2016 was a whirlwind – as we were still getting settled in Hawai’i we were asked to housesit a coffee farm, shortly after that we traveled back to Utah, then to Arizona then back to Hawai’i. Staycation-ing on the west side of the island. Traveling to Oah’u. Going back to Utah to pack up our home + then road-tripping across the country to spend the summer in Maine. Then, as soon as the calendar struck September, back to Hawai’i we went!
Whew! It’s really crazy to type all of that out.
One of the most common questions we receive, as well as one of the topics we discuss amongst ourselves often is:
‘How do we stay productive while working from anywhere?’
It’s certainly not something that we are always great at and it’s not a one size fits all solution.
Still, we believe that we can learn from others’ perspectives so we thought we would share our tips.
➀ Find something to root you in your routine
Whether it’s your morning cup of coffee or tea, your favorite tunes, Sports Center on the TV or starting your day off with ten minutes of meditation – find your YOU time. Find something that makes you feel centered, comfortable + at home. When you take time to feel like yourself and give yourself a bit of ‘norm’ it’s easier to jumpstart your day no matter where you are!
➁ Write out a weekly work schedule
(and start each day with a TO-DO list)
What do you need to accomplish this week? Deadlines, project steps, client hours, etc.
Think of them as your weekly goals.
Write a list out.
Sometimes when you’re in a new surrounding, it’s easy to lose track of projects you’re working on, little things you need to get done, crucial pieces of a deadline, etc. By taking time before you arrive to a new local or right when you get there to outline your working hours, your must-dos + deadlines (and keeping that list on your person) you’re essentially creating a road map to accomplish your goals.
Next step: create a to-do list each evening for the following day with THREE things you need to accomplish that day and three other items that could get done but are less of a priority. Outlining small daily objectives will get you to your weekly goals in tangible steps without overwhelming you.
We find that the mornings are our sweet spot for working – as the day goes by and the sun revolves across the sky, we’re more tempted by the outdoors and find ourselves less productive. Knowing that, we build out our mornings to be as productive as possible and leave the afternoons open for creative projects or adventures – whatever we feel like. Some people like to get out in the morning and then work in the afternoons, while others are night owls and like to work late – find what feels natural to you!
➂ Define a workspace
When you arrive to a new location, either for a work trip or extended stay, take a look around designate where you’re going to work. Is there a comfortable place to get work done? A desk, a kitchen table, a bed (we’re not judging), or a coffee shop near by? Find somewhere that you’re comfortable + can get focused when you need. Consider noise, back support, distractions, etc. You want to be able to have a place where you can be productive and accomplish the work you need to.
➃ Store All Of Your Ideas In One Place
For some, it’s a digital space. Others prefer a tangible written pad or something of the sort.
Or maybe a mix of both? We keep our digital resources in a file on the computer + notes, ideas + brainstorms all in a notebook. Either way, if we’re looking for something – we know just where to find it.
Find what works for you + write it all out. When you have a new idea, skill you want to learn, resource you found, blogpost idea, creative peak – keep track of it! Keep it all in one place so that you don’t lose or misplace it while you’re on the go.
This will help jog your memory months down the road, give you a place to continue developing ideas and see how far your ideas have come by looking back at the beginning of said notebook.
➄ Stay Active + Inspired
We’ve all heard the term ‘sweat it out’ and truly, this can be a great tool to keep your energy high, keep your focus and boost productivity when you’re in a different place. For some, this is the ‘you time’ (connecting back to tip #1) that may root you in your routine, for others this may seem out of your norm to do when you’re somewhere different. Either way, we know from experience that it’s healthy to sweat out the frustrations or anxiety you’ve been carrying around about a project you’re working on or a looming deadline.
When we were summering on the east coast, scheduling time for activity (workout classes, hikes, walks) gave us a quick break from working to brainstorm, talk about ideas + to also decompress. It was something that allowed us to stay connected, give our minds a break + refuel our minds.
➅ Invest Your Time Well
Is your time being consumed by draining, frivolous, mind-numbing tasks? Think: what am I doing today that I will thank myself for tomorrow? Invest in yourself. Take your eyes off your screen if you’re not doing something productive. Get up + do something of worth.
Don’t buy airplane wifi so that you can mindlessly scroll. Instead, take that time to write out all of your emails that you need to + hit SEND when you land! Less distractions, less cost + flying is a wonderful time to be productive.
When you’re spending your time (or money) on something, analyze the return on the investment. Are you wasting your time just scrolling through something, mindlessly disconnecting? Rather than doing these things, read an article of substance, watch something that is expanding your mind, invest in consulting services that will better your business, brainstorm how you can add more intention into your social efforts instead of just scrolling through other people’s or get out and get creative. Your time is valuable! Make sure you treat it as such.
BONUS TIP: Keep cultivating your relationships + share your journey on social media
This last tip will keep you busy more so than productive – but by using the tips above, you can be both!
When you’re here, there + everywhere – it’s easy to lose connections (both personal + professional). Rather than making your nomadic, exciting, travel-filled life confusing to those in your social circle – bring them along your journey!
Be intentional about how you share your story. Rather than posting a random Facebook post at one location, another Instagram story in this other location, some Snapchats here + there leaving friends + acquaintances straight up confused, explain what you’re doing + where you’re going in a way that’s inviting and enticing (so that people know why they should care).
By bringing people along on your journey, you’re able to continue cultivating your connections, expanding your network and leaving the opportunity of working together open for the future.
If you’re a traveling graphic designer, working while you see the world – you need clients to do so!
So if you cut of all ties + unplug from your online channels, only the people you meet on your travels will know what you’re doing or how they can work with you.
If you keep in touch with loved ones near + far, while also sharing your journey online – ANYONE can work with you! This brings you work, collaborations, travel connections, etc. It keeps you relevant and accessible.