Starting 9 years ago I have taken the last week of August off to head up to Whistler and do three things: plan for the year coming up, read some of the books that have been stacking up on my nightstand, and decompress. BBQing, motorcycle riding, watching all the movies Sabrina (my fiancé) isn’t interested in, and drinking lots of red wine are also on the program each year.
What Do I Do With My Time?
Wake up, eat, read or plan until I’m hungry, eat, go to the gym or take my dog for a walk or read/plan or ride my motorcycle, BBQ something to go with red wine (notice the order), watch movie, read until I fall asleep. Wake up and repeat.
1) Personal Development/Spiritual – Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
2) Fiction – World Without End by Ken Follett
3) Business – Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham
1) ViRTUS Focus Plan – a 2 sided 8 ½ x 11 template which blends my goals in three areas: managing self, focusing on career/business, developing relationships, and sharing resources
2) Rockefeller One Page Strategic Plan – this 11 x 17 one page plan is how I keep track of the quarterly, annual, 3-5 years, and 10-30 year goals for ViRTUS
3) Lifetick.com – I discovered this tool last year. It’s an online values-based goal planning software that has an iPhone page as well. I’ve learned through personal experience and study that goals planned in absence of an understanding of a connection to values can lead me to achieving everything I plan and still not having the life I want.
What About Business Priorities That Come Up?
Every year I’ve had some pressing business issue that caused me to consider cancelling the trip. Each year I go anyway and manage to sort out the business issue while away taking far less time and energy than I expected it would. I have never regretted going but I’m sure I’d regret not going.
Why the Last Week of August?
If you’re wondering why I choose the last week of August the answer is simple. Whenever we do emails to a large number of people for marketing purposes we get the largest number of out of office replies during that week. On top of that it’s the week right before the new business year starts in September for everyone and it’s heck of a lot easier to do this uninterrupted than it is at the end of December!
Many of my friends have started doing a similar retreat on an annual basis and others have asked about the details so I thought it would be a good idea to share this. Do you do something similar? If so, let me know by leaving a comment so others can share from your experience.