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A Sample Chapter from TimeOut! To Retreat, Review, & Renew

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Here’s a list of current boilerplate line items on PJ’s Agenda. Detailed explanations follow later in this section.

PJ’s Agenda Template:

Read previous Timeout notes

JADE List (Joys, Accomplishments, Delights, and Entertainment)*

Passings and losses list (not-so-happy events of the past year)

101 List (experiences to do or have in this lifetime)

Business plan—for each business

Finances—for each business


Health—mental, physical, and emotional—for each partner

New Issues—good, bad and ugly

Interests—hobbies, vacations, etc.

Goals—personal and professional *

Write current notes for wrap-up *

For your first annual Timeout, consider addressing the items marked with an asterisk (*) and incorporate additional topics later—the important goal during the first few Timeouts is to establish a firm foundation of set processes for your Timeout to grow and expand from in years to come.

All these items wouldn’t have fit into PJ’s original three-day schedule. It’s likely that the same will be true for you. It takes time and practice to develop a rhythm and familiarity with each other’s perceptions and to honor and integrate them into the relationship. Personal issues (hurts, disappointments, anger) took much longer to work through in the beginning.

Intentions can be first-rate, but sometimes conflict resolution skills are not! For the most part, PJ address each agenda item in whatever order they’re in the mood for, though they do identify and give priority to the “have to” (family budget) over the “want to” (new patio set) line items.  Each year, they begin by slaying the smaller “dragons” at the front of the cave—it’s always been a confidence-builder to bring resolution to some of the smaller items before venturing deeper into unexplored and potentially sensitive territory. For example, one year, two items on PJ’s agenda were: 1) replace a printer/scanner and 2) replace a particular employee. Obviously, the smaller “dragon” was the printer.

Similar to stretching and warming up before a workout or long run, doing it this way mentally prepares the mind to stretch and reach out for innovative solutions to address more complex issues.

Here are explanations of PJ’s standard Timeout agenda items.

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