For three years I have been working solidly to create a remote workstyle that allows me to be productive, add value to my clients and work in whatever location I find myself.
Keeping my vision front of mind I regularly read articles on digital nomads and the challenges and solutions for remote working. There were many helpful articles informing me about phone plans, internet providers and cool co-working places around the world. However, like most things in life, until you get out and do it, it’s just theory.
Just recently – I achieved my dream! (Can I get a high five?) Very quickly I learned what can happen if you are not prepared and organised for this type of remote workstyle and some of the bare basics that no one spoke about in all the articles I read.
This is what is commonly known as ‘Traps for New Players”
Sure, most of it is pretty obvious stuff, however If this type of remote workstyle is a dream for you too, whether it be in the same city as your office, a different state, or different country even, here is what I found. I hope it helps you achieve your dream too.
Firstly – Go Do It! It is really easy to be in a new location and still sit and work at your desk in an apartment all day. True you are location independent, but really? This is not why anyone creates this lifestyle.
The dream is to be in a new city, explore the surroundings, and experience the differences. You are not going to achieve that sitting behind a desk in a room with four walls. After one week of being ‘apartment bound’ you will realise very quickly that to live the dream you have to create for yourself a way to explore the city while still being productive; otherwise you are working isolated 9-5 then becoming are too tired to go out and explore every evening of the week and start leaving it for the weekend.
There is no way that is the vision, and there is a better way!
I suggest setting yourself a goal of working somewhere different and enjoyable every day. For me, yesterday it was the botanic gardens overlooking a lake, today is a coffee shop (it’s raining).
Act like you are going to work. Get up, do your morning routine and leave the apartment. Embrace sharing the morning commute whether it be by foot or public transport with the thousands of other city workers heading off to work between four walls. This is your daily opportunity to realise you are ‘living the dream’ (pat yourself on the back and try to avoid the smug smile). Not only will you get a boost of motivation, it will spur you on to be the best you can be for the day.
Purchase a good and more critically, comfortable back pack –it is painful to have a zip or strap digging in your back every time you walk. Like a pebble in your shoe, it may start of small but by the end of the day you will be cursing. Oh, and while we are on shoes – make sure they are comfortable too you will find you are doing more walking than what you do on an average 9-5 commute.
Chunk your time and move! Your brain needs a break every couple of hours so working for 2-3 hours on a task and then moving location, whether it be a brisk walk or a quick ride on public transport to your next location is an easy way to see the sights. The act of moving and discovering new things will free up your mind, increase your productivity and sky rocket your creativity.
Take a snack. For me it’s a piece of fruit. Remember you are not in the office or home, you can’t just duck to the lunchroom or fridge to wade off a hunger pain while you are finishing off an important task.
Don’t forget to drink. Weather you find it while you are out or your own water is important. It keeps your brain hydrated and being in a different city with different weather can put your body into over drive, so be sure to nourish it. Personally my preference is to take it with me unless I am in a country where it’s necessary to drink filtered water.
Leading on from water, self-explanatory, and important…. know where the toilets are! Take note of public toilets and get yourself a good map of the city you are in. Depending on your location you may want to pack tissues too.
Make sure all your devices are fully charged – there is nothing worse than working in the flow to be interrupted by a battery low message! Purchase a portable charger – these are pretty inexpensive and hold a lot of charge. Great for charging your mobile phone battery which gets chewed up quickly when using it as a hot-spot. Oh and finally check all your charging chords before leaving home. If you have multiple devices it’s easy to pick up the wrong one. Check and double check to avoid the frustration of being out and needing to plug into a charger only to find you have the incorrect chord.
Lastly, as a failsafe, take a notepad and pen, reading or work you can achieve off line. If all fails on the computer front nothing beats doing work the old fashioned way and you are still productive.