I love Brazil.
I love the people, the culture, the emphasis on fun and enjoying life, the weird accordion music, the $2.50 caipirinhas.*
Since arriving in Brazil, it’s been a non-stop beach-going, friend-meeting, cobblestone road-traversing adventure – and it’s been a total blast.
However, when my husband and I started planning this trip, we knew we’d be working whilst livin’ it up. And since we’re both self-employed, it’s oh-so-easy to push work to the back burner in favor of lounging in a beach chair or ordering yet another bowl of Acai. Thus, we wanted to make sure we set aside time for ourselves each week to fulfill said duties. This is not the biggest challenge in the world considering we both LOVE what we do. In my case means, working here means continuing to have amazing, FUN, and productive coaching sessions with my clients, posting on my blog, and maintaining my social media. For me, this = fun all around.
I know a lot of you have the goal of working remotely, or are planning a trip that will require you to work a least some of the time, so for today’s post, I thought it’d be handy to share three of my tips for staying focused while traveling. Read below to find out how I manage to be productive when there’s forever another umbrella-decorated drink calling my name.
Make A Schedule
Before I even left the US of A I had a loose sketch of how I wanted to structure my weeks while in South America. Since we’re volunteering while here, managing our schedule is a bit more complicated than equally dividing our time between work and play. Our volunteer work is a big priority, so the first thing I did was coordinate that schedule with our fellow volunteers . Once I had that in place, I knew which days I’d be available to work.
Aside from that. I also have some mini-goals to work on while here:
1) Continue studying Portuguese
2) Wake up early to meditate & read something positive
3) Stretch (turns out this is critical since our mattress has all the softness of a plywood board).
I wrote these mini-goals down too, so that when looking at my calendar I have a clear idea of what I should be spending my time doing.
Have a Dedicated Work Space
Wouldn’t you agree that the hardest part of any task is getting started?? I realized this simple truth long ago and continue to be amazed at how often it applies. It’s especially true when you have to call a time-out on margarita-sipping in order to answer emails or do research for a client. Fortunately, here at our Airbnb, there’s a great office space on the second floor, complete with a balcony (the door of which is currently open and allowing a glorious breeze to inwarldy waft), desk, and mini-fridge. As soon as we arrived here, I unpacked everything and put my computer, tripod, calendar, pens, hi-liters, and books onto the desk so it’s set up and ready for me when it’s time to get down & dilligent.
Note that a lot of your productivity depends on what you’ve packed. If you’re like me, you love to travel light and always second-guess whether you’ll really need something before putting it in your duffel. Let me tell you – and this is coming from someone who really hates hevay luggage – just bring it. (For example, I decided not to pack one of my Portuguese phrase books, because books = pounds. Now I’m kicking myself because I really love that book and would’ve totally dug into it today. And hello? That’s what carry-ons are for. Fail.)
Don’t Stress when Technology Fails You
SO important. It’s pretty easy to beat yourself up when you’re traveling and can’t get online/can’t get your data plan to work/can’t finish your email because the generator for the entire village malfunctioned and the replacement part is coming from the UK and won’t arrive for another three weeks (true story). This is where the art of letting go is best practiced. When you’ve done all you can, and the little third-world country you adore has failed you, take a deep breath, close your laptop, and mentally draft apology notes to anyone wondering why you haven’t called, emailed, or texted.
And then – let it go. There’s nothing else you can do.
One helpful way to avoid the above stress ↑ is to pre-draft all of your written work ahead of time and save it in your documents folder. Even better, you can pre-plan your emails by scheduling them to go out at a certain time. That way, they’re in the cloud and aren’t dependent on Wi-fi. I use a great program for my gmail accounts that allows me to select a time and date to send messages, and it’s been a lifesaver.
*Seriously. This is not typical for Brazil. It just so happens that the city we’re living in for the month has some cheap bonuses.
What are your strategies for maintaining focus while you travel? Do you prefer to stay connected on trips or unplug completely? Comment below! ↓↓