I recently returned from a quick 'holiday' in beautiful Phuket, Thailand. During my six days in Kamala beach, I discovered a few things about myself and my business that might be handy for those working on their own corporate escape. Here are my top three takeaways.
The reason I put 'holidays' in parenthesis is that it's not really a holiday, it's a boliday. A business holiday. I go by myself to work on my business plan for the next year. I see some sights, swim, drink too many beers, but overall I am 'working' about 5-6 hours a day. It's a bit lonely at times, you get a few funny looks having your laptop at breakfast, but that's the point - to get away where there are no distractions and let your brain work out what's next on the journey. I have had a few of these and have a few tips for people wanting to try one. Hope they help.
Tip 1 - Actually Get Away
The first problem to overcome is actually getting away in the first place. I'm sure it sounds nice, but how does a small business operator even get away in the first place? Between partners, kids activities, business commitments and of course the cost I know many small business owners who would never consider taking a holiday by themselves - ever. I tend to work a lot and don't take many breaks so I have to have a system in place for me to take regular bolidays.
The system for me is to be in a travel club where I pay a small amount each month which gives me points towards a holiday. It's a package deal so you have to go somewhere nice and actually be on a holiday. The points expire so I use it or loose it! Great motivation to book a trip. By the time you get to the boliday, it's mostly paid for so the money excuse is gone too. This trip, I used my frequent flyer points for flights and the package part cost me $250 for 6 days.
So tip 1 is set up a system to ensure that once a year you take a boliday alone to work on your business.
Tip 2 - Set Intentions
Before I left for Thailand I already knew what I wanted to get done. My first book 'Creating a Powerful Brand' (written in Bali a few years ago on my first boliday) has been out a few years and I have a bunch more material I want to share. So time for book number two. The problem was I was so busy with work and kids, that I wasn't clear on what it should be about. I needed some space to reflect before I committed a year of work on that project.
Day one of being in Thailand, I sat by the pool with my notebook and wrote my intentions. I had to finish a few work and University items before I could focus, I wanted to read Daniel's Priestley's book 24 Assets to stimulate my thinking, prepare for two courses I was running and get my book plan done. I also checked in with my team and ensured the business was all okie dokie.
This might now sound like a holiday, it isn't. It's a boliday. The benefit is that after work instead of the long commute home to cook dinner, do the washing and do emails in front of the TV. I would walk down this beach (see drool photo above) and have a $10 pad thai on the beach with sand in my toes and a few beers. Not so bad after all.
The tip is to be clear about what you want at the end and write it down, review regularly and take the actions.
Tip 3 - Your Brain Will do the Work
Day one of a boliday I am always a bit anxious. I try to get clarity, I force myself to relax and will my ideas to come. Doesn't work.
This trip, I just did the work I had to get done first. This helped my brain relax as I knew once it was completed I could genuinely relax. I put myself into a relaxing environment by the pool, had a few drinks if I felt like it, read some of my book, did some exercise and cruised. It's amazing how many hours there are in the day once you take all other distractions away.
After a few days of 5-6 hours work on my stuff, I started to unwind and let my brain think about the future. It's funny how when you set an intention, your brain just starts working on it all the time without you even knowing. Then you're at Phi Phi island enjoying the sun, taking selfies and you get a moment of clarity about your book - awesome!
The tip here is, you can't make it happen, you have to set the focus and let it happen.
Boliday's are not for everyone, but for those considering starting your own business, I highly recommend it to get some clarity. If you have any other tips on your annual routines to plan your year, love to hear them!
P.S. My next book & podcast is all about Being Your Own Boss #BYOB coming soon!
Like this blog? Check out some others I think you would like on my website. Here is one on my Vietnam trip.