There is something juicy and life affirming about having a startup, a creative calling, or a passion project that you work on regularly. That is, of course, when said venture is not at a conceptual impasse, or losing money, or giving you agita.
Thankfully, when working on creatively demanding projects, there is a geographic solution. Remember the refreshed feeling of taking a much-needed vacation? Sometimes a weekend away is the best thing you can do to clear your head—without taking a big bite out of your schedule.
Kelly Coughlin, president of Annex Communication, is a publicist who fully supports the idea of taking a weekend away for a little R&R.
“Creative professions are very difficult to maintain,” she says. “We often forget that full-time workers get vacation time that can be used at their leisure, and it is important for entrepreneurs and creatives to do so as well.”
Taking a break, she says, will “keep the inspiration coming on an ongoing basis.”
Here’s how to plan a weekend away that is both cleansing and foments new ideas:
1. Pick a special destination
Perhaps you can choose a city that has a special relationship with your passion project—Austin if you’re an entrepreneur, Charleston if you’re a style blogger, Chicago if you’re a comedian. Use discount travel sites, like Expedia or Hotwire, or Airbnb to make economical travel arrangements.
“I regularly search Groupon for new, affordable weekend getaways, going to a new place each time,” says Jeff Moyer, founder of the web design and internet marketing firm Advance Web Solutions.
“I find visiting a new place will often get you away from a predictable routine and be a great source of inspiration,” he explains. “I usually return fully recharged, and I consider it part of my actual business strategy.”
2. Go solo
Traveling alone puts you in touch with yourself, and you may meet other people traveling solo. It could also push you out of your comfort zone and work new mental muscles that will compel you to try more new, novel things.
3. Ditch the technology
Perhaps you could stay off Facebook and email for the weekend. Maybe you can post pictures when you get back. Or maybe you could do a full tech detox for the weekend. Moyer does: “I leave my laptop at home and turn my cell phone off.”
Doing this could be challenging, like taking up a running habit, but it could be just as worth it.
4. Leave business behind
Especially if you are an entrepreneur with a team working for you, taking time away—especially unplugged time away—is a subtle compliment to your team and your product.
Christa Freeland, founder of the Austin-based startup The Dime Club, weighs in.
“Especially in entrepreneurship,” she says, “when founders are usually inseparable from the business mentally and sometimes physically, taking a trip can be a sign of appreciation, respect, trust, and confidence for something that they’ve built.”
What this does, says Freeland, is give the rest of the team “space and room to grow and take time to breathe. It also naturally injects energy into them which is exponentially important for the company.”
5. Be open to new ideas
Part of why we’re so happy on vacation isn’t just because we feel expansive and we’re eating more dessert than usual. It’s also because we’re noticing more about the richness of our surroundings—because we’re more curious about our surroundings. Thus, we are extra mindful and in the moment.
For Kyshira Moffett, an MBA who runs her own career consulting firm, it’s important to be meditative on her annual head-clearing weekend in Illinois.
Moffett recommends bringing a journal (especially if you go tech-free, like she does).
“I maximize this weekend by doing a brain dump in that journal,” she says. “Any thoughts, ideas, projects that come to mind get written down. The key is to not sit and think about what I just wrote. I revisit the notes after the weekend with a fresh set of eyes and honestly, my most successful projects have come from that experience.”