Many organizations have retreats, but how many professionals do you know that take the time to go offsite and do some thinking and strategic planning about their career and personal life? I’m talking about real goal-setting, not the cheap resolutions forgotten before the end of January.
The process separating from work and focusing on the future is commonly called a retreat, though I like to refer to it as an advance – after all, you want to go forward. Your thinking, concentration ability, and focus will be enhanced when you can get away to an environment that is conducive to creative thinking and strategic planning.
As I wrote last week in my article tilted “Where is your Walden”, it’s important to find a place where there are no ringing phones, pending projects, or other distractions. To maximize your productivity, clear your schedule and silence your phone (or turn it off).
Setting aside all distractions, Bill Gates spends his “think week” concentrated on deep, uninterrupted planning. He says:
“Ours is a very fast-moving field. You have to be able to step back from it. Many years ago, I decided to take a week every year and absorb myself in thinking many years ahead. I get colleagues to put together what Ph.D. theses I should read, what products I should play with, what memos I should look at. So, it’s been, except for sleeping a little bit, day and night all by myself uninterrupted.”
Bill Gates does a week-long “advance” every year. If that’s not possible for you, I think most of us could find at least one day each year to spend in proactive thinking and planning.
I did my first professional advance on a beautiful remote beach in the panhandle of Florida early in my speaking career. That one-day resulted in more career growth and action than any other single thing I have done in my business. Since then, I’ve done one or two-day advance most every year. Hotels, State Parks, vacation rentals—the location doesn’t matter as long as it is a place where you can focus.
Schedule your “advance’ for 2023 now and next week I will give you some questions to ponder and tools to help you have a successful, impactful day.