A Retreat for Professional Organizers

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Massage is a key aspect of a retreat for professional organizers

Webinars, teleclasses, chapter meetings, conferences, and live workshops are all excellent ways to connect with and learn from your colleagues in the organizing industry, but I’ve recently learned about yet another option, and I’ve invited Jane Veldhoven of Get Organized! Professional Services to tell you all about it today.

Jane, I read in your blog about your recent Professional Organizer Retreat, and I’m sure my readers would love to know what it involved, and how they can do something similar. Can you tell us what happens at a Professional Organizer Retreat?

The main objective is for us to get together to create our strategic plan for the new year.

Was it all about work, or did you get a chance for some R&R?

Oh yes, this year we started what will definitely become a part of our annual planning – we went to a fabulous spa for 7 hours where we did yoga, soaked in hot baths and steam rooms, and had a massage the day before our work.  It was truly amazing.

How much advance planning was required?

It was a team effort for sure but didn’t require a whole lot of advance planning – about 6 weeks.  We investigated the spa back in early December and the two of us who were flying booked our flights by mid-December so we could arrange the actual days we were together.

How many people attended?

We have five professional organizers in our group.

How did you find other organizers to team up with for the retreat?

We all attended a Strategic Planning Bootcamp for Organizers in January 2008.

It sounds like a lot of your focus was on planning for the coming months. Do you have a system in place to stay connected and follow up on each others’ plans?

Yes, we do.  We ‘meet’ by phone quarterly to review where we are and where we are going, hold each accountable for our plan and motivate one another as well.

Will you do it again in the future? With the same group?

Absolutely – January 2011 is on.  Plus we have planned a relax day together at a spa in Montreal following the POC conference.  Obviously we need a lot of relaxing in order to be strategic – ha!

Do you think a retreat is appropriate for new organizers, established organizers, or both?

I would say you need to be in business for three years before this process would be beneficial.  New organizers, though, should definitely sign up for some type of basic business planning workshops in their hometown.

Is it better for the group to be at the same stage in their business, or at different stages?

We have all been in business for at least five years and that seems to work well.  However, our vision for each business and our personal goals are very different which also works.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Since I started this process in 2008 I have been able to grow my business significantly. I would have to say that the time spent planning and creating a strategy has been a key component, but having a support group of other organizers has been the most amazing experience.

Readers, I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like a wonderful way to work on your business and get a little R&R at the same time! What do you think?

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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  1. Moreen Torpy Moreen Torpy on February 12, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    This sounds like a fabulous way to cloak business planning in a fun event, and make the process palatable! Whoda thunk it?

  2. Avatar Janet on February 13, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I know! It seems that someone could even make a little money coordinating this sort of event, but I’m not sure it would be as effective if the professional organizers didn’t already have an established relationship.

  3. Avatar The English Organizer on February 28, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Great idea! I love how these Organizers equate Spa with Strategic – perfect!

  4. Avatar Janet Barclay on February 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    It does sound very inviting, especially at this time of year. I don’t know about you, but I have had enough of this winter!

  5. Avatar Julie Stobbe on March 9, 2020 at 8:32 am

    I wish more Professional Development Days were like this. A calm relaxing atmosphere to allow people to have time to think , consider and evalute ideas. Rushing from one session or meeting to another doesn’t give time for reflexion.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on March 9, 2020 at 12:23 pm

      You’re right, Julie! I wonder if it’s an introvert-extravert thing, where introverts prefer quiet activities in small groups, and extraverts prefer large groups with lots going on.

  6. Hazel Thornton Hazel Thornton on March 9, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Sounds kind of like a Mastermind with massages. Which sounds glorious to me. Who can’t think better once they’ve de-stressed a bit?

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on March 9, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      So true – especially if you’ve had to travel to get there. Remember what a mess I was when I got to Arizona? I didn’t even know what time it was!

  7. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on March 9, 2020 at 11:50 am

    This sounds amazing! It’s so helpful to have a planning session with other like-minded individuals. I wish I had more of this in my area. I may have to create a group. =)

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on March 9, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      You totally should! A group of local women I know had a mastermind weekend at a cottage one time – no massages but it sounded wonderful. I wasn’t able to join them that time, and unfortunately, there hasn’t been another one (and the person with the cottage is no longer a member of the group).

  8. Avatar Janet Schiesl on March 9, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    I agree with Jane’s experience. I went to a business planning retreat at the beginning of 2019 and again at the beginning of 2020. It really helped me focus on setting goals for the year and how I was going to measure my results. I attended with another organizer friend with a similar business. We agreed to look at doing our own thing at the beginning of 2021. We both need to schedule days and have some to be accountable to or we wouldn’t do it. We didn’t have a spa day, but that sounds fun!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on March 10, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      I think I remember you mentioning that – I was soooo jealous!

  9. Deb Lee Deb Lee on March 9, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Did someone say massage? This sounds awesome! Conferences can be a whirlwind. It would be nice to have some relaxation time (hello, spa!) along with some time to just think about what you’ve learned and maybe even come up with a preliminary action plan. And, then more time at the spa. LOL =)

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on March 10, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      I remember at some of the POC Conferences they’ve had massage and yoga available between sessions. I didn’t take advantage (why, I wonder) but what a great thing to have available!

  10. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on March 9, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    One of the best conference memories I have was attending a NAPO conference in San Diego that was held at a spa. I stayed post-conference to have a spa day and it was one of the best ways to unwind and reflect on all that information received before returning home. I love the unique group that Jane assembled to coalesce relaxation and planning with colleagues. What a great idea!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on March 10, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      Great idea to schedule a spa day at the end of the conference! So often we rush home and “back to the old grind” before you know it!

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