After nearly four months of Questing with Jeffrey Davis and our amazing group, it’s hard to believe that it’s winding down. But it’s important to remember, that even if the weekly prompts end, our individual Quests continue. Which makes this week’s topic, retreat, particularly timely. Especially since it has been much on my mind as this phase of the Quest winds to a close.

We as a people are working ourselves to death, but where are we going? A real retreat is not a time to pamper yourself at a spa. That’s something else called self-care. A real retreat is an artful, intentional action of stepping out of your daily life’s river and into a space to contemplate, create, and envision.

#LiveTheQuest question 11:
How will you retreat regularly this year to advance your project? #retreat
Consider your commitment to retreat and to put the “artistry” in your business artistry this year. How regularly will you retreat? For how long each time? Can you commit to a monthly rhythm and a quarterly rhythm? What kinds of simple arrangements can you prepare to assure it happens? What’s your secret fear of actually doing this, and how can you shift that fear into more curiosity?

I’ve done this sort of retreat before so am well aware of the great value to be found in focused, uninterrupted time. And as I alluded to above, I’ve already been working on a retreat plan for this year, partly to keep my Quest on track after this phase ends, and partly in response to an upcoming change in my work schedule which promises to improve my financial freedom, but unfortunately limit my freedom with regards to time. I know that to make sure my personal projects don’t slip by the wayside, I will need to schedule and protect that time fiercely. To that end, this is what I’ve come up with.

  • Weekly: One two-hour micro-retreat
  • Monthly: One half-day mini-retreat
  • Quarterly: One full-day retreat
  • Annually: One two-day retreat

For now I’m planning to keep the actual content of each retreat fluid, but the weekly retreats are likely to focus on reviewing project status and scheduling for the following week, the monthly on bigger-picture brainstorming and prioritization, the quarterly on experimental play and road-mapping for the next quarter, and the annual to really take a step back, review the year, and dream the year to come.

Currently the only threats I have to my retreat schedule are internal, but for me, there is something sacred about retreat time that makes it easier to protect than, say, the daily hour I always hope to spend writing or sewing. That single daily hour is too amorphous–in focus, schedule, and goal. Then again, with the addition of the weekly retreat, even that may change for the better. That’s the thing about having limited free time, if you don’t make intentional plans to use that time wisely and stick to them, you are likely to fritter it away–and your dreams with it.

For more thoughts about the benefits of an in-house retreat, check out Jeffrey’s article in Psycology Today.