The Business Owner's Retreat
Maybe you own a business with many employees. Perhaps you manage a dozen people. Or you might just run a micro-firm from an extra bedroom in your home. No matter where you work or what you do, sometimes you need a change of place (yes, place).
For instance, when it’s time to create a new seminar, write a series of articles, or reconstruct my asset allocation spreadsheet, I’ll often go to a hotel. Why there? First, fewer distractions. I can add any of these projects to my daily agenda, but if I’m in the office, it’s easier for me to get interrupted. Next, I choose a hotel for its stimulating environment. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of technology, resources, and toys both at home and at the office. That’s not the type of stimulation I’m thinking of. Rather, I’m looking for the kind inherently found in any new environment.
You can carve out a rut in any place you work for a long time. Ruts aren’t always bad. You may see them as the routines that keep you organized and stable; but the ruts do keep you from exploring a different path. When your mind tries to lead you to a new idea, the rut rolls you back down and into your former groove. So, to get the innovative juices flowing, I get out of the office…and so should you.
For me, I do this periodically; anywhere from once a month to once a quarter. I’ll lock myself in a hotel room somewhere and work on whatever project I need to attend to. With this change of scenery, it is amazing just how much I can accomplish. Ideas seem to bubble up spontaneously.
When it comes time to eat, I leave everything in the room except a pen and pad of paper. During the meal I try not to think about my current project. Instead, I ponder the food, my surroundings, and the people around me. More times than not, as I try to figure out what mix of spices is creating the aroma wafting from my food, a key turns and unlocks the barriers that I couldn’t find a way through earlier that day.
Can’t find a day or two to get out of the office or out of town? No problem. I know of people who find their creative environment at Atlanta Bread every morning. Others sit in a park while feeding the squirrels. And while not conducive to typing on a laptop, a walk around Sikes Lake can be inspiring. Just make sure to keep that pad and paper in your back pocket so you can detail the ideas sparked by the walk.
What works for me likely won’t for you. What gives you clarity of mind might clutter up mine. The exact location, length of time, and periodicity are not of primary importance. The key is breaking up your routine; you are getting away from the office grind, setting most of your daily work aside, and concentrating your focus on something that requires additional creativity.
This alternate place isn’t for you to do your normal job. It’s for you to start or complete a project, debrief yourself from a busy week, or examine a problem in a different light. So, whether you take a month-long sabbatical or just sit in a booth at Pioneer with a cup of coffee one morning a week, take time to refresh your mind.
This article was published under the title "Business owners of all sizes, why not try a change of place?"
in the Wichita Falls Times Record News Biz to Biz May 2011.
Return to Home Contact Us Sign up for our e-Newsletter