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Do you have a project that you’ve been wanting to complete, but you keep struggling to get it done? Maybe you’ve been putting something off that you’ve wanted to work on in your life, and you keep saying to yourself, “If I just had the time, I could figure this out…” If that sounds like a familiar story, you need to consider having a work retreat.

How to know whether you need to get away to do your best work.

I did my own work retreat in April, and it was such a successful venture that I’m ready to make it a quarterly thing. We underestimate the power of time alone in a new environment to get your creativity and inspiration flowing, but embracing the work retreat has transformed how I work, and if you do the same, I guarantee your productivity, your ideas, and your whole life will be changed.

Tune in this week to discover why some time alone in an unfamiliar environment is just what you need to kickstart your productivity. I’m sharing my own experience of having a work retreat and giving you some ideas on how to prepare your brain, environment, and schedule to have an experience that truly gets you moving.

Have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Click here to get your copy and learn how to think and show up in treas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.

What You Will Discover:

  • What a solo work retreat actually looks like.
  • Why I think a work retreat is such an amazing tool when you’re producing something new.
  • How to know whether you need to get away to do your best work.
  • The common mistakes people make when organizing a solo work retreat that stops them from producing at the level they’re capable of.
  • How to create your own work retreat, so you can produce at your highest level.

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Episode Transcript:

Do you have a project that you’ve been wanting to complete, but you keep struggling to get it done? Or maybe, there’s been something you’ve been wanting to work on in your life, and you keep saying to yourself, “If I just had the time, I could figure this out?” If that sounds like you, maybe you need to consider having a work retreat.

I’m sharing about my recent work retreat and how you can create one for yourself, so let’s dive into today’s episode.

Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.

Hello, my beautiful friends. I have just wrapped up two weeks of non-stop company. My mom and dad and my niece came into town. They left, and the next day, Fonz’s daughter and son-in-law and two kids came into town. We had a one-year-old in the house. I think I mentioned this last week in the podcast.

And they just walked out the door, and Fonz’s daughter went back with them. So, we’re sitting here looking at each other like, “Oh my goodness, it’s just the two of us.” We have some fun things planned.

I don’t know about you all, but I love having family and friends around. And I also love my alone time. So, right now, my heart is so full from the quality time I’ve been able to spend with everyone, and I’m also so happy to have some alone time, just me in my place. Fonz, he does his own thing, so he’s not around that much. So, I’m just so happy that I finally have some time for me.

Earlier today, I met with my business manager, and we were looking at my calendar. And I told her that I want to schedule quarterly work retreats. I did one back in April with just myself and it was such a huge success that I now want to make it a part of my year plan; a work retreat just for me, by myself.

Now, you can do work retreats with other people. And we have our team meetings. Once a year, I have an annual team meeting where my whole team flies in. And then, we have virtual quarterly meetings. But this is a retreat that I host for myself. And I want to share why I do it, and how I do it, and how you can think about doing it for yourself.

The way I want us to think about a work retreat is, it’s a retreat that has a purpose of us producing something during that time. This is very different than a retreat that might have the purpose of you just relaxing for three or four days. Now, I’m all about those retreats too, but this is specifically for those of you who want to create something and you’re having a hard time

Now, when it comes to what you create, that is all up to you. Some of you all may want to get away and just spend three days getting very clear on your vision, maybe for your life or for your business. Some of you may want to work on a book.

For me, I was working on completing the curriculum and all of the content for the Business Image Mastermind event that I hosted back in May. I knew I needed to get away, get out of my house, get out of the familiar surroundings, and put myself somewhere to just get it done.

So, let me share with you how you can create your own work retreat. The very first thing that you must do is you must know what you want to accomplish. Do not schedule a work retreat without doing this first. Because I’ve done this before. I’ve gone away with the intention of, “I’m going to work on my business.” And I get there, and I spend the first day or two trying to figure out, “What exactly am I working on?”

And so, I never felt like I was accomplishing at the level that I knew I was capable of. And it was because I was lacking that clarity. I had not given that clarity to myself.

And so, before you even schedule your work retreat, you first of all need to know what you want to accomplish. Now, as I said, a work retreat is about producing something. What do you want to produce over the period of two to three days? Do you want to create the outline for your book? Do you want to write the first three chapters?

I’ve watched the Bill Gates documentary and he has, I guess you could call them work retreats, but once a year, he goes up into a cabin in the woods and he has a stack of books that he wants to read.

Now, one could argue that he’s not producing anything, but you have to understand Bill Gates. He’s always producing in his work. And I feel like, for him, those work retreats are about producing inspiration, producing more knowledge, more wisdom that he can then go back out into the world and create from.

And so, for him, his production is, “I want to read 10 books over the course of this week at my work retreat.” So, for me, I was very clear. I already had a general outline of what I wanted to cover. So, for me, what I wanted to produce was the workbook, as well as all of the slides for the retreat.

I knew, at the end of my work retreat, that was going to be the deliverable that said that my work retreat was a success.

So, think about for you, what would you want to create over the course of – and maybe you just go away for the day. You have a day work retreat. What is the result that you want to create or to accomplish? Okay.

The second thing to think about is your environment. For me, this is the purpose of getting away for a work retreat. When we are in the same familiar environments, we often think the same familiar thoughts and it’s really difficult to be creative, to think beyond our current environment.

And so, when I was thinking about my work retreat, I was like, “Where can I put myself?” I knew I didn’t want to travel outside of Denver. I’ve been travelling quite a bit. I knew I wanted to stay in my hometown. But I wanted a new elevated environment.

And so, I started to look around at the hotels, like what had the right lighting? What part of town was it in? What is the energy of that part of town? And so, I found a gorgeous hotel. I rented the penthouse for three days. And then, I had to set my environment up for success.

So, what does that look like? Well, for me, I asked myself, “What do I need in order to accomplish this goal of what I want to create this weekend?” So, I grabbed two of my journals that are full of notes that I’ve been writing down over the last year in preparing for this mastermind.

I also grabbed the three books that have had such an impact on my own business image and inspired many of the things that I taught at the mastermind. I grabbed my little portable speaker, because I have to have music, Music is a very important part of my environment. It inspires me. It helps me to be more creative.

And I grabbed my whiteboard, and I also grabbed my computer and my chargers. So, I had everything ready to take with me, to help create this environment. But then, you also have to think, what do you need when you’re there?

And so, I planned ahead of time, and I had all of my meals planned out. I had them scheduled for delivery so that I didn’t have to leave to go out to dinner or out to lunch. I wanted to make this as easy as possible. I had waters in the room. I love Perrier and Pellegrino. I enjoy sparkling water. I had my coffee.

Everything was set up in that hotel room to allow me not to have to make extra decisions. Because when you’re wanting to create something, you need to have the mental space for that project that you’re working on.

So, if you’re having to use your mental space to make all of these unnecessary decisions that, if you would have planned ahead, you wouldn’t have to make. It just frees you up to focus on why you are there.

And as far as what I wore, I just took a carryon, one little suitcase. I had some very casual, comfortable clothes to wear during my workday and I brought some workout clothes, which leads me to the third thing that you need to think about when you are planning your work retreat.

You need to build self-care and downtime and pleasure into this retreat. Because if you are wearing yourself down and you’re working and you’re producing, you need to make sure you are filling up your own energetic well.

And so, for me, I went for a walk every single morning. I went and did weights for like 30 minutes every single day. Now, keep in mind, this was just a three-day work retreat, so I’m talking about three days. And I also scheduled a massage during this time.

So, ask yourself, what do you personally need in order to create the energy that is going to be required to produce what you want to produce over the course of your work retreat. And that’s going to be different for everybody. But we do need to make sure we’re eating well and we’re moving. Those two things are a given. You must be doing those two things in order to create the energy to create the results that you want to create.

So, the way this looked for me is I arrived in the evening, and I did not do anything that first night. I just laid in the bed, which was so amazing. And I watched – I can’t even remember what show I watched. Something on Netflix. It was just very relaxing.

When I woke up the next morning, I had my coffee and I got to work. And I knew the result that I wanted to have on day one. So, that was my focus. And I took breaks. I love leisurely hustling. And for me, that looks like 30 minutes to an hour of head-down focused work and then getting up and having 15 to 30 minutes of stretching, walking, getting out of the room, just to keep my body moving.

When we’re in movement, energy is moving. That’s the way I like to think about it. So, I’m always trying to compensate sitting down for so long with movement built into that.

And so, I would do 30 minutes to an hour of work time, get up, move a little bit, come back and work. And so, basically, I worked from nine o’clock in the morning until five o’clock in the evening with about an hour and a half lunch break in between.

So, very focused work. And then, the evenings, I had free. And I personally didn’t want to go out to dinner. You can, but we go out to dinner so often, I was just enjoying this time by myself. And so, I had dinner delivered. And then, I would just relax in the evenings, and I would watch a show and I would get in bed by 10 o’clock and then I repeated that over the course of the next two days.

I did not drink at all during this work retreat. I wanted to be on my A-game. I wanted all of my synapses to be firing in my brain. So, there was no wine. Just coffee in the morning and lots and lots of water, and really nourishing my body really well over the course of these three days.

Now, let me share with you what I struggled with. And this happened on the first day, the first morning of my work retreat. So, from about nine until 12, even though I knew very clearly what I wanted to accomplish, I noticed that my brain wanted to be confused. And I also noticed that my brain wanted to indulge in FOMO.

So, this work retreat was happening over a weekend. And it happened to be one of the most gorgeous weekends in Denver in April. It was warming up, and from my window, I could see people out and about walking, enjoying the weekend. And I was choosing to work.

And so, I did – I don’t want to say I wasted time, because I don’t like thinking that way. But I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be that very first morning. And I just noticed how my brain wanted to indulge in drama. Like, “You should be outside. Why did you choose to do this? You don’t know what to do. This is going to be too hard,” like all of this stuff.

And so, I really spent the first morning of my work retreat working on my brain. I pulled out my journal and I wrote down all of the crazy thoughts that were causing me to feel anxious and frustrated.

I cleaned those thoughts up, and then the second half of that first day is when I really got to work. And before I did that, through this working on my brain process, I thought about how I wanted to feel as I was creating this content.

I thought about how I wanted my clients to feel. What was the result that I wanted them to walk away with after this weekend at the Business Image Mastermind? And then, I was like, “What do I need to think? Where do I need to focus to create that energy?”

And once I did that work – so, I cleaned up all of the crazy thoughts that told me I was missing out and that it was too hard. And then, I started to create the thoughts that started to give me the energy. Once I did that, I was off to the races.

That second part of that first day, I got so much accomplished. And then, day two, I got so much accomplished. Then, by day three, I had given myself that extra third day. I didn’t even need the second half of that third day because of doing the work on my brain.

And so, when you are thinking about doing your own work retreat, do not dismiss the power of working on your brain before you get to work. Because it’s going to show up anyway. You’re going to have all kinds of crazy thoughts and all kinds of crazy feelings.

And what we often do is try to work our way through that. But then, we’re meeting so much resistance and we’re not getting it done in a way that feels good. You may not even be getting it done, period, because your brain is offering you so much resistance.

So, a big part of my work retreat was working on my brain. And as I said, once I did that, then things started to flow. And so, make sure, when you’re thinking about doing your work retreat, that you build that into your time.

Now that I’ve done this work retreat, I’m going to always make this a priority. Day one, first morning, work on my brain first before I get to work. Because then, everything else comes from that because we create from our brain.

So, if we’re not working on that first, we might not be creating at the level we can create, or we might not be creating things that feel good to us.

The other thing that I will do different next time is I will schedule my work retreat during the week. I think doing it on the weekend just made me realize how much I value my downtime. And for the most part, I never work on weekends. I typically work a three-to-four-day week.

And so, doing it on the weekend, when I knew my family is out and about, they’re having fun, they’re at the park, it just was not ideal for me.

Now, for some people, you may find that the weekend is when you want to do it, it’s when you have free time, then by all means, choose the time that works for you. I’m just sharing with you what my experience was. And so, for me, I will definitely plan my work retreat during the week, most likely on a Monday and Tuesday.

In fact, as I said earlier, I’m looking at my schedule right now and I want to build in these quarterly work retreats. And based on the three-day one that I did, I want to schedule two-day work retreats, just with me, every single quarter, where I know exactly what I want to accomplish, I create the environment that makes it easy to accomplish those things, I will build pleasure and self-care into the retreat, and knowing what I know now, I will also build in time every single morning of the retreat to work on my brain first.

Because when we work on our brains, everything becomes so much easier. It becomes almost effortless when you have put in the work up front to work on all of the resistance that you have in your brain.

So, if you are wanting to create something, maybe you’ve been thinking for a while, “If I just had a couple of days, I could figure this out. If I just had a little bit of time, then I could get this done,” then create and schedule a work retreat for yourself. And it might be that you don’t leave your house. You may stay exactly where you are, but I still want you to think about, you must know what you want to accomplish, and then you must set up your environment, whether you’re at home or you go to a hotel or you go to a cottage in the woods.

Think about, how can you set up your environment to help you and support you in creating the result that you want? And make sure, during this retreat, that you’re building self-care and pleasure into it, to give you energy. And then finally, don’t forget to schedule time to work on that gorgeous brain of yours, so that you can be your most effective.

Have a great week, everybody and I cannot wait to see you in next week’s episode. Cheers.

Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.


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