This past week I completed my second “workation” of 2020.
This idea was born from a blog a business friend shared with me back in December around a freelancer taking every eighth week off from his client work to pursue his own creative interests. For him, it was playing music, doing art etc. He talked about still going into his studio, but setting an out of office reply on his emails and not working on any client deliverables during his week off.
A light bulb immediately went off in my head and a sigh of relief spread across my chest. As entrepreneurs, and especially if you have kids, business can feel like you are cramming it into the in between spaces in your day. Even though I’ve been working “full time” on my business for more than 4 years, it still feels like I am always trying to steal time from other areas of my life to move my business forward; messaging clients from the school pick-up line, getting up early Sunday to write while everyone else gets their weekend “screen time” (ahem…like this blog), or trying to create new offers in between client calls.
I already try to structure my week so I have at least one day free of client calls, but either those days get steamrolled by other people’s needs or even if I do have one day to focus on my business…its sometimes not enough to go all the way from idea to brainstorm to completion in one day. What if I had a whole WEEK!?!? This idea was so intriguing to me I immediately made it a goal for 2020, I didn’t think I could do a week every 8 weeks, but maybe once a quarter? I got out my calendar and looked all the way ahead to March and put a big red line through the week of the 16th, that was the first week that didn’t already have something scheduled…but my first workation was on the books!
I didn’t want to wait until March so I thought, “what if I could do 2-3 days once a month?” I scheduled those in for January and February and I can tell you, they have been life changing. I’ve been singing the praises of the workation to clients, friends and anyone who will listen.
So, I wanted to share with you more about how I planned my workations, how I made them work and what I accomplished, so you can plan one too!
Here is how to plan your own workation:
- Plan FAR in advance. Most of our schedules are pretty set for at least the next month…if not longer. And trying to carve out a day, much less a whole week can feel impossible. I planned my first workation – Just 2 days, a Thursday and Friday – 7 weeks before! That way I had plenty of time to adjust my schedule to allow two full days off. It also gave me lots of time to think about it, which made me more excited for it, which made it easier to hold my boundaries on not scheduling over it.
- Decide what you want your workations to involve – I’ve now done two different kinds of workcations. The first was 2 full days all by myself in my office. I had absolutely nothing scheduled and didn’t have to do anything except work on my business. This allowed me to get more done. I’m calling these my “tackle it” days.
On my “tackle it” days, I gave myself space to start slowly, not feeling like I had to cram in a to-do before a call or in between a client session. I got to my office, made coffee, watered my plants and even chatted with my best friend for a while. I spent time thinking and writing out pages of notes of some of my ideas. I also took a break and met my husband for lunch. By the end of the day I had completely re-outlined my company’s entire org chart, wrote job descriptions and new roles and responsibilities. The second full day I was able to craft a new small offer, write the sales page and all the other things I needed written and assigned other tasks out to my team. Both of these days were possible because I had so much time and brainspace.
The second type of workation I just got back from, I’m calling these my “vision it” days. This time, I actually hopped on a plane and flew to Palm Springs to meet with a good business friend. We spent 48 hours talking business and masterminding, we joked that we were literally still talking business ideas as she dropped me curbside at the airport. We did block out time each day to actually work, but I found it harder for me to “drop in” and get things done, my mind was racing on all the ideas and questions we were discussing. We did make sure we had time to go out to some nice meals, went and got pedicures after a long day of working and went to bed early each night (for two Mama CEOs, sleeping in our own dark, quiet room was heaven itself!)
- Allow for flow. While my definition of a workation is working your normal business hours, I’ve been lucky enough to also be able to make plans for my kids in the afternoon on my workcation days. That meant I didn’t have a hard stop time at 2:30 like I would normally have. This felt so much more spacious to me, I was really able to lose track of time and “find flow.”
- Be ruthless with protecting that time. It is SO easy to think, ‘I could just schedule one quick client call’ or ‘that would be the perfect time for team call.’ But DO.NOT.DO.IT. Set the schedule far in advance and stick to it at all costs. Block out the day on your calendar with a red line or schedule an all day appointment with yourself. If you look at a blank calendar, you are more likely to fill it in. I also opened up some extra time in my calendar in the days leading up to my first workation so I could fit in all my client work before.
- Have a plan, but be flexible. Once I had my workations scheduled, I started a note section on my phone for whenever I had an idea I wanted to work on that day. Once the day got closer I narrowed down the list to my top priority for the day, plus some bonus projects if I moved faster than I thought (I didn’t 🙂
- Include spacious time. Whether your workation is 4 hours or 4 days, it should feel luxurious. For me that was coffee shop coffee, taking myself out for lunch or treating myself to a pedicure.
And be realistic with what you can accomplish.
One of the most important things about a workcation is feeling reconnected to and enjoy your business again. You want to end the day feeling inspired, accomplished and happy, not rushed, burned out and like you didn’t get enough done. Set one big goal per day and give yourself lots of big space to work arought that goal.
My workations have already become an integral part of my workflow. I already know what I’ll be working on for my March workation and the April days are set. With these workations on the books, I know I have dedicated time to move my business forward all 2020. I know I have time to work ON my business not just in it. And I know this time is going to have a big impact on my bottom line, my impact and most of all my business enjoyment.
What about you? Does a workation sound like something you would find helpful? Email me and tell me when you have your workation scheduled and I help cheer you on, and hold you accountable.