Do you need a work-cation?

Everything notable in my business happened while taking a working vacation. Aka: a workcation!

I came up with the concept for my signature class Obsessed — and created the entire curriculum — while vacationing in rural Sweden in an adorable cabin with one of my best friends. With no wifi or phone. While eating my body weight in smoked salmon.

I wrote my first screenplay while in Los Angeles 4 years ago. Blissfully alone. In an adorable AirBnB.

And, I just came home from a workcation in Hawaii where my friend Alex and I created our first podcast (stay tuned… we’re releasing it later this year!) We recorded our 7-episode first season in between sunbathing at the beach, drinking macadamia nut lattes, taking Buti yoga, and sobbing through A Star is Born—then sobbing while listening to the soundtrack of A Star is Born.

If you’ve been part of my community for a bit, you know that I’m all about blending “work” and “pleasure,” so it’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of taking regular workcations. 🙂

How about you? Have you ever fantasized about doing one? Wondering how to plan your trip so that it’s equal parts playtime and productivity?

Here are my tips on how to plan the ultimate workcation. Warning: you might be fervently scrolling through hotel and flight options before reaching the end of this post.

Step 1. Choose your adventure.

Are you lusting after a European adventure?

A mountainous retreat in a tree house?

An island-beach getaway?

Or maybe you want to keep things low key and stay closer-to-home, checking into a swanky local hotel for the weekend? Or a chic Airbnb. Or stay in a yurt on a remote campground. Or park your car in the middle of nowhere and enjoy maximum creativity (and no wifi distractions) under the stars.

Choose what excites you!

Step 2. Make the big decision: solo or with friends?

If you already know that you prefer to work and travel alone, then go ahead and rock your workcation solo.

If you thrive in a more collaborative environment, like to bounce around ideas out loud, or just prefer to have the company of other people when you’re traveling, consider inviting one (or more) folks along for the ride.

Choose your workcation companions wisely. These should be people who inspire you. People you respect and admire. People who light up your brain (think: “OMG, every time we hang out I leave with a zillion brilliant ideas! I heart yooou!”)

I highly recommend choosing people that you have traveled with — or have spent plenty of time with — in the past. There’s nothing worse than trudging through a work-cation with someone who turns out to be a life- and creativity-sucking vampire.

Ideally, choose people who also have projects that they want to get done, just like you. It will be a pretty awkward workcation if only one person in the group wants to work!

Step 3. Create a loose, happy structure.

You might be thinking: “I love the idea of a workcation, but seriously: if I am traveling somewhere gorgeous and exciting, how the hell am I going to do any work? I’ll be so tempted and distracted by other things.”

That’s a valid concern, but with a tiny bit of planning, you really can make this work.

I suggest taking the beginning of your workcation to just… play. Sleep in if you want to. Get a pampering massage. Frolic down a cobblestone street. Savor long meals and scintillating conversations with friends… or friendly strangers. People watch and sip coffee on a park bench. Or just sit and admire the beach, mountains, forest, bustling cityscape, or whatever kind of landscape you’re in.

For the beginning of your workcation, give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing related to work (that’s when your best ideas tend to arrive, anyway!). Shut off your strategic, analytical business-brain. Let the world beyond business flow through you. Open those channels.

After a couple days of playtime, you’ll probably be brimming with new ideas and itching to get to work!

For the remainder of your workcation, I recommend structuring each day with a nice, balanced blend of work and play. Try to align with your natural creative rhythm. For example: if you get your best work done first thing in the morning (6am, sharp!) but tend to be totally brain dead after 4pm, plan accordingly. This is your workcation, after all. It can flow however you want!

Try not to get overly rigid with your schedule. That’s always a recipe for disappointment. You never know what’s going to come up during your workcation—an idea for a romance novel that you simply must write (even though you’ve never written fiction before), your next bestselling product concept, or even a surprising kink in your plans that throws everything else on hold for a while.

For example: when I workcationed in Sweden we had a super loose, happy schedule that basically went: breakfast…work…lunch…sunbathing and rowing boats like Ryan Gosling in The Notebook (while crying out, “It wasn’t over… It STILL ISN’T OVER!!!”)…trip into town for coffee and more work…dinner…evening swim in the lake.

But there were plenty of days where that exact agenda didn’t happen. At all. Like the night in Stockholm when I stayed up all night on our terrace, bathed in moonlight, typing so fast my little fingers couldn’t keep up with all the ideas flowing. (Then I was a totally unproductive zombie the next day while my friend fed me cheese from our Viking-sized smorgasbord platter.)

Or the day when my friend got violently sick with food poisoning and I had to get her to the emergency room. At 4am. In rural Sweden. With no map, no directions, no internet, no phone service. On the flip side: Swedish hospitals are amazing and feature super fast wifi, coffee machines that are better than Starbucks baristas, and legit hiking trails. #besthospitalever

Bottom line? Rigidity and perfectionism will murder your workcation. If you can’t “let go”— don’t go.