How to Do A Planning Retreat Under $200

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Last week, The Branding Edit team got on the road for our shortest trip, yet. Shortest because all it took was for us to jump on I-95 North, take the Broadway exit and after a few more turns, arrive at the Airbnb apartment we had booked for the night. Practically down the street from each of our respective homes (if you’re a Rhode Islander, you know everything in Providence is close by).

Our retreat had been on the books since October and though it seemed to creep up on us, we were happy when the day arrived. We were all in need of a breather from our daily routines and obligations and knew that a retreat (although short) would offer precious alone time to focus on our vision and intentions for 2018, and help us fully dive-in to planning mode.

By the time we left the next day, we had accomplished a ton of work in a ridiculously short amount of time (less than 24 hours to be exact). We felt as if a button had been reset. It was then established that local mini-retreats would become part of the work culture here at The Branding Edit.

A few things made our time together successful and efficient and we thought it would be fun and valuable to share those components, including takeaways.

Location

Retreats don’t always have to require a big budget. Nor do they have to require long-distance traveling in order to find inspiration and creativity flow. Inspiration can be found where you are. For us, it was love at first (online) sight when we found the perfectly nested apartment via Airbnb.

Agenda

While waiting for the last of us to arrive, two of us spent 20 minutes mapping out what we wanted to accomplish over the next 24 hours. We broke these things into hours of time, then set our timers.

It looked something like this:

Eat Lunch: 1:30-2:00p (proper fuel was important, we tend to go hours without eating and then lose brain power, no good)

Create Flatlay Content: 2:00-400p (while there was still light)

Complete New Client Proposal: 4:00-7:00p (three brains on one document, we broke it into sections, then re-read and edited accordingly)

Enjoy a Relaxing Dinner: 7:15-8:15p (Olivia cooked a beautiful meal & we indulged in wine with our meal - it was delicious!)

Dessert & Final Proposal Edits: 8:15-9:00p

The Big Vision: 9:00-11:00p (once our eyes were tired we changed into cozy clothes, and moved the party to the living room for a fresh perspective with notebooks and pens in hand and played in the land of possibility)

Rest: 11:30p-7a (we all slept like babies, and woke up invigorated)

Coffee, Showered, Ready for the Day: 7:15-8:30a (the shower was GLORIOUS, and truthfully everything about this Airbnb made our stay feel restorative)

Final Look At Proposal: 8:30-8:45a (then, we sent it off)

Lifestyle Shots: 8:45-10:30a

Pack-up & check-out: 10:30-11a

When each timer went off we re-evaluated and decided if we needed more time on the scheduled task, and adjusted accordingly. To be noted: the three of us tend to talk in circles when we’re typically co-working together -- so many thoughts, ideas, and to-dos to cover. Setting the timer and having a preselected number of tasks kept us focused. Also, knowing we had invested in the space for the night, lit a bit of a fire under us. We wanted to maximize our time together and make the most of it.

Budget

This was the most impressive part of all - the entire retreat cost us less than $200.

Airbnb rental: $100

Food: We brought snacks and ingredients for meals we already had in our refrigerators (the cost of these items was roughly $75)

Wine: We brought the bottles that were also sitting on your shelves at home (the cost of these items was roughly $20)

When planning a retreat (whether it’s a group retreat or you’re doing it solo), it is essential to establish (common) goals and remain focused on making the best of it while staying open and flexible and in the moment.

Although the intention of setting this time as aside is for dreaming up big plans for your business, or your organization, it can be easy to make it 100 percent dedicated to work, but it’s just as important to carve in time for social + fun conversations/games. Productivity is at its best when people feel their needs are taken care of, and inspiration comes from being in different settings and engaging in different conversations & activities.

So, tell us in the comments below, do you have plans to host your own retreat? If so, be sure to share what those plans look like, then tell us how it went & what you learned!