HOW TO MAKE A WORKATION WORK: 10 TIPS
2 years ago, I had a Big, Scary, and New Idea. I said to my team ‘I want to try something new – to work really hard for 5 weeks and then I would like to have one week without any coaching sessions or appointments at all.’ I almost felt guilty saying it – who was I to carve out an entire week just for me? And to do this EVERY 6 WEEKS? What a diva!
But my team knows me well and knows that when my heart speaks, it usually comes out through my mouth. They blocked this 6th week for the whole year in my calendar, and now I can absolutely say that it’s one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. I took 4 solo workations last year, and those days spent alone, walking on the beach, in the rain, the cold, the sun, and the wind, created incredible headspace and heartspace. This means that I always return fully recharged, inspired, and motivated to serve my clients with even more energy and enthusiasm.
Recently, I went away for 5 days with my dear friend Susan for our annual workation. This was the 3rd year we’ve done this, and it’s become such an important part of my creative process, that we are thinking of doing 2 this year instead of just 1.
Workations are now a standard part of my calendar, and the work I get done on these retreats is just phenomenal. Now that I’ve done nearly 10 of them, I’d like to share some tips with you on how to get the most out of your own little slice of sanity that I know you will find in your next workation.
1.Find a place with inspiring nature around you or nearby. Working hard means that you need to get outside and take a break with an inspiring view and a delightful change of scenery. This for me means a house in or near (5-minute walk) a beach, the woods, or the mountains. (Ok, hills. I live in the Netherlands, after all.)
2.Make sure your house has a good table and chair to work at. It’s not easy to write 78 pages of your new book with your laptop on your lap balancing on a pillow because there is not a good table.
3.Feel free to rearrange the furniture in the way that works for you. For me the floor lamps are usually moved as I need too much light in the evening due to poor eyesight.
4.Make a schedule – set priorities/goals for every day (I make a pre-lunch and post- lunch list for every day) and hold yourself accountable. If you go with a friend, share your goals and motivate/remind each other to get that shit done.
5.Bring a big scarf and warm sweater and comfy socks for early morning coffee outside in the mist or late night wines on the porch. Leave your bra and makeup at home.
6.Listen to the sounds of nature and absorb them in your soul. Can you hear a woodpecker? Or a seagull? Do you hear the waves crashing on the shore? What is the wind whispering to you? And the grass – does it need you to walk through it barefoot after you’ve finished writing that challenging chapter?
7.If you go with a friend, have clear and honest boundaries. Know when you’re in the flow, and respect each other’s space. Susan and I can share a table that’s covered in our books, laptops, water carafe, coffee cups, pens, planners, Ipads, reading glasses, and sit across from each other typing madly away for 4 hours at a time in complete silence. We know when to brainstorm, we know when to focus, we know when to ignore each other, or ask for feedback. (Oh, and it goes without saying, when you get up to get a coffee or a snack, always ask your friend if they need anything from the kitchen.)
8.Bring your own pillow (or bathrobe) if that is what you need to feel comfortable. Make sure you stop on time (which is sometimes hard if you are totally in the flow) and then put your laptop away (literally, where you can’t see it) and then cover the table with wine, snacks, puzzles, card games, etc. Make sure you wind down in the evening.
9.Low tech (or no tech) is key to really cutting yourself off from the world and doing the deep work. I use my phone when I need to and keep my social media use to a minimum. If I feel like it, I take pictures during the day that I turn into posts later. Not watching the news is also a huge plus.
10. Schedule your workation in and hold yourself to it. That week (or 2-3 days) is holy and nothing can interrupt or change it, unless there is an absolute emergency. You made a promise to yourself, now you must honor yourself by honoring your promise. And do NOT, for a single second, feel guilty about carving out precious time for yourself. You will thank yourself later. I promise! (And if people don’t understand why you are doing this, that’s ok. You don’t owe them any explanation. If they see you full of energy, joy, and motivation, and totally crushing it at your business, they might connect the dots. They might not. Not your problem.)
I hope this inspires you to create your own workation! Let me know if you do!