle of your business. That is one reason that I go on regular work retreats to give myself time and space to dream big and execute my big plans for my business. So, I’m pulling back the curtain to let you know all my tips and tricks for planning an effective work retreat, from logistics to mindset.
Let’s dive into why business retreats matter and all the logistics and mindset in order to plan one effectively.
Because it’s not just enough to say, oh, I’m gonna go take a business retreat and then just run off and do it. You can, but there’s a way that you can do it to where you’re being most effective.
And the reason that that matters is, chances are, if you are a solopreneur, if you’re an entrepreneur with a team, you are kind of running a little bit light on some resources like time. And because of that, it can be really, really easy to get kind of stuck in the day to day, serving, fulfilling your message, working in the business and not so much working on the business,
But as a CEO of your business, as the decision maker for your business, you need to have that time in order to dream and plan and map and visualize and work on the business rather than just always being in the business.
And so that’s why business work retreats are amazing.
I actually just did a podcast episode on this. episode 15 was all about how to prepare your business to be gone. If that’s a question that you have, you can definitely go listen to that episode
Now, when I say a work retreat, I do mean a solo business retreat. So it will just be you.
You can certainly invite other business owners if you so wish, but with this retreat, you’re not gonna be teaching or hosting a retreat, this is a retreat for you just to be clear.
The Intention & Vibe
Okay. So when you’re thinking about creating a retreat for yourself, the first thing that I do whenever I plan effectively is decide what is my intention for this retreat.
What is my vibe that I’m kind of going for? Because there’s lots of different ways that you could hold one of these and that’s going to determine everything else you do along the way.
Are you wanting to take a business retreat to plan out content?
Are you wanting to have some just creative space and time where you’re not having to fulfill roles in your daily life and it frees you up to consider where the company could go? What the vision is, what the mission is, what the next five year map might look like?
Is it specifically to get clear on a client project?
Once I understand what the intention is, then I decide the vibe. So the vibe could be productive. The vibe could be chilled and laid back and creative. It could be lots of different things.
Many times my retreats come after an intense push for something, after a launch or a conference or a trip, so often the vibe is to decompress and envision how to incorporate new information into my plan moving forward. So creativity with a focus on rest & relaxation is the vibe I often go for.
And so knowing that the vibe was very fluid and free and chilled, I wanted to not have to think about a whole lot of things or make a whole lot of decisions or get dressed up and put makeup on. I wanted to use the time to really map some very specific pieces of the business and what was next for me. So knowing that I then use that to plan my logistics.
Make The List, Then List the Logistics
Next, I list out what are the things I actually wanna get done on this particular retreat. Some of mine have included mapping out some developmental editing aspects for my forthcoming book, planning out how I was going to modify my funnel, the things that I wanted to build out over the next three and six months. Mapping out an entire years’ worth of podcast episodes. Writing an entire launch worth of emails and posts.
So then that leads into how long the retreat will be and where am I doing this?
So knowing my intention, the vibe, and what I want to accomplish, then I can figure out how I best do those things. I get myself a bunch of post-it notes and supplies that I know I’ll need to map stuff out. With a retreat that is 1-3 days, I will usually book a hotel over an Airbnb because at a hotel I don’t have to buy groceries or think about a whole lot of things. I can just go down to the bar or the restaurant, get food, go back up. That fits the vibe because I have everything that I need and I don’t have to leave that comfy space. I intentionally think through things so I don’t have to think about it at the moment. I’m able to just kind of be in that space and use the giant windows or big open walls for using my post it notes for mapping.
For the retreat time, I don’t schedule it down to the hour or even the day. I know what I wanted to get done, but I give myself permission to work when I feel like it during the retreats.
So I make a loose plan in order to create a container that supports the intention and vibe I’m going for. It can be a plan that changes or shifts or pivots, and that’s totally fine.
But knowing as I’m going in, what location, what space, what physical space is going to give me the best chance of hitting that vibe, getting that intention, getting the things done that I need.
You Know We Got Boundaries
Then there’s boundaries. This last retreat I went on in April of this year, well it tested my ability to set boundaries a bit. That retreat was one that included a group retreat that I had signed up for that my coach was hosting and then I tacked on two days at the end of that for my own solo retreat to decompress and integrate everything that I learned before heading home. When I first told my husband that I was going on that retreat and I was gonna be gone for basically twice, as long as the retreat was for, I definitely got some pushback. I’ll be honest. I did, but I didn’t let that stop me from setting the boundaries that I needed. Just because I didn’t have to be gone that whole time because I was in a retreat with someone else didn’t mean that it wasn’t time and space that I needed. And so I know as mom, as partners, as people who have other people relying on you, it is going to be easy to fall into the trap of not being gone more than you “have to”, or feeling guilty for you taking this time away for your stuff. And that’s where this mindset piece comes in. I told you I would talk about logistics and mindset.
Mindset & Guilt
So when it comes to the mindset piece, when it comes to the guilt piece, just because you aren’t directly interacting with somebody else doesn’t mean that you’re not doing things that need to be done. Just because you are not actively hustling or working with a client or doing whatever it is that is directly important to others, doesn’t mean that it’s not important, that it’s not worth you taking that time.
Even if your work retreat is focused on rejuvenating yourself, creative adventures, whatever it is, taking time away is just as important as when you dedicate that time to other people. Okay.
But if you start changing the way that you interact with people, that’s going to trigger them like it did my husband. Whenever I said, I’m going to take an extra two to three days because I need it.
At this point I know what I need, and I’m willing to stand up for it. I didn’t let his reaction deter me from saying and standing up for what I needed.
So if this is your first time doing a work retreat, there are others that are gonna have opinions about it, and you probably want to be respectful of them.But you still want to stand up for your own boundaries.
Here are a few tips that you can use.
First of all, explain it in a way that makes sense to them. So if the people that you’re talking to, the people that are going to have opinions about it, the people that actually need to know are not entrepreneurs, aren’t running a company, aren’t the sole CEO or the sole decision-makers for anything, they probably don’t get that you need time and space to be able to think through things.
Same goes for people that might have extroverted spouses, extroverted partners, extroverted parents, whatever it might be and find themselves as introverts. Sometimes they can’t gain that perspective because it isn’t their own and so it’s on you to help them understand.
Another thing is to start small, it doesn’t have to be a two or three or seven day retreat that you take at the very beginning.
You can start with just a day, like a night away. You get there at check-in and you check out like the next day and you use that time in that space. It could be one day, right? It doesn’t have to be long. It can be something you build up over time. Not only build up how used to it you get, but the people around you get. Okay. All right.
So also the final mindset thing. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you’re taking time away, and it’s called a work retreat where you have to work for 12 or 16 hour days in order to justify it or to deserve it, that’s not going to help you here.
Now, if the point is to crank out three months worth of content and that is what you want to do, that’s fine, but don’t sit there and work for a 16 hour day while you’re on a retreat, just because you feel like you need to in order to justify it. Okay. All right. So that’s kind of on boundaries, both for yourself and for those around you. And if you’ve told somebody that you will not be, you know, if you have kids and you don’t wanna FaceTime three times a day, because it’s gonna take you out of that retreat mode, don’t do it, maybe do it once and limit the time because you are creating an intentional container to give you the freedom, to do the things that you need to do, right? So that is the boundary piece.
Create a Packing List
The last thing that I do when planning an effective work retreat is when I get ready to go, I create a packing list, to make sure that I am bringing the things that I need in order to, again, fulfill that intention, fulfill that vibe.
If you know that you love post-it notes like I do, take a bunch of post-it notes. If you know that you have very specific coffee or tea or something like that, that you need your music or whatever it is, make sure that you have those things with you. There’s nothing worse than getting to some place and getting ready to sit down and work. And you don’t have all the tools that you need.
So make sure that you create a packing list on which you can check everything off. Okay.
Settle In & Slay
And then finally, whenever I arrive at a particular work retreat location, now this isn’t necessarily planning, but it fits in. So I’m gonna share this little tidbit with you. Whenever I get to a location for my work retreat, I will post on social media and then put the phone down, you know, take all the pictures that I need to take and put the phone down.
I will unpack if I stay anywhere more than one night, I unpack and hang things in the closet. I put things in the drawers. I put my shampoo and conditioner and all those things where they go, everything gets unpacked. So I feel settled. I bring all of my stuff out that I’m gonna work with and make it readily available for me. If I need to go, you know, if I need to grab some provisions or anything like that on the way I will spread all those out. And then I give myself the opportunity to ground into the space and get used to it.
So usually what that looks like is eating a meal, taking a bath, maybe taking a nap, because you’re going from go, go, go, go, go to now, you’re supposed to integrate into this space where you have a very specific intention and vibe.
So it’s whenever you get there, get, give yourself the time in this space to integrate into that and, and really create that culture, create that vibe that you need in order to check off your to-dos. I don’t recommend immediately sitting down and starting to work.
So how often do I take retreats? Well, prior to my retreat in April, my last solo work retreat was may 2020. It’d been about a year. But usually in non-pandemic type of years, I try to do a retreat three or four times a year.
And they each have different intentions and things like that, but I can start to feel myself, kind of get anxious and itchy and like ready to have some plan time and some alone time, some intentional working on the business time about every 3 or 4 months or so.
So I hope that this episode and me sharing about my own work retreats has sparked some ideas for you as far as how you want to effectively plan a work retreat for yourself. Again, it gets to look like whatever you want it to look like. I’m just here to help spark ideas for you.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode: Design your ideal work retreat. What would the intention and vibe be? What would you like to get done? How long and where would you go? Who do you need to communicate with in order to make this retreat happen?