How to Take a Virtual Retreat

How to Take a Virtual Retreat

In a world of connectivity, devices, rolling news and constant updates the stream of information can sometimes overwhelm. Taking a virtual retreat, a break from technology, is essential for us to focus without interruption during the work day, and an extended break away from work is essential for us to recharge. However, with the fear of what we may miss sometimes holding us back–new clients, and great new contract, or important information–this is where a Virtual Assistant come to the rescue.

By working with a Virtual Assistant, and forming a trusting and strong working relationship, you can build a partnership that allows for essential time away from technology and enjoying cocktails in the tropics! Find out more on how to take a virtual retreat. 

 

The Importance Of A Virtual Retreat

A US study from 2016 suggests the average Smartphone user touches their phone 2,617 per day. That equates to 109 times per hour or, accounting for an average of eight hours sleep per day, 164 times per hour. That seems to transcend the need for communication and information access and enter the realm of obsession.

But there is hope… According to market research firm GfK, Canadians are among the world’s most empowered consumers when it comes to putting down our devices and just saying “no!”.

 

Four Reasons Why A Digital Detox Or Virtual Retreat Is A Great Idea

The following reasons for a virtual retreat were researched from a number of articles. The two main inspirations are this one from Becoming Minimalist and this in Silicon Republic. Each one lists more research papers and links, and ideas for a full 30-day digital detox if you feel like really switching off from the grid!

 

Reduce Stress & Improve Your Mental Health

The fear of missing out (Fomo) is, according to research, a modern psychological phenomenon that can be linked to the rise in social media channels and connectivity. While we agree this has amplified the issue, those of us old enough to remember a time before social media and hand-held devices will remember fearing missing out if, for example, all your friends were playing together while you had to remain at home to spend time with your family–what a drag!

It is well documented that putting aside Smartphones and resisting the urge to check Facebook, which leaves some people with feelings of jealousy, would help reduce stress levels, notions of jealousy and inadequacy and, therefore, promote better mental health.

 

Improve Physical Health

Text Neck, a condition resulting from spending too much time looking down at screens, is definitely a modern phenomenon. But anything you can do to get out and about and away from devices, especially if it’s physical exercise, will leave you feeling better physically and, most likely, mentally.

 

Boost Productivity & Creativity

As has been noted in the introduction, we are so distracted by our phones during our working day (I’ve used mine during the writing of this to check on sports scores! *reaches for phone, Google’s definition of irony*) that switching it off, muting it, and going back to it at two or three defined points in a day can refocus our attention and make us more productive and creative as a result.

Reduce Dependence On Technology

Do you remember when you could recall phone numbers from memory? This may not be the best example as our phones have rendered this mainly obsolete, thereby freeing up capacity to remember other information.

However, research states people refer to Smartphones and search engines to find recipes, answer to questions and directions, for example. An overt dependence on anything, technology or otherwise, is not a positive.

 

Hiring a Virtual Assistant To Aid a Virtual Retreat

There is seemingly an inherent irony in this sub-heading which could be interpreted as “stop your addiction and let us be addicted for you!”.

But this is not the point. By stepping away from technology, apps and devices which bare an unnecessary time-drain as a business owner you will become more successful. Your job is to focus on what is important, our job is to run and manage the technology to free up your time.

We at Roche Online Business Services employ this tactic ourselves. You may have noticed if you email us during the working day you receive an automated response to say that your email has been received and we shall reply within 24-48 hours. This is intentional as it allows us to focus on the tasks at hand, prioritize our time, and deal with inquiries and clients in a triaged manner.

This is proof-positive we practice what we preach, so let us help you help yourself. If you want to hire an Online Business Manager, Project Manager or Virtual Assistant–so that you can take a Virtual Retreat without worrying about your business suffering–contact us to book you complimentary consultation.

Self Care for the Entrepreneur

Self Care for the Entrepreneur

As an Entrepreneur or Business Owner, it can be incredibly hard to switch off from your business. Every minute not spent on your business almost seems unproductive. But it is equally important to take care of yourself and adopt some easy self-care practices.

Self Care for the Entrepreneur

I’ll admit, I’ve fallen into the trap of constantly working and feeling guilty if I’m not working. But as I reach total burn out, I realize that if I don’t take care of myself then I can’t take care of my client’s needs.

Another issue is the financial cost of investing in self-care. I’m still in start-up mode and every penny counts. Like everyone else, my priority is to keep a roof over my head and eat. I still worry about spending money on self-care even though I completely understand how valuable it is. After speaking to other entrepreneurs about this, I decided to list a few budget-friendly ways to ensure self-care is part of the entrepreneurial lifestyle!

Fitness:

Barre

I LOVE keeping fit and am a big fan of the various Barre workouts available. Heading to a barre class is a fun yet challenging experience, but it can be quite costly. Luckily they do have online classes for $19USD per month and you can find some barre classes listed on sites such as Class Pass.

HIIT

There are also lots of free work out videos online. The current favourite is The Betty Rocker 30-Day challenge! It’s only 15 minutes per day of either an HIIT workout, strength building or yoga and it’s free! You can also sign up for the 30-day meal plan for $37USD (price may vary depending on when you are reading this). You have access to a well laid out meal plan with grocery lists, easy recipes, and a day-by-day menu.

Yoga

As a former yoga teacher, I can usually pull my own little yoga routine together but I love being guided by another teacher and there are so many free yoga videos online. One of my recent favourites is Yoga with Adriene. Adriene has many videos from beginners to flow to yoga for anxiety and stress. She even has videos that go into detail on one particular pose.The videos vary in time so you can choose according to how much time you have. Perfect for the busy entrepreneur!

Hiking

If you are lucky enough to live in a city that’s a stones through from a rainforest (like I am), then take a hike! Hiking in the great outdoors is ideal but if you can’t go that far then just go for a walk around your neighbourhood. Walking keeps you fit, clears your mind, and gets you away from your computer! And it’s free!

Wellness:

Massage

There is nothing better than going for a massage! Seriously! I do believe that finding a good Registered Massage Therapist who aligns well with your needs is of utmost importance, however, as an entrepreneur with no extended health benefits, it’s a price that can be a wee bit above the budget. Until you are making enough money, you can always check out Groupon for some massage deals or go to the closest school or college that offers massage training and sign up with one of the students!

Meditation

I do my best to take 10 – 20 minutes per day for meditation. Despite my yoga background, I still suck at meditation. As I sit there, 1000 thoughts run through my mind at what feels like light speed but I still try and when I do, my head feels clearer, I feel more relaxed and focused. It serves me and my clients because I do better work. Meditation can be done in silence or using some sort of guide. There are lots of free guided meditations online or you can use an app such as Calm. This is my favourite new meditation tool as it has lots of different guided meditations for various issues (focus, sleep, anxiety, etc.) You can get the basic app for free or upgrade to premium for as little as $4.99USD per month.

Take a Virtual Retreat

Schedule at least one day per month for a virtual retreat. A virtual retreat means no computer, phone or tablet for the full day. Take yourself completely offline. Perhaps stay at home and read a book or meditate and relax. Or head off on a hike with a friend through the park or rainforest (if you are in Vancouver) and enjoy nature.  No Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. No email or Messenger. You can of course take phone calls, or not – but make sure to let friends and family know so that they don’t worry about you!

Take Time Off!

If you don’t take time away from your work, you will burn out, your work will suffer and your clients will notice! Give them as much notice as possible when you are taking time off. I generally let clients know at the beginning of each month what my days off that month will be, and then send another reminder one week prior. I also set strong boundaries to ensure that it’s clear that I won’t be responding to text messages or emails while I’m off and that I’ll get back to them when I return. Clients who are also entrepreneurs completely understand and it’s rare that they will violate those boundaries.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

You might be at the point where you can’t do it all yourself. Well, perhaps you could but you wouldn’t have time to sleep. Hiring a contractor such as a Virtual Assistant to help out is the logical first step. You can hire a VA for the hours that you need them. As a contractor, you only need to use them as and when you need them. During busy months you can ramp up their hours, and during slow months, reduce the time you need to fit your budget. They can take on those smaller tasks at the beginning such as social media scheduling, email management, scheduling appointments, uploading blog posts, etc. But as you continue to build a relationship with them, you can give them more responsibility. It’s really up to you. Then when you take time off, you have someone to hold the fort while you are away.

What about you?

Do you have any self-care tips that you would love to share with us and the entrepreneur community? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Business is important, especially when it keeps a roof over your head and pays your bills but you can’t do that while suffering from exhaustion. Make sure to take time off to rest and look after yourself and spend time with family and friends. And when the time comes to hire a Virtual Assistant (so that you have cover when you go on vacation), contact us at Roche Online Business Services and schedule a complimentary consultation session. We’d love to help you find that work-life-balance.