I work with a pretty awesome bunch of people in my “boss lady” role at CCS-Crystal Clear Solutions. One of the things we do is have a semi-regular retreat day (we try for monthly but make sure we do this at least once every 3 months) for our team to hit the reset button and make sure we’re all on track with where we want to go. Some of it has to do with work and professional development, some is about our personal lives and goals, and some of the activities and discussions are around our creative goals, plans and dreams. It’s basically a full day staff meeting that is not just about work (and that the team actually loves to participate in).
I’ve had a lot of people asking about what we do on these retreat days lately (and why we do them), so I thought I’d give you the inside scoop in case you’re one of those people who’s curious.
What is a retreat day?
Really, a retreat day is all about taking a day to do some reflection, some planning, and take some steps towards shaping your schedule, your plans and your life so that it lines up with where you want to be headed. There is no special location required. It doesn’t have to cost a penny. The only requirement is for you to make the time in your schedule, and the space and quiet to do it. We don’t know your life… some people might have to pay for babysitters etc. but it’s worth it. Really.
When is the right time for a retreat day?
As soon as you can schedule it. Seriously. The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll be on the right path and headed in the right direction. You DO want to make sure you have enough breathing room in your schedule that you can take the block of time without interruption and not spend the whole time thinking about things you’re not doing. But speaking from experience here, don’t put it off, and don’t wait for the time in your calendar to clear. Because the only way the time will be available is if you schedule it in there.
Does it have to be a whole day?
No, it doesn’t have to be a whole day, but the more time in one day you can allocate the more you will likely enjoy the experience, and the more you will get out of it. We usually run our retreats from 9am-2pm and we have lunch together in that time as well.
I always find that once the discussion and thinking and deciding on things stage is over, I need a few hours to actually go back to my calendar and make the necessary adjustments, and add all the steps/tasks/plans into my project management software. I also need some time to let my brain adjust to how things are going to be from now on. Jumping right back into the fray often means the ideas don’t set and you’ve lost the nice clear picture of what things are going to look like going forward into your new and improved reality.
You’re a resourceful individual, and this is your life we’re talking about. You’re in charge. Find a way, and make it happen. Commit to 9am-5pm. Just one “work” day. You’re worth the investment.
What do you do on a retreat day?
Each retreat day is a little bit different, but they do usually include the following:
- We do a check in of where everyone is at, personally and professionally.
- We talk about what has changed since our last retreat day, what things in our goals we made progress on, what we didn’t make progress on.
- We set out lists of our open circles (those nagging things that aren’t done, that kind of stop you from thinking about moving on to those bigger projects you really do want to get done).
- We do a little planning of where we’d like to be in 3, 6, 9, 12 months and then break down the next 3 months into some specific action items that will get us closer to that reality.
- We talk about what our schedules have been like (for work and play) and whether or not that needs adjusting going forward (the answer to this is almost always yes) and then we decide what we want those schedules to look like.
- We set some creative goals for ourselves, and do some planning of things in our personal lives that we’d like to move forward.
- We eat some good food.
- We laugh a fair bit.
- We write in our journals (everyone has a book they use each time we do these so it’s easy to see where you were at last time).
- We usually teach each other about some small change in work process or planning process that can help us move our projects forward (systems for task tracking, time management tips, great resources/website we’ve found, a new way of scheduling our days – whatever we think might be helpful).
What if I don’t have time for a retreat day?
Then it’s exactly the right time to do it anyways. You won’t find the time, you’ll have to make the time. But it will be worth it. We promise.
Does anything actually change after you do a retreat day?
YES! Every time. Sometimes little things, sometimes BIG things. But always there are changes for everyone.
Why do you do these retreat days over and over? Why not just once a year?
Once a year is a good start, but we’ve found it’s too easy to slide back into old patterns, or let the busy take over, or just get sidetracked and forget what we set as our priorities. It’s also necessary to shift patterns and habits to match the seasons a bit, and to adapt to the new opportunities and challenges that are always materializing in our lives. Every time we move things forward, we need to drag those goal posts a little further – but first don’t forget to celebrate those successes too!
Can you do a retreat day by yourself?
Sure you can. It’s your day and your life. Who better to make plans with than yourself? However, if you’d like to do this with a group but don’t have your own group all handy and accessible, just sign up for our newsletter (The Wellthy Living Weekender) below. We’re going to plan an online retreat in the near future, and we’ll let you know when it’s ready for people to participate.
We like to be in a group as we find having witnesses to the process makes it a little more real somehow, and the energy in a group is different. Often we get good ideas from each other, and because we work together as well as spend time together socially, it’s nice to have those other people in our lives on board with the changes we’re wanting to make so they can help support us along the way. It’s often the case that when we make those future plans, we have figured out ways we can help each other to achieve those goals.