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You need a ‘Workation’

Why a self-imposed retreat may be just the thing to move your business forward

By Brandie Weikle

A funny thing can happen to your idea of a good time when you run your own business. With so many balls in the air, sometimes all you want to do is dive into a project and focus on it without the distractions and the daily demands of your business.

That’s where the workation comes in. A self-imposed business retreat can work wonders by separating you from every-day operations so you can press forward on a major new initiative. Whether you need the space to plan a pivot for your business, reorganize your team to be more profitable, or simply to write a killer employee handbook that will streamline your on-boarding process, time away can bring your goal to fruition.

Graham Allcott, author of How to be a Productivity Ninja, goes on a work retreat every year, usually in Goa, India, where accommodation and food are really affordable. “One of my mottos is ‘Ask the sea’ if I’ve got a project I’m really struggling with. The fact that the sea makes you feel insignificant does something for my brain.”

“I wrote my book on a workation,” he adds. “What I was finding was every week I’d come back to my to-do list and it would say ‘draft first chapter.’ What I really needed was not just time, but attention and mental head space.” Changing the to-do item from “write chapter” to “book tickets” made his writing dream come to fruition.

HERE ARE THE THREE PRINCIPLES OF A SUCCESSFUL WORKATION:

1) Pick the right location for your goal If you need to squirrel away to write or think, perhaps a cabin off the grid is perfect. When he was writing his book, Allcott deliberately chose a place that didn’t have a Wi-Fi connection. But if you’re researching a topic or collaborating remotely with your web designer, you’re going to need reliable Wi-Fi. With room service and housekeeping, a hotel can take care of all your needs, while you’ll likely need to cook for yourself at a cottage or Airbnb apartment.

2) Work ahead to remove yourself In order for your workation to be a success, you’re going to have to delegate tasks and work ahead to get critical items out of the way before you leave. “You have to lay yourself off from your own job,” says Allcott. Empower your staff to make decisions in your absence and outline clear boundaries for when to contact you.

3) Stay focussed At the beginning of a workation, the days stretch gloriously ahead of you—but the time will fly by. Be strategic about how you spend your days, make rules about time-wasters like Facebook surfing and set achievable daily targets for the work you need to do while you’re there.

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