Get Away On A Personal Retreat

This past week I took a couple of mornings away from family and work to do a Quarterly Offsite. It was a great time of goal setting, prioritizing my life and resting. I was able to refocus on what is most important and add margin back into my life.


Time, Information and Relationships

Typically I have taken a trip out of town each Spring to do a Personal Retreat. Normally I would focus on my vision, and then prioritize, according to my vision, the three areas of my life that tend to creep and consume:

1) Time – Sometimes this would come first because I typically have multiple ideas heading into the retreat about how I’d like to reorder my time. Many times it would come at the end after I have figured out the next two areas.

2) Information – I don’t know about you, but I am constantly bombarded with great information. Much of it is even free! It comes in the form of blog posts, podcasts and free ebooks. Other information comes in books (I have too many!), audio books, magazines, online communities, etc. I have found that if I don’t decide what I want to consume, I will get paralyzed and not read anything or try to read everything that comes my way and not be very effective. At this retreat I made some decision about the next quarter, leaving a little room (margin) for a book, podcast or blog post that might come up randomly that I “have to” read or listen to.

3) Relationships – This is going to be hard for some of you to swallow. It is hard for me to believe. We have to make tradeoffs when it comes to people, organizations and needs in the world. Again, if you try and help or spend time with everyone, you will either become paralyzed (curling up in a ball away from everyone) or you will attempt to do it all, and not be of any use (personally, professionally or socially) to anyone. At a Personal Retreat, it is a great time to decide who stays, who goes and who gets added to your list. Yes, you need to have a list.



Not too long ago, Michael Hyatt did a podcast with Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Since, then I have gone on to read the book and it has deeply impacted me. In the interview, one of the next steps McKeown suggested was a Quarterly Offsite. This led me to change my annual retreat to a quarterly event, focused primarily on the next 90 days. Thanks for the tip Greg!

The Essentialism Team is even hosting Quarterly Offsites for Essentialists. Find out more about this awesome opportunity here. I hope to do this in a few years.



It just so happens, a couple of weeks back, Michael Hyatt did a podcast on goal setting, titled Goal Setting for BeginnersI ended up listening to it on the front end of my Quarterly Offsite and took his advice in the following ways.

1) Make 7-10 Goals – I made goals across multiple areas of my life and work. To be clear this is not 7-10 goals in each area of life. It is 1-3 typically. For me it was usually just one.

2) Write Your Goals Down – I usually don’t make these many goals and I never physically write them down. I typically just put everything in Evernote. However Hyatt suggested there may be benefit to writing them down, so I did. I also added next steps. No these are not goals. If they don’t happen, that is okay. They are just starting points for me the next time I go to work on my goals.

3) Review Your Goals – The main reason I wrote down the goals was so I could review them regularly. I wrote them on little cards I will review weekly. Also, I plan to review specific cards when I am working on that area. For example, as I am writing this post, I will make sure to look at my Blogging Goal(s) and next steps.


Well, this post is longer than I typically write, so I will stop here. I have left out some important things like spiritual renewal, how much I rested, exercise on the retreat, the areas of life I set goals in, how to set aside time for a personal retreat, how to make it possible for both spouses, etc. If you want more, let me know and I’ll make a follow up post. 

How could you benefit from a Quarterly Offsite? What new idea did you take away from this post? Do you have any suggestions? I’d love to learn from you. Please share in the comments section or on social media. 

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