Could a retreat rejuvenate your business?
Inspiration is easier to find in the unfamiliar.
When we see and do the same things every day, in the same place, before long we’re living our lives on a conveyor belt.
Stagnant, swaddled, oblivious to the unplanned momentum pulling us along in a gentle and soothing hum of self-delusion.
Many of us think we’re stepping off by going it alone. The wide stride into an unknown, where your only fuel for the journey is sheer bloody mindedness, conviction, and passion.
But, even though – as a business – our days are rarely the same, the pull of comfort, of security, of companionship, is alluring when you’re out on your own.
A need opens up, a new opportunity and suddenly empty office buildings become ‘work hubs’, ‘hot-desking spaces’ and ‘event spaces’.
We may have chosen an independent path, but us entrepreneurial types still flock together. Congregating in rooms, with frothy coffees and finger buffets, to ‘network’ or ‘co-work’.
I love this sense of belonging to a community, because, even through Author Amy likes to retreat into a creative bubble and craft stories, Entrepreneur Amy likes to be IN the story; fed by curiosity and the magnetism of other people with inspiring tales to tell.
Yet still, Monday’s can feel ‘Mondayish’ and Friday’s are still TGIF!
My friend, and Business Advisor, Emma Smith, suggested I take a ‘retreat day’ with my business.
Although, she did her retreat in style; booking a hotel room in another city, ordering room service and rewarding herself with soaks in a deep tub, bubbly, and snuggling up in 13.5 TOG feather and down!
My version was a little more low rent! Pitching camp in the Holiday Inn at the Bearpit (but hey, at least it had ‘holiday’ in the name!).
Whole businesses – such as Arvon – are built around providing writers with distraction-free space where they do nothing but write for days on end.
Taking your business on retreat is much the same.
A whole day to step OUT of your business and work ON it, or a part of it.
Such a thought might give you pause, a small knot of panic tightening around your belly. So, here are my top tips to escape and reflect for a day:
Schedule in a retreat day
Choose a day far away enough in the future that you can ‘plan it out’ of your regular routine.
Not too far away, choose a day in the next month or so.
A deadline that’s too distant will be forgotten, then suddenly it’ll creep up on you and inevitably something else will take priority.
Choose a manageable day – If you know Monday’s are always hectic, avoid them.
Decide on an outcome
What is the ONE thing you’d like to come away with that day?
It could be a content calendar, the first draft of a short eBook, a series of blog posts, finishing that video you’ve been putting off, updating all your web content… whatever – it’s your business, you decide.
If you are responsible for regular chores, make another arrangement on that day – If you always cook dinner, book a table in a restaurant instead that evening. Or, if you always pick the kids up from school, arrange an alternative that day.
Releasing yourself of something you are usually bound to, gives you a great sense of motivation. You really feel like you want to make the most of that opportunity, that gifted time in your day.
Are there daily admin chores that you can ask someone else to take care of? Can you call in a favour? Book a Virtual Assistant for the day? etc.
This is the most crucial part…
All of the above involves some level of planning, but what about the actual tasks you will set yourself on the day?
Spend some time thinking about this. Maybe write a list?
The day before, pack a bag with the essentials and clear the decks (in the same way you would if you were going on holiday).
Put your out of office on your email.
Switch off your phone (go on, I dare you!).
Schedule your social media activity ahead of time (I use HootSuite) and commit to ignoring it for the day. Announce that on your timeline, if you feel it necessary.
Tell colleagues, customers etc. that you’re not available that day, and be OK with that.
The world won’t end if you choose not to participate for the day!
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