top of page
  • Writer's pictureSophie

Mini work retreat plans

Today I have planned a mini solo retreat to do some idea development and planning for some major research grant applications due in August. As an academic, this is a key part of my role, but like so many industries it’s not always easy to prioritise the time it takes to do this important work.

I love doing work in my office, with my team right outside my door, but it is not conducive to creative work. Mainly because of mindset- when I’m surrounded by colleagues im acutely aware of my to do list, which I need to ignore in order to do big picture thinking.

It’s hard to find a day WITHOUT any meetings to do this kind of retreat, so when I saw this Thursday was free I blocked it out. Thursday is a day when I pick up E from school at 2.30, but I think that kind of works because I’d say 5 hours of “deep” work is about my limit in one day anyway.

Once I blocked off the time, the next question is where? I like to mix this up, but they generally involve some combination of cafe/library/nature.

I like to do some initial planning for the day over a coffee at a cafe first up, then some work in a public or university library, then lunch/walk, and one more writing session again at the library (or maybe outside in a park if the weather is lovely).

I’ve previously done this at the beach, at the forest, or even just in a neighbouring town depending on my mood and energy levels! Today, I’ve decided to head to my main university camps, which has a nice cafe, and nice large library, and some nice walking paths through natural surrounds (kangaroos and everything). I don’t usually work there and the change of scenery will work well. I also need to pick up something from there so logistically it makes sense

So my plan for today will be:

8am - Drop E at school (Al drops O)

8.30 - Drive to my university campus.

9am - Coffee & plan, initial brainstorm

10am - 12.30 - Library

11.30-12.30 - Lunch/walk (good thinking time)

12.30-2 - Library

2-2:30 Drive to pick up E

3-5 Urgent work tasks from home

My plan will be to schedule in a few of these in June/July to keep the grants moving for the August deadlines. This is in addition to the usual shorter blocks I do on a normal workday.

Does anyone else use any strategies to get big projects/deep work done?

*photo by Wix

35 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Jun 01

I don't have anything to suggest because this sounds perfect! It's the perfect combination- caffeine, (very important to get things going) a quiet place to work and focus, a walk in nature. I hope you had a productive and enjoyable day- you'll have to let us know how it went.


Lisa Segner
Lisa Segner
Jun 01

I hope you had a great and productive day! The nature of my work is so different than yours. I don’t have a lot of ‘deep’ work as weird as that sounds. Because I am client facing so much of my work is determined by client requests or requests from our sales partners. I do have some deeper work that needs to get done and I will often do that on a day when I am WFH because then I have far fewer distractions since my office is in our basement so I am totally closed off from the house and am not tempted to clean or do something in the kitchen, etc.


Daria P
Daria P
May 30

My only strategy for my kind of creative work- sent both kinds to school, take a day off work, close the door to my home office, put some glue on the chair and sit my bum down. Also, some breaks, even if it's just to walk around or do some hrt breathing.

May 30
Replying to

That’s great you can concentrate in your home office. Yes, breaks are always essential!

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page