The importance of unplugging, recharging and planning the year ahead

Posted by Taylor Barkin on

Every year in January we make it a goal to sit down to make an attempt at planning our next year ahead for Moore. In years past, we would take a few hours at a coffee shop or at home to talk and plan. There wasn't a lot of structure, it was more a session to get on the same page and plan some new things for the year ahead.
This year I wanted to do something different. 2018 was full of growth for us. We saw big growth both financially and personally. It was the first year where both of us were full time in the business, something neither of us have done before. After years of busting our buns, we had a lot of great opportunities come our way. But great opportunities must come with good management of them. We learned a lot this past year and really found that our side hustle was no longer a side hustle. It transformed into a big business that we had to figure out how to navigate. Let me tell you, this is my dream but it doesn't mean it's an easy task. I just find interest in navigating the challenges of growth.
When you start making a significant amount of sales-maybe more than you ever anticipated, it's easy to feel like you have a lot of money that you can go spend. But that's not how I try to think about our level of growth. The higher you climb, the bigger the fall and that's what I want to be mindful of as we grow. As we start to grow, I hope that we can grow at a steady, yet increasing pace so that we have time to stop, look around and see what we're doing right and what we can improve on. 
Taking a week off from a growing business where we still handle all operations isn't a particularly easy task. A growing business requires us to be there but I also think it's equally as important to stop, think, plan and recharge. So that's exactly what we did. 
We took the past week to unplug from emails and obligations to escape to the Catskill Mountains in New York to spend two days simply talking, planning and scheming.
Some people might ask us why we might need to go all the way to New York to do this? The answer is clear to me. If we tried to do a two day planning session in our shop, we would be distracted by everything that needs to get done and we wouldn't be fully engaged with the goal at hand. We needed to escape to an environment where we would feel inspired. We're at the point in our business where if we don't take a step back to think and plan, we are going to hinder our ability to grow the way we want to.
The trip!
I booked this as a surprise for Tanner after we both had it on our radar as something we wanted to do. We thought about it last year but suddenly the first few months of the year had gone by and it never happened so it was important for me to follow through this year. 
Last summer I got in a shared Lyft to go to Outdoor Retailer with someone that worked for Getaway. I hadn't heard about it before and instantly fell in love with the tiny houses they had available to rent. I knew this is where we were going to go if we planned this planning retreat. Last year we earned the Southwest Companion Pass after putting business expenses on my Southwest Credit card so flights were free and the Getaway rental was very reasonably priced to me. When it was all said and done, we were able to pull this trip off for about $350. 
After flying into Laguardia, we hopped in our rental and drove about 2 hours to the Catskill Mountains. We stopped at a grocery store on the way up to get food for the few days we were there. They also had food available to purchase there but we had some specific food in mind to keep us fueled to stay creative. We drove up right before the sun went down in hopes of not getting lost. 
We drove up and felt excitement immediately. 
They had a nice welcome package with a note, a smores kit and some suggested guidelines and things to do. They told us to disconnect from everything so we broke the rules by talking solely about business but this environment was so inspiring to us we didn't care.
We were tired from traveling when we got there so we didn't talk about anything business related. We turned on music and talked about life or whatever came to mind. This seems simple but we haven't had time to do this lately so it was nice to connect back as humans, as husband and wife. 
There was no wifi, no TV and not really much service so we disconnected with the rest of the world and connected back with one another. We opened the blinds, fell asleep and woke up in a beautiful cabin in the middle of the trees. We made coffee and breakfast and let our day of planning and talking begin.
We started with a blank slate.
It seemed daunting about where to start but I took a day ahead of our trip to write down every category and subcategory of our business so that we didn't need to plan out WHAT we were going to talk about. That was already done, now we needed to go through each topic and sub topic and brain dump on each one.
We put every idea and thought down on paper. Whether the idea was good or bad, we wrote it down. We didn't question or fight any potential ideas. We wrote down every thought so that we could go back and reevaluate later. I'm sure some will sound ridiculous later, but some could change the course of our business or spark new ideas down the road, who knows. We weren't concerned about making our notes pretty, in fact it looks like a 3rd grader wrote them but the goal was to focus on the ideas themselves as we were feeling inspired and then refine later. 
As we talked, sometimes we would just take a second to look outside the window and just think. It was so quiet that all we had was our voices and thoughts. We love and get inspired by this type of environment but don't allow ourselves to have that as much as we should anymore. Once the sun went down for the day we called it quits on the planning and once again talked as humans, as husband and wife. We fell asleep listening to the "How I built this" Podcast.
We left feeling so inspired and excited for the year ahead. We set (what we think) are realistic, yet ambitious goals for this year, the next 3 years and the next 5 years. Taking the time out of our busy schedules was one of the best decisions we made for this year so far. I think it's incredibly valuable, no matter what stage of life you or your business is in to just pause, think, plan and dream about the future of what you're doing. 
Of course we couldn't leave the house without our personal copy of 50 States Traveled so that we could check New York off of our list.
Once we reconnected our service, emails flooded in but we put responding to them on hold until we returned home. This is hard for me, but I'm trying to retrain myself to unplug and recharge or I'll never do it.
About Getaway itself:
If we were ever going to move towards tiny house living, this is definitely our dream house. The exterior was just gorgeous and the inside was absolutely stunning. On top of the beauty, I loved the layout itself as well. The nook by the window was my favorite place to sit, the bed was extremely comfortable and the amount of seating gave us the chance to spread out and be comfy anywhere in the house. 
It had all of the basics one would need and not many bells and whistles-which we liked but then again we are pretty low maintenance people. There was no mirror on the wall which was weird at first but then again it allowed us to focus again on the task at hand, not on our appearance. I have heard that some of the most successful people don't put a whole bunch of time into their looks because that's not what they focus on, their business is what they focus on.
The kitchen was cute. it had a mini fridge, a stove top, sink and well that's about it. We were able to make all of the food we wanted for the purpose of the trip and pour over coffee to keep us going all day. 
We weren't bothered by anyone except the basic housekeeping during the day which was nice. Though we could easily contact someone on site if we needed something by the phone in the house.
There were many little houses on site but they were dispersed well so you felt like you were alone in the woods. 
No wifi, no TV, just a radio you could plug one of your playlists or podcasts, read a book, think or journal. We brought some books and journals galore but they also had books available. 
Our favorite part by far was the grand window facing the trees. It was winter so they weren't lush but still oh so gorgeous. 
We would definitely go back in a heartbeat and would recommend Getaway to everyone.
Our Travel Essentials:
Make sure it has the ejectable battery-I found this out the hard way but absolutely love this suitcase. Tanner and I travel so light that we could share.
These backpacks are not only what we use day to day, but are awesome travel companions. I like that they hold so much stuff without ever looking bulky. The top pouch allows for easy access to things we need to get to regularly.
We went to NY in the middle of winter and I hate being cold so having a blanket I can easily condense is non negotiable to me. This blanket is one of the warmest I have and is really easy to travel with.
I don't like to overcomplicate my wallet so this one holds only my cards and ID that I need.
We both have Topo coats. They both have ample pockets and are thin, yet relatively warm and great for layering. I use all the pockets in my coat instead of having a purse. My wallet and phone live in my right pocket and I put snacks in my left pocket.
These don't normally go on every trip with us but when going to a cabin in New York in the middle of winter, yes they most certainly are going to make it in our suitcase. I wear the pair that my mom bought before I was born (SO COMFY) and Tanner has a new pair.
We both always have one of our crewnecks on (almost always unintentionally twinning), T-shirts of ours (also almost always unintentionally twinning), a coat, our favorite beanies and gloves.
To write down our trip memories as we go so we don't forget

← Older Post Newer Post →