Tag

work remotely

Browsing

Work Flow Goals: The Benefits of Batchworking

BENEFITS OF BATCHWORKINGAs a Female Digital Nomad, I’ve learned a lot on the road: How to live 3 months abroad with only one carry-on suitcase, how to sleep well on a 16 hour flight, and how to get a full day’s worth of work completed in half the time.

Yep, I am 100% more productive as a Digital Nomad than I was working in an office thanks to the benefits of batchworking. And it doesn’t all stem from being inspired by new scenery or creative coworking offices, but because I have embraced batchworking as a way of life on the road balancing travel and my full-time job.

In fact, most of what I do in Digital Marketing can be “batched” one way or another. Often saving time, effort, and clutter within my work flow.

What is Batch Working?

Batchworking is a type of routine that focuses on completing a single task in the moment before moving on to the next. Essentially, it keeps both your mind organized as well as your to-do list. For example, I work in Digital Marketing so my batchworking might look similar to this:

  • Monday – Write 5 blogs
  • Tuesday – Schedule all client social media posts
  • Wednesday – Create all social media advertisements for the month
  • Thursday – Design graphics for the week to use for social media
  • Friday – Weekly reports

Of course, I do other things than listed above, but the point is that I have a specific focus for how my time is allocated. And therefore, my frame of mind is already prepared to kick ass on that goal for the day.

The Pomodoro Technique is an excellent tool for newbies to get used to batchworking and re-focus their routine.

Why is Batchworking Beneficial for Digital Nomads?

No matter how organized you are, being a Digital Nomad means your life is a little messier than others. Them’s the breaks. Living out of a suitcase, not having a “homebase,” working from different cafés each day: This is the dream (holla!) but it’s an easy transition into a life of mental messiness which affects your productivity.

Especially for someone who is naturally “all over the place” in general. I am the type of person if I don’t have lists or a clean room, I can’t focus. These are physical aspects of “messiness” that batchworking can help remedy – the clutter of your mind within the workday.

When I first began my career as a Digital Nomad, my work routine mimicked the traffic laws of Southeast Asia. Which, if you’ve been, you get the joke. HA HA – jokes on us because there are no traffic laws in Southeast Asia!

Multitasking is Not a Badge of Honor

When you boast about how many tasks you’re juggling, you’re not saying “I’m 100% owning these assignments to the best of my creative ability!” You’re actually saying, “I’m completing these assignments with moderate potential and it’s taking me longer to do so!”

Multi-tasking is the first way we work ourselves to mental fatigue, and ultimately burn out, which affects our sharpness and ability to create and solve problems in the most proficient way possible.

In an article for the the Harvard Business Review, Peter Bregman states that our productivity decreases by 40% when we focus on multiple tasks at once. And you can’t argue with Harvard… so there.

How to Get Started

So you’re ready to embrace the elite (just kidding) and begin batchworking? These were some of the things I did to get started. Trust me, I used to be a Juggler Extraordinaire and am now confident that I was wasting so many hours multitasking vs. working on one problem at a time.

  • Turn your phone off for 1 hour at a time and compeletely allow yourself to immerse your actions into the job you need to finish.
  • Take breaks. Choose a system what works best for you, but essentially work for a designated amount of time, and then take a mandatory break. I typically work on the 30/5 rule. I focus hard for 30 minutes and take a 5 minute break to stretch and take my eyes off the computer screen. I’ll repeat this pattern 4 or 5 times before allowing myself a longer break to lay down or eat a meal away from my desk.
  • Give yourself deadlines. This will begin to train your brain to estimate how long it will typically take to finish the task so you can maximize your schedule moving forward.
  • Don’t work in pajamas. Okay, this tip is 100% a personal opinion. I started doing this in college when I would dress up on exam days and I swear it helps! As a Digital Nomad, if you have a full work day or conference call, dress up! I’m sure there is a science behind it, but when you feel put-together, your brain agrees and elevates your performance. Placebo effect at its finest.

The Benefits of Batchworking You’ll Notice Immediately

Less stress trying to accomplish mutiple tasks by working inefficiently. When I could totally and wholeheartedly mark off an assignment, I felt in control and powerful. Yeah! Take THAT, to-do list!

Working less hours is one of the most noticeable benefits of batchworking – especially for Digital Nomads who don’t have the distraction of a bustling office to get you sidetracked. Immediately you will accomplish more in your typical 8 hour work day than ever before. And as a result, you will have more free time to explore the new city you’re in and play tourist for a day.

You’ll begin to know the value of your time. You know the phrase “Time is money?” Of course you do. You now see minutes as valuable time to be distincly focused and every wasted email or meeting as an opportunity to get something done.

Once you begin to value your time, you’ll position yourself so that others will respect your valuable time as well.

You’ll enjoy disconnecting. If you’re anything like me (or most millenials with office jobs) you do not find happiness when you walk away from your phone or tablet or laptop or desktop – you find unnerving anxiety if you’re missing something, like if a client or supervisor has an urgent message for you after hours. Committing to your designated work hours and then walking away from the computer once you’ve completed your assignments is probably the most freeing feeling as a remote worker.

I hope you’ll consider adopting this work routine to save time and effort! Do you have any additional tips you’ve learned while working remotely or more benefits of batchworking that I missed? Share them with me in the comments!

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

Top Digital Nomad Concerns and Fears – and How to Handle Them

most-popular-fears-digital-nomad

Congratulations! You’ve decided you’re ready begin a Digital Nomad lifestyle and are about to embark on your first long-term trip. It’s daunting, I know. Especially if you’re not self-employed and work for a company in a 9-5 setting. Not knowing what to expect or potential situations that could arise are major stressors and Digital Nomad concerns.

Questions that kept me up at night before my first trek included “How will I make calls and be in touch with my co-workers and clients overseas?” and “What if my boss resents me for being an inconvenience?”

These doubts and questions are totally normal, although many of these problems are easily solvable and MUCH less stressful than you think they will be.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

How DO I stay in touch with clients and co-workers?

top-digital-nomad-concerns

This one’s easy. There are endless programs and apps dedicated to providing seamless communication between parties, whether it’s internationally, or just in different timezones. Prior to leaving the United States, my company used a program called GoTo Meeting to communicate with clients, but since then, I’ve discovered UberConference, which has changed my life. Such clear quality (and free!) conference calls across the globe. Highly recommended.

Did you know you can make audio and video calls through Facebook for free? Well now you do. Again, Facebook Messenger calls are extremely clear, in fact, they’re clearer than when I use my regular data calls to my mom when I’m in the U.S. The easiest part is, most people already have the Facebook Messenger App already downloaded so there’s no confusing sign-up process involved.

The Time difference

First thing’s first: Manually change the time on your phone to your destination’s time zone as soon as you board the plane. This will exponentially help ease jet lag and get you in the right frame of mind once you touchdown.

As a personal preference, I have found that it’s also easier to keep my laptop clock set to EST, the timezone of the agency I work for. I have found it’s sooo much easier to open up my computer when I’m working and automatically know what time it is in the States – especially since all of my meetings are still scheduled in EST time.

Also, add the World Clock Google Calendar widget to your desktop. I spent far too many hours looking up time changes and counting forward and backward on my fingers before I learned about this secret.

Feeling Isolated

digital-nomad-chiang-mai
Meeting new people at a Chiang Mai Nomad Ladies lunch!

I am generally a pretty social gal, so you can imagine my trepidation when I realized I’d be traveling 8,000 miles away where I didn’t know a single person. The best and easiest recomendation I can give to someone in that situation is to join as many Facebook groups for expats and nomads as possible. If you’re a solo female traveler and haven’t joined the Digital Nomad Girls Facebook group yet, what are you waiting for?!

Not only will you meet and connect with fellow Nomad Ladies, but you’ll gain useful insight on things like health insurance for travelers, where to find tampons (Yep, in some countries, they aren’t plentiful), how to vote abroad, and other expert advice.

If you plan on making Chiang Mai your first trip as a Digital Nomad, join these Facebook groups first:

The Break Room

Chiang Mai Nomad Girls

Chiang Mai Digital Nomads

Nomad Coffee Club – Chiang Mai

Your Clients Hate You for Leaving

digital-nomad-concerns

Let me tell you, the Digital Nomad guilt is REAL.

Even if you complete all your necessary tasks on your to-do list, you’re going to feel guilt about not being in the office and accessible at all moments of the day by coworkers and clients.

But you know what? It’s a blessing in disguise.

I think the American work culture makes you feel like you have to be “on” at all times and always available when a client needs something and it’s simply not true. Whether you’re sitting in an office, or working from a rooftop overlooking the mountains of Thailand (like I am now) you are not required to be at the beck and call of others 24/7. And you shouldn’t feel bad about it if you decide to take a stand against it.

Now that I’m not so available, those who work with me have adapted and now respect my time more. No longer are the texts at all hours of the day interrupting me, expecting me to drop what I’m doing, but now I get consise emails outlining what specifically they need from me in a professional format.

I’ve never been so efficient as I have been while working 8,000 miles away! How crazy is that?

Company #FOMO

FOMO = Fear of Missing Out.

If you’re lucky, you get to have co-workers you become incredible friends with, like I do. FOR REAL. Come work at The Modern Connection in Charleston, SC and you’ll find a rare team of individuals who genuinely like each other and work together to create awesome projects.

But with having a bomb work culture, comes with terrible FOMO when you leave.

The most popular worries when it comes to not putting in daily face time include: not getting a promotion, your peers will respect you less, or feeling forgotten. When I decided to be a Digital Nomad full-time, the hardest part has been preparing to ask my supervisor and boss. I put some feelers out to a co-worker on Gchat about what she thinks and if there has been any animosity or noticeable difference in my work and she said:

Well other than the fact that we miss you, I don’t think there’s any difference. In fact, I feel like you being away has seriously improved your work ethic. Like you can just tell that you’re super happy in everything you do now.”

And that’s when you know you’ve made the right decision, folks.

Tuning out Distraction

digital-nomad-blog

This is a biggie. I was convinced, as were my parents, that I was going to be too distracted trying new restaurants, walking the night markets, checking out temples during the day, that I would forget my actual purpose: to work and keep earning a paycheck to afford this nomad lifestyle.

But I’ve found that it’s the complete opposite! Because I am so thankful and appreciative of this opportunity, I make sure to go above and beyond so that I can keep doing my thang around the world. Actually, I have a secret (don’t tell my boss, shhhh) I usually get the same amount of work done in about 75% of the time. Meaning, because I’m not distracted by gossiping with coworkers, taking coffee breaks, unessesary meetings that could be emails – I get an 8 hour work day finished in about 6 hours and sometimes it’s even less than that.

It turns out I had a right to be fearful of distraction as one of my Digital Nomad concerns, but it certainly wasn’t while I was traveling…

How to Turn “Off ” Work

There’s obvious benefits to leaving the 9-5 office culture, but one of the biggest drawbacks is how to draw a line between when the work day starts and when it stops. This is especially true if you work with a team in another time zone. You have to decide with your team if you will be working on your destination’s time zone, office time zone, or a mix of both. I chose the latter.

At a 12 hour time difference in Thailand, I begin my work day around 4:00pm and work until around 12:00am midnight. This gives us an overlap of 4 hours where we can communicate with each other in real time with no difficulties.

It’s important to outline your avaibility time and let everyone know when they can reach you. This will maximize efficiency, and for lack of better words, force others to write everything they need from you and your tasks in one complete email. Instead of a text here, a Gchat there, an email here, and a post-it note left on my computer there…. which was an average day when working in the office 😉

Not Having Office Materials

Meh, I’ve rarely found that this is a problem so far in my journey. That’s the best part of technology, right? Everything is digital! If you do need access to traditional office materials or machines, your best bet is to join a coworking space. For a relatively small fee, you can pay monthly or daily to work and have access to a printer, desk, private Skype rooms or conference rooms to hold meetings remotely.

I hope this eases a few of your Digital Nomad concerns and if you’re considering becoming a Digital Nomad just BUY THE TICKET ALREADY!

 

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Be a Digital Nomad

convince-your-boss-to-let-you-be-digital-nomad-1

Unless you own your own business or freelance, the biggest hurdle facing you and your dreams to becoming a Digital Nomad is most likely asking your boss for permission. 

Ultimately, working remotely is a priveledge and it’s best for everyone involved if you’re on the same page.

I did all these things to prepare to ask my boss and, thankfully, because I work with a group of kickass women, everyone was thrilled to oblige. If you’re reading these tips in preparation to ask your own employer, good luck on your first step to becoming a nomad!

chiang mai digital nomad female
I made it! Working from a rooftop in Chiang Mai.

Schedule a Meeting

Don’t go into this proposal as a casual chat by the water cooler. Firmly, yet politely, as your boss if he/she has availability to meet with you in the next week. This will give you time to prepare and create an outline of your presentation.

Request at least 30 minutes of their time so they know to expect a serious conversation and if you use an internal calendar system, add your meeting as an event so both parties don’t forget the upcoming meeting.

Create a formal proposal of what the next months of your life look like with your job involved. How will you remain in communication? Will you have high speed internet?

Have a Plan

digital nomad desk

Create a digital or printout document outlining common problems or questions regarding working remotely and have a plan of action for each obstacle.

Some aspects you will want to address include:

  • Outline your “office hours” aka will you modify your work day to be reachable in the same time zone as your company?
  • Show a list of 24 hour cafes and coworking spaces.
  • Resarch ommunication methods such as GoTo Meeting or UberConference to prove seamless reachability.
  • List the skills you will learn from from networking abroad.
  • Offer a weekly, monthly, or quarterly “catch up” session.

Answer This: How Will This Benefit the Company?

Most bosses and supervisors are only concerned with how you working remotely will benefit the company, not your own personal growth.

Confidently come prepared with answers, which should be easy because being a Digital Nomad has endless benifits for any employer!

Benefit 1: If you usually have a crazy long commute, working remotely cuts your commute time and allows you to spend more hours brainstorming or working at your computer rather than being stuck in a car or train.

Do you have a 30 minute commute to and from work?

1 hour in a car per day x 20 days a month = 20 hours a month wasted that will now be utilized!

Benefit 2: I’ve joined coffee clubs and nomad ladies lunches and have networked with intelligent like-minded entrepreneurs from all over the world!

Being a Digital Nomad has strengthened my networking and leadership skills like never before and has given me endless inspiration to take back to my office when I return.

Offer a Trial Tun

You never know if something will work until you try. Simulate a longterm nomad exprience with a short term time frame by doing suggesting a trial period. Ask to take a few weeks and work from home or do a some light traveling to nearby destinations.

Once you prove that you are just as successful as ever professionally, you will gain exponential trust with your employer to get the green light for a more permanent nomad lifestyle.

How to Handle a “No”…

If all that preparation still doesn’t work and you know in your heart becoming a digital nomad is what you want, consider taking a remote job or research freelance opportunities.

Here are some remote job ideas to work and live abroad for free.

I saved $5,000 to travel in 5 months before my adventure to Thailand, and you can too! If you’d rather try your hand at freelancing, here are some helpful websites to get started!

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

18 Tips for Staying Productive as a Digital Nomad

 Staying Productive as a Digital Nomad

If I had a nickel every time someone said to me “How do you plan on staying productive as a Digital Nomad while traveling the world? Won’t your boss notice?

Traveling abroad and working remotely isn’t easy, but it’s 100% worth it for the right person. I love being a Digital Nomad. I can’t believe that some of us lucky few get to customize our “office” and keep our jobs while exploring the world.

With that being said, it isn’t easy.

These are my favorite tips for staying productive as a Digital Nomad.

 

#18 Find coworking spaces

Do your research weeks before boarding your plane to your destination. No two coworking places are alike and you’ll need to decide which is best for you. Just be sure wherever you choose has two things: high speed wifi internet, and coffee. Trust me, that combo will be all you need to navigate this crazy Digital Nomad life.

 

#17 Set up your Wifi Internet Immediately

When you touch down in the city you’ll be living in, the first thing you need to do is purchase a sim card or portable wifi modem. Most airports have a kiosk to purchase sim cards with wifi and data plans.

I’m an AT&T customer and have used the Passport package when I’m traveling, but now purchase data sim cards at convenience stores to save money.

 

#16 Work Opposite Your Office’s Hours

Of course, you’ll have to customize this based on the needs of your work and office routine. However, I truly recommend working the opposite time of the day from office hours in their timezone. Not constantly refreshing your email inbox will allow you to accomplish more throughout the day without having to pause and respond to emails or get sidetracked throughout the day.

Your 8 hour day just transformed into a 6 hour day! That leaves more time to explore and adventure.

 

#15 Make Conference Calls

Go-To Meeting and Facetime will become your new best friends. Familiarize yourself with conference call apps to keep in touch with your team and clients. They’ll appreciate the face time (no pun intended)  and you’ll be able to assure them you’re hard at work even though not in the country.

#14 Purchase Noise Cancelling Headphones

This one is going to save your sanity if you regularly work in cafes or public spaces. It’s worth the investment to spend a little extra cash on great headphones, especially if they pull double-duty for noise-cancelling on long haul flights.

#13 Learn Google Drive

Google Drive allows you to work on documents congruently with your team at the same time. I especially use this feature when brainstorming ideas with teammates. All your changes save automatically in your Google Drive so you never have to sweat if you forgot to save your work.

#12 Use Your Notes App

Whenever I have an idea or thought that I just know I’ll forget in 5 minutes, I write a note to myself in the “notes” app in my iphone or Stickies if you use a Mac computer.

#11 Make It a Competition

Create a to-do list in 1 hour spurts. Challenge youreself to accomplish all tasks within that time frame and give yourself a small reward, like 10 minutes of Facebook time, if you “win.”
stay productive digital nomad

 

#10 Block Social Networking Sites

Speaking of Facebook reward time, this is impossible for me, as I am a Social Media Manager, but I’ve heard excellent reviews about programs like Cold Turkey and Freedom. If you need virtual blinders to keep you focused, start there.

#9 One-Tab Tt

Keep it simple and work one task at a time. If that’s naturally difficult for you as a working style, check yourself by only allowing one tab at a time. This will keep you focused on the task at hand without feeling tempted to get distracted.

#8 Make Your Desk a Home

Whether this is choosing a dedicated desk at a coworking space or working from home, create a space that feels like “home”. Include any office supplies you need, hang photos that make you happy, add a succulent for good energy and keep extra office supplies such as electronics chargers in your drawers.

#7 Hydrate

Keep a reusable water bottle with you all day. Staying hydrated keeps the brain juices flowing and also gives you an excuse to walk around and refill your bottle throughout the day. I try to drink a bottle of water for every 2 hours of work – minimum.

#6 Silence Everything

Put your phone on silent mode for 60 minutes and do nothing but work. Save yourself the distractions from Instagram and text notifications. Better yet, during certain times of the year UNICEF Tap Project donates money everytime you put your phone down. Saving the world, and being productive? It’s a win-win.

#5 Take Breaks

Every 30 minutes get up from your seat and do a light stretch. Make it a habit and you’ll notice the quick breaks will increase your stamina so you can spend more time finishing your to-do list.

#4 Log Your Time

I personally use Freshbooks to log my time and productivity. This helps me and my employer stay on the same page of where my time is being spent and on what projects and document how efficiently I am accomplishing my tasks on a day-to-day basis.

#3 Create a Personalized Playlist

How many times do you stop working to skip a song you don’t like? Prevent this pesky distraction by creating your own playlists so you love every song and won’t have to skip songs. Pandora isn’t ideal for this, but I love my personalized Spotify playlist! And for just $10 a month, you can listen to music even when you’re not connected to wifi.

#2 Know When You Work Best

Knowing if you work better as a morning person or night owl is essential. Crank out as much as you can during the times of day you are most productive and sight see the other part of the day. Since becoming a Digital Nomad, I’ve found that the 3pm – 9pm timeframe works best for me, and I can’t ever imagine going back to the 9-5 grind.

#1 Dress for Success

I am a firm believer in dressing nicely to get you in the mindset of working. In college, while other students took exams in sweatshirts and yoga pants, I always dressed professionally and I swear it helped me get better test scores. If you work from home, skip the pajamas and dress like you would if you were going into the office.

 

What is your best advice for completing tasks as a Digital Nomad? Let me know in the comments!

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!