It's that time of year when teams are getting together and making plans for the year ahead.

Whether you're evaluating some of the top online business trends to integrate, coming up with your Amazon sales strategy, or looking at new email marketing tactics you can try, it might be a good idea to follow some of the best practices around retreat-based strategy sessions so you make the most of your time away.

That's exactly why I wanted to share a few of my best tips (from firsthand experience) that can help you maximize your time outside the office. Here's what you need to keep in mind while you step away to strategize for 2018:

1. Keep a prioritized agenda.

Before you take off for your off-site strategy session, it's important to build out a prioritized to-do list so that you and your team stay on track. It's easy to get distracted when you're in a new place, so having a list of action items can keep you laser focused.

2. Have your team members together in the same space.

For remote teams, coming together in one place can mean maximum creativity and productivity--even if it's only for a few days. There might be a higher cost to fly in team members from all over, but you'll reap the benefits of that facetime down the road.

3. Pull from research while considering tactics.

When it comes to strategy-building, it can be tempting to pull from whatever ideas come to mind. However, working from research and case studies means taking a more data-backed approach to decision-making. Be sure to have some hard numbers you can evaluate when making choices for the year ahead.

4. Document your strategy.

Especially when it comes to content marketing strategy, most teams forget to document the approach they've decided to take. In fact, data shows that only 37 percent take the time to write down their approach. Putting your plan in writing helps your team remember what your plan is so you all can stick to it throughout the year.

5. Leave time for exploring.

One of the perks of an off-site retreat is having time to explore--so don't forget to leave time for that. Group outings are another opportunity for relationship-building that can help improve your teamwork and communication in the year ahead.