The Importance of Getting Away

  I’m thankful I get to run my own business and do what I love every day. Sure, not every day is full of exciting or creative work, but cumulatively, the reward is unbeatable. I never want to take this for granted. But there are also some downsides of having my life and business so intertwined. It’s almost impossible for me to separate one from the other, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of overworking without even realizing it. I’m a big believer in hard work and putting in the time to grind through the mundane tasks of running a business. Many people start businesses only to give up when the work becomes boring or harder than they expected. But there’s a big difference between working hard and overworking. These past two weeks, we took two short trips to get away. Each had a different purpose.

Planning Retreat

This was our second year doing an offsite retreat, and we plan to make it an annual tradition. My brother (business partner), sister-in-law (handles customer service), wife (helps with various part of the business), and 5-month-old all traveled to a beautiful cabin in the mountains of West Virginia. Although I love working in my home office, there’s something about being in a secluded location away from the day-to-day distractions that proves really helpful for getting in a different mindset. We spent the whole time looking at the big picture of Ugmonk, the current state of Ugmonk, and where we want to head next. Our goal was to take a big step back and make sure we’re seeing the forest through the trees. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work, looking at each individual “tree” without checking our compass to see if we are still pointed in the correct direction. There are times where we might even want to recalibrate and change our destination altogether. Stepping back is the only way to do that. Setting aside specific time to take a step back and evaluate everything from a macro level is vital to long-term success. On last year’s retreat, we came up with the vision for Ugmonk 2.0. It’s exciting to see that vision realized and executed just one year later! This year, we left with some exciting ideas that could take Ugmonk to a whole other level, including a product I’ve been working on for the past three years (Sign up here to get updates on this). I’ll be sharing more in the future to give you more insight on what’s next.   retreat-2016-5-blurred  
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Family Retreat

After the planning retreat, I took a different type of getaway. My wife, my 5-month-old, and I headed up to the Catskills in upstate NY to unplug and enjoy some down time together. As much as I love my business, my family is my top priority. We rented a cozy house in the woods (more photos on my Instagram) and enjoyed the perfect fall weather, hiking in the mountains and hanging around the fireplace all week. It felt great to be fully present, not worrying about work and appreciating the simple pleasures of life. (I did bring my laptop in case of emergency, but thankfully, I never even took it out of my bag.) This trip was just what we needed. Life with a kid is certainly much different and challenging at times, but we’re enjoying these new adventures as a family of three.  

Unplug & Recharge

Many of us tend to have a pretty unhealthy relationship with work, especially in the US. Just the other day, the news was reporting that Americans left 658 million unused vacation days on the table in 2015. We feel the constant pressure to be "on," even when we know that getting away for a bit can make us more productive and better at our work. I can't stress enough the importance of getting away. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but changing your location, taking some time off, and unplugging does wonders in the long run. I already feel renewed about the future of Ugmonk after just a few days away from the day to day.