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Virtual Mailbox: How to Get Your Postal Mail when Traveling Abroad

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How to Get Your Postal Mail When Traveling: Virtual Mailbox - via LiveWorkAnywhere

No one has embraced the all-digital lifestyle more than our band of globe-trotting freelancers and entrepreneurs. We run our businesses on laptops and wi-fi from beaches, villas, cruise ships…and airport terminals, parked cars, and rural bus stations.

We do everything via email, Trello, Slack, and other messaging and organizational apps. We hold conferences using Skype, Zoom or GoToMeeting. We use everything we can to stay flexible, available, and above all, free.

But the rest of the world hasn’t entirely caught up to us.

Death to Snail Mail 

No matter how hard we try, there are still companies and government agencies who insist on sending us snail mail. Paper messages that have to travel to a fixed, physical location, and that often need a prompt response. It’s the one remaining thorn in our ever-roaming paws, and for a long time there wasn’t a good solution.

You can have the post office hold your mail, but when you’re gone for weeks or months at a time the odds are good you’ll miss something important.

You can have your mail forwarded anywhere in the world, but that option has a host of problems: expensive international forwarding fees, mail that doesn’t keep up with your frequent travels and multiple destinations, the need to plan ahead instead of enjoying spontaneous trips.

You can have a friend or family member pick up your mail and look for anything important, but the privacy and reliability concerns are real.

I’ve been doing this awhile, and I’ve tried it all. The best solution I’ve found, far and away, is a virtual mailbox.  Short of not having any snail mail to begin with—which is still a dream of mine, but one the world has yet to accommodate—it’s the best thing out there when it comes to staying up to date with all of your important correspondence.

There are a few virtual mailbox services out there.  I do have a favorite, and I’ll let you know who it is in a second. First, I want to explain the concept of a virtual mailbox just so we’re all on the same page.

(Page! Get it!?…OK, moving on…)

How Virtual Mailboxes Work 

It’s pretty simple, really, like most ingenious things are. You get a mailbox and a postal address provided by your virtual mailbox service. This is a real, honest-to-goodness physical address where the USPS is perfectly happy delivering all of your mail, just like a post office box or private mailbox you can rent from the USPS or any number of private providers—except the top virtual mailbox providers give you a completely unique street address, which looks more professional and inspires a great deal more trust than a PO Box.

The big difference with a virtual mailbox service is what happens after the mail is delivered, though. Instead of simply holding your mail until you either come pick it up or have it forwarded to a new location, a virtual mailbox service opens and digitally scans your mail (ensuring complete privacy, of course), then uploads the digital images to an email inbox so you can read your mail from anywhere in the world.

You can also have your mail forwarded, of course, and packages can be sent along wherever you happen to be, too.  I find that the more we become digital, the less I need to physically forward my mail.  But this is a handy option.

A quick bulleted recap for the article skimmers:

  1. A virtual mailbox company contracts with a physical location to aggregate postal mail in one location, in multiple cities.
  2. The mail is received and the front cover of the mail is scanned.
  3. You then receive an email letting you know that the mail has arrived.

Some Types of Postal Mail You Might Receive (and don’t want to miss): 

  • Client Checks
  • Bank Statements (go digital if you can)
  • Mortgage Statements
  • Student Loan Documents
  • Legal Documents

Virtual Mailbox Signup Process

When you sign up for a virtual mailbox service, here is the signup process in action step by step:

  1. Select an address in one of the designated pick up cities.  For example I have a mailbox in New York.  I live there part-time, but I don’t have to in order to have a local address.  It can also help make your business look more official by having a local mailbox (versus PO Box) especially in a world renowned city.
  2.  Select a plan that suits your needs and budget
  3. Give out your new address to clients and agencies
  4. Receive an email when new mail is received
  5. Decide if you want to open it (have it scanned), download, delete, recycle, or forward to a physical address.

Important:  Make sure to include your MAILBOX number or the mail will not be delivered.

Virtual Mailbox Services: EarthClassMail vs. Traveling Mailbox 

I have personally tried two of the leading virtual mailbox services:

  1. EarthClassMail
  2. TravelingMailbox

EarthClassMail EarthClassMail Benefits via LiveWorkAnywhere

A catchy name and a service I used for years, EarthClassMail, offers

  • A physical address for your business
  • Mail scanning
  • Secure mail shredding and handling
  • Free physical mail storage for 30 days
  • Check deposits

Prices start at $49/month for residential and $99/month for business accounts.

See a list of virtual addresses for EarthClassMail.

TravelingMailbox 

TravelingMailbox vs. EarthClassMail via LiveWorkAnywhereTravelingMailbox offers three plans that you can pay for annually or monthly.  The lowest tier includes 40 envelope scans and 35 page scans per month, which I’ve found is usually plenty for me. The mail comes in, I get a PDF of each envelope emailed to me, and I decide what I want to happen with each envelope.

Nothing gets opened and scanned unless you select that option, so you don’t end up burning through your monthly scans on junk mail. There’s no additional cost for shredding the mail you don’t want, and forwarding mail and packages only costs $2 (plus postage fees—but by bundling your mail, Traveling Mailbox helps you save there, too).

TravelingMailbox vs. EarthClassMail via LiveWorkAnywhereIf you end up receiving more envelopes and/or needing more pages scanned than your plan covers, overage charges are only $0.25 per envelope and $0.50 per scan, and if you’re paying monthly you can switch to a higher plan if you’re expecting a higher-than-usual volume of mail in a given month.

Tip: Save the PDFs of your important mail in Dropbox, Google Drive, and/or on your computer and delete them from your Traveling Mailbox account to avoid going over your storage limit and getting hit with additional charges.

Depositing Client Checks from your Virtual Mailbox – a Quick Hack

Remarkably, I still have clients who prefer paying by check. Traveling Mailbox offers a check depositing service, where they mail your checks straight to your bank to be deposited, but they do (understandably) charge a handling fee and postage.

To get around that, I have the back and front of my incoming checks scanned then use the PDFs to deposit checks through my bank’s mobile app.

The bank keeps a copy of the check handy in case there are any issues, and I get paid without any extra fuss.

  • Client sends me a check
  • I request a scan and open the mail
  • I use my mobile phone banking app to screen capture and deposit the check directly into my bank account
  • I save pdf of the check to my dropbox
  • Lastly, I delete the scan to save space and costs
  • Done!

Which Virtual Mail Service Should You Choose?  

I’ve used both and I prefer TravelingMailbox for three reasons: it’s cheaper for most freelancers and solo travelers, it got my scanned mail to me faster, and the customer service was fantastic (surprising given that they’re the budget option, but hey—some things that seem too good really can be true!).  It may not look as sexy as EarthClassMail but it does the job!

Want to Avoid Paper Altogether?  

Tip: Use programs like Photoshop and Automator on Mac to turn PDFs into editable images.  Use your smartphone camera to make signatures and documents digital, make edits in Photoshop, and combine docs in Automator or Photoshop.

Slowly you can make your life free from snail mail and completely digital, but it starts with postal mail being virtually managed.

Unfettered Travel with TravelingMailbox

Physical mail used to be a barrier to flitting about the world while running a freelance business or entrepreneurial venture, but not any more. Traveling Mailbox is one of my favorite services as a remote working entrepreneur, and saves me tons of time, money, and stress. With my virtual mailbox in place—and virtual phone and fax services set up—I stay accessible across all channels without sacrificing my love of travel.

It sure is a sweet time to be alive and virtual!

Speaking of virtual services, check out RingCentral vs. Grasshopper – virtual phone services and faxing for mobile entrepreneurs.

Is there another service you use or recommend?  Or another hack you have to share?  Let us know in the comments below!

How to Find FAST and RELIABLE Wi-Fi Working Remotely

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Operating as a digital nomad, a freelancer, remote worker or a startup entrepreneur, finding reliable wi-fi is CRITICAL to your daily operations.  Wi-fi cannot be overlooked or underrated.  

I took off to Costa Rica in 2009 lured by the promise of wi-fi near the beach.  Little did I know at the time … the line was shared with 12 other locations (just think dial-up speeds) and the power went out regularly – and by regularly I mean 1-2x daily.  

Caution: Just because someplace offers wi-fi, it doesn’t actually mean you’re getting the type of connection that you’re used to.  

How to Find FAST and RELIABLE Wi-fi

When you set up shop and get ready to call your client for the big meeting, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper connection for the communication tool of choice.  

First thing, always check your wi-fi speed to determine the strength.  Generally speaking, you need at the very very least 1 mb download speed to be able to be functional and make a (choppy) Skype call.  

Keep in mind, this 1 mb refers to a DEDICATED connection, not shared.  It must be a consistent 1 mb or it will randomly drop the call.  You don’t want this.  

Testing your Wi-Fi Speed

Go to www.speedtest.net

You’ll see a screen that comes up.  It first detects your location and a place to “ping” a local server.  Then you’ll see BEGIN TEST.  Click Begin Test.  

speedtest-strong-reliable-wifi-remote-work-liveworkanywhere    speedtest-net-strong-wifi-liveworkanywhere

A little man will come up and your wi-fi speedometer will begin to calculate speed.  

I prefer at least 4 mb download at minimum.  Let’s be real, most of us are probably multitaskers and window or tab switchers. Having a call is one thing but you’ll need to switch back and forth to your notes.  So, make sure to have at least 4 mb dedicated (there’s that word again) speed.  

What do I mean by dedicated?  Not a shared network – or, having a limited number of connections.  If you have 10 people sharing the same 4 mb connection and one person attempts to stream a video on YouTube, he/she will hog all the bandwidth and leave you with very little or a dropped call.

Ensure the line is private and protected and that you know how many people are connecting into the same wi-fi network to avoid surprise drops and delays.

detecting wifi speed remote tools liveworkanywhere

How strong of a wi-fi connection do I actually need?

The answer to this is that it depends on what you’re actually doing.  If you’re making a Skype voice call, you need less than 1 mb (though I wouldn’t recommend ever going below 4mb).

For a Skype VIDEO call, you need 4 mb non-shared minimum in order not to have any hiccups.  I would suggest an 8mb connection if possible as your minimum target.

Here’s a handy chart you can keep with you when determining your connection speed and pairing it with the app you plan to use.

(Click image to see complete infographic)

 

Where Do I Find Strong AND Reliable Wi-Fi? 

When you go to a new city, the adventurer in you most likely doesn’t want to find your usual Starbucks.  However, coffee chains, particularly ones you know already, can offer reliable wi-fi, overpriced coffee, and a place to get things done.

1) Coffee Shops (particularly chains)  

Sometimes I just feel like having a coffee, saying hello to friends, brainstorming something creative, and not having a meeting.  For those times when I want to just enjoy local scenery or culture, I seek out a local independent coffee shop with a unique flavor and local vibe to study local culture.

But when reliability matters, I feverishly hunt down a chain location.  These vary from country to country.  A few staple chains are: Starbucks (worldwide), McDonald’s (worldwide), Burger King (Eastern Europe), Costa Coffee, Einstein Coffee (Germany).

I have yet to find a Starbucks anywhere in the world that doesn’t have good wi-fi, air conditioning, and doesn’t allow you to sit for hours at a time on your computer.  This is my number one go-to for reliability.  Tourists and large pre-work and mid-afternoon coffee drinker crowds may be your biggest noise distraction but generally speaking you can sit for hours and won’t be disturbed.  

wifi-app-example-liveworkanywhere-find-good-wifi-mobileNote:  Not all locations are identical – sometimes you’ll need to ask for the wi-fi code, and wi-fi times might be limited, so make sure to check before you plan out your meeting schedule.  But at the very least you can start out at a Starbucks to figure out your next stop(s).

Here is a list of apps for finding wi-fi while you are mobile.

A couple that I’ve found useful are Free Wi-Fi and Passwords Hacker.

If you are just in the mood for coffee, here’s a list of apps for coffee shops (and you can probably double the caffeine with wi-fi access).

2) Accommodations / Home Office 

Always always make sure where you’re staying has wi-fi – and strong wi-fi that isn’t shared with everyone.  

If you’re staying in a hostel make sure that the wi-fi is in the room, not just the common rooms, so that you can have quiet concentration time.  

If your budget allows, grab an AirBnB studio apartment with wi-fi.  It’s perfect for quiet space and your very own dedicated wi-fi.  The extra price can be worth the potential loss in business.  Make sure to ask your host to test your download/upload speeds using speedtest.net and make sure it’s not a shared line.  

3) Co-working Spaces 

Co-working spaces are popping up all over because of the need for strong, reliable wi-fi and consistent power.  For a monthly fee, you get strong wi-fi, less noise than a coffee shop or cafe (though choosing the right co-working space for this is important), a community of likeminded people (again, choosing the right place will be important to tie into a community that will be mutually beneficial for business growth), consistent power, a desk to sit in, and long working hours.  

Co-working spaces vary so it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for.  Do you want a social community?  Do you want business networking?  Do you need quiet, private space?  What kind of a community, if that’s one of your criteria, is important to you?  Do you want a fancy, upscale co-working space or one that caters more to artists?  

AnyPass can help you find the perfect space every time, especially when you are on the go and don’t have time to do the research.  It’s helpful to know what type of place you’re looking for beforehand.  

Some co-working spaces will offer you a free pass for the first time you visit.  A google search for “co-working spaces in _____ (city name)” will help guide you.  If you want to save time or if your time is limited, contact us at AnyPass and we will do the research for you so you have a place to plug into that’s right for you, right away.  

 4) Private Office Space

Co-Working spaces also offer private offices for those times when you need zero distractions.  WeWork is quickly growing into a worldwide behemoth of private office spaces that are generally affordable for market rates.

Regus is another option for worldwide office locations with a variety of options from mail handling and phone calls to desks and conference spaces.

Be sure to join the network ahead of time to ensure seamless bookings and management of spaces.

5) Private Cable Wi-Fi Networks boingo-wifi-location-types-liveworkanywhere

In the US, most people have some sort of cable network for their Internet.  We have networks like Xfinity and TimeWarner Cable (TWC).  You may be out on the desolate coast working in a van (like I was recently in Western Washington near the surf town of Westport) and still see an Xfinity network pop up.

In South Africa, you might see Free Wi-Fi or Telecom Hotspot.

Sometimes all you need to do is log in to the network or buy a day pass and you can be up and running.

Boingo is also offered at 100 million hotspots worldwide so you might see this pop up at airports or public places like shopping malls in cities around the world.   These are some sample venues of Boingo locations: Airports, Businesses, Restaurants, Hotels/Resorts, Public Spaces, Retail Spaces, Schools/Residential, Travel/Commute, Venue/Theater.

Some Unexpected Places working with wifi via carfi namibia africa 4x4 safariwifi speed carfi namibia africa

Wi-Fi isn’t limited to coffee shops or apartments.  Here is a picture of me working in Namibia, Africa, getting speeds of 21-36 mb down from a 4×4 camper with CarFi, car wi-fi that plugs into the cigarette lighter.

I mentioned my Mitsubishi Delica earlier and working from the van with a Tmobile Hotspot.  Watching the sun rise and set while spending the day by the beach are days I will never take for granted.

When not on the road, I’m often working from my houseboat in Seattle, again with a Tmobile Hotspot.

Some Cities are Better Than Others

While digital nomad cities are all the rage these days for amazing climates and inexpensive startup costs, what you’re gaining in a suntan you may be sacrificing in loss of connectivity.  

chart of public wifi speeds via statista on liveworkanywhereSource: Statista 

Based on data collected from public WiFi hotspots across 172 countries, countries in Europe are the fastest and most well connected.  

If you can afford the higher cost of living, then finding a spot in one of these countries might be to your favor.  

So where’s a great place for you to live?  

Stay tuned – we’re working on a reference chart that will help you determine the best places for you to live, based on your needs and preferences.

Where NOT to find strong wi-fi that’s consistent and reliable 

1) Independent coffee shops 

These CAN be a good bet in many cities and you absolutely can find them.  Many cities, and with good reason, find cafes are for peaceful dining and socializing.  

Here are some guides to finding wi-fi and places to work in nomad-friendly cities <link to LWA city guides>.  However, when you’re first setting up shop, try a chain first so that you can (nearly) be sure of the ability to get work done.  

2) Cheap Hotels and Hostels

While these locations may offer wi-fi, you always get what you pay for.  Party hostels are cheap because they are overcrowded, there for you to socialize (not work), and wi-fi is not considered essential.  

Mobile Wi-fi as a Backup: Mi-fi, SIM, Hotspots – even Car-Fi! 

We’ve identified where to get strong and reliable wi-fi based on the best locations.  But when you’re globe trotting you may be in some areas where there is no Starbucks, no McDonald’s, no Cable Wi-Fi network.  Sometimes there’s no cell reception and you’re forced to work offline.  But for those times when there IS cell phone reception and you are able to get data, it’s great – and highly recommended – to have a backup.

I recommend always having an unlocked hotspot with you, a local SIM card with a data plan and an unlocked mobile phone, and the ability to update your phone’s data plan in only a few clicks.

Do You Need Mobile Wi-fi?  Hotspots versus SIM cards.  

Well, that all depends.  

If you have your AirBnB studio with wi-fi, then you probably won’t need it, unless you plan to be out and about a lot.  

If you’re working from cafes with strong wi-fi that let you sit and work, you won’t need it.  

If you choose to work from your hotel / hostel room, a boat on a marina, a campsite, a mountain (with cell phone reception), a bus/train, etc then you will likely want to have mobile backup.  

wifi hotspot tmobile live work remotelyI carry around a TMobile ZTE hotspot and I also have a TMobile simple plan iPhone that I can upgrade within 2 minutes online to activate as a hotspot.  

Most cities will offer you a mobile hotspot option.  Just go to the local carrier shop and ask for a hotspot.  Generally speaking, it will cost around US $100 for the hotspot and some credits.  

If you want to spend less, then make sure your phone is unlocked and buy a local SIM card with a data plan.  You can start out this way from $20 USD and you’ll only have one device to worry about carrying around.

On the other hand, depending on how quickly you go through data, you may want to carry around a hotspot.  Data plans for phones are catching up, but hotspots as of this posting are still faster and have better data capability.

How Does Mobile Internet, or Mi-Fi Hotspot, Work? 

Mi-fi is a short term for mobile wi-fi.  Since you are mobile, or planning to be, you should consider this as an option.  

Does my mobile device work overseas?  As of this writing no.  

The reason – because it’s tied to a local cell phone carrier / company and there is high competition.  

When you go to a new country, similar to purchasing a SIM card, you would purchase a data plan with that SIM card (to have wi-fi on your phone) or you would purchase a hotspot, or mi-fi device, like my TMobile hotspot.

The hotspots (mi-fis) also have a SIM card.  Unless you plan on living in the same location for 2 years or longer, it’s best to find a hotspot with a month to month, or prepaid plan.  

Some options in the US are: TMobile, Verizon, AT&T.  

Mobile wi-fi also means being connected while in the air or in the airport.  

Services like Boingo and GoGo offer services to help you stay connected in the airport and in the air, respectively.   AnyPass automatically connects you with these services as your partners.  

Any tricks you’ve found for finding fast and reliable wi-fi that aren’t listed here?  Please share!

 

How to find strong and reliable wi-fi for remote work via liveworkanywhere

SHH! Finding a QUIET Place to work with Wifi – Get Real Work Done When Traveling

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my-office-space

When you can work anywhere, you can have almost anything at your fingertips. Sun and surf, inspirational views, a mid-afternoon glass of wine or beer (we’re not here to judge).  But when you don’t have a dedicated office—or when you’re traveling away from your home office—there’s one thing you can’t count on “anywhere” to provide: A quiet place to work with wifi to get some real work done.

The term “quiet” is relative.  You may need absolute silence, or you may need white noise.  Everyone is different, and you’ll determine what’s best for you based on your own work style.

You’re less productive when you’re stuck in a cubicle working for a boss and chatting with passerby co-workers. As a nomadic entrepreneur, you need to figure out how to be productive when you work for yourself.  You need to find a place to focus – no matter where you are in the world.  A daunting yet doable task.

Setting Up Shop 

Before we get down to the good stuff, quiet places to work with reliable wi-fi, let’s talk first about getting set up.  Let’s face it – finding a quiet place to work (particularly with good wi-fi) is not an easy task in general (which is the reason you’re reading this article).

So, let’s get set up:

1. Noise Cancelling Headphones

Imagine sitting in an airport (I bet you can) and there are people constantly walking by you.  Or you’re in a co-working space andquiet spaces to work stock photo everyone wants to come up and chat with you.

The only time that noise cancelling headphones didn’t work for me was when I was working in Buenos Aires.  I was in my own apartment, on a conference call, when suddenly, the power company started to jackhammer into the side of the building, unannounced.  The call was dropped when the power cut out… but that’s another issue.

Noise cancelling headphones won’t block out a jackhammer below you, but they will allow you to block out most background noise and allow you to focus intently on your work.  Bonus: People will see you with those giant earmuffs hugging your ears and your laser-like focus and they will tend to leave you alone.

I’ve tested dozens of in-ear headphones and regular headsets and my favorite – based on feedback from people I talk to that can actually hear me and based on the amount of background noise that’s reduced, are the Logitech USB headset.  Tip: The $30 USB headphones are even better for noise reduction than the more expensive wireless version.

2. Mobile hotspot 

Don’t you love sitting down to work in a coffee shop, ordering your coffee and biscotti and sitting down only to find out that you can’t get online?!  When you approach the barista it’s only then that they inform you that the wi-fi is down and the technician won’t be in until the following day.  Bad luck for you.

As a backup, for a nomadic entrepreneur or freelancer, a mobile wi-fi hotspot, also called mi-fi, needs to be top of your packing list.  When you don’t want to work in a coffee shop or place with wi-fi, as we’re about to get to below, you’ll need backup.

I use a Tmobile hotspot that’s pre-paid monthly and I also have a Tmobile iPhone in which I can very quickly upgrade my plan for extra gigabytes and downgrade when I no longer need the wi-fi boost.  Phones as hotspots are nearly catching up to the power of the non-phone hotspot.  However, I have both.  The phone as a hotspot is a great backup but also uses more battery power.  You never want to be without wi-fi, so I recommend both.

3. Get Comfortable, Get Power, Block Time

Quiet usually means you’ll be sitting for a little while.  So plan things like:

  • comfortable seating with back support
  • close to power outlets or power supply
  • check the hours for closing times

4. White Noise  

Get your playlist for your favorite time-to-focus music ready to go if background noise and headphones aren’t enough to keep your attention on work.

5. Plan for Interruptions 

Some people love to talk – no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  Headphones and that laser-like focus staring at your screen will detract a lot of the would-be interrupters.  But, it’s sometimes unavoidable.

One of the best lines I’ve found if someone interrupts you is to simply say you’re preparing for a meeting or that you have a deadline due.  Politely setting boundaries is great when you’re interrupted unwillingly.

Most importantly, get back to work immediately.  Don’t allow an interruption to turn into a break to check email.

Okay… Now that you’re comfy, have your wi-fi hotspot, noise-canceling headphones, are prepared for anti-breaking concentration, and you have a dedicated time where your power won’t go out or the shop won’t close – you’re ready to get into the zone.

Quiet Places to Work (Shh!) with Wi-fi 

If you’re a working traveler (or a traveling worker), here are a few spots to consider when you really need to buckle down and work.

Airports 

I love airports.  Really.  They have everything you need: Wi-fi (if not free, then through partners like Boingo), Coffee, Food, Restrooms, Seating, Power Outlets.  I don’t mind getting stuck on a long layover or even spending the night (as long as I’m prepared) because airports are a great place to work.

With a little preparation, like the noise cancelling headphones and a wi-fi hotspot, you can set up shop.  There are all strangers around you so it’s easy to be ignored.  Find a corner near a plug and get to work!

Co-Working Spaces

There’s probably no better blend of traditional business and the new world of flexible entrepreneurship than the concept of co-working.  Virtually every major city—and many smaller ones—have co-working spaces available, and they can give you an ideal place to work when you’re out seeing the world.

Just in case you aren’t aware, co-working spaces are shared office spaces where you can basically rent a desk alongside other startups, entrepreneurs, and small companies. They tend to be open-plan, modern-style offices, and let solopreneurs as well as bootstrapped startups and growing companies find affordable, dedicated space that workers on their budget.

Much of the co-working industry is geared towards companies who don’t need much dedicated space and want to split other office expenses. They also cater to local solopreneurs who don’t like working out of a home office. And most of them have the odd desk available for short-term rentals…like if you happen to be passing through or visiting for a few days and just need a quiet, professional place to set up shop.

There’s obviously a cost component to consider when it comes to co-working, but you’re virtually guaranteed a place where you can focus on work without being completely isolated. Plus you’ll have a solid WiFi connection (I can’t imagine a co-working space that doesn’t provide one), which you know is a must when you’re working on the go.

Many co-working spaces are divided into separate levels.  Traditional co-working space may also be called “hot desk” – an open floor plan surrounded by several other busy bees like yourself.

The only potential downside to this type of setup, of course, is distraction.  Community sharing is great, and valuable, but not conducive to getting real work done without interruption.

Co-Working spaces will often also have the option for a private office or the ability to rent a conference room.

If you need a quiet space to work, without distraction, then opt for the private space or the conference room.  Tip: If the conference room or office has windows, shut the door and face your back to the windows for least amount of visibility (disallowing interruptions).  If all sides are windows, make sure to wear those headphones and make little eye contact.

Coffee Shops

Wi-fi is all but ubiquitous in coffee shops these days, too. Most of them are fine with you camping out by a power outlet for hours at a time, but only if you order every couple of hours and leave a nice tip!

This might not be the best solution if you need absolute peace and quiet to get work done, but many people find the background buzz aka white noise and people-watching opportunities provide just enough distraction to keep their minds from totally wandering.

Some coffee shops have conference rooms or private rooms that you can rent or arrive early to get a good seat.

Switch it up and find a quiet coffee shop on the outskirts of town or in a new neighborhood – this is a great way to find a seat or a table, unfamiliar faces for less chitchat, and some on-hand caffeine to fool those productive hours.

Find some great crowdsourced coffee shops here.

Rent an AirBnB Studio

Renting a private room, or better yet, a studio, on AirBnb can really help you get some quiet time to yourself.  A studio allows for no roommates or distractions.

Tip: Before you book you’ll want to make sure they have good wi-fi.  To test wi-fi you can ask your potential host to go to speedtest.net.  The minimum connection I recommend is 8 gb down, but that depends on what you’re doing.  If you’re just checking emails or a simple Skype call, 4 mb is fine.  If you’re having video conferencing calls and sending files, then I recommend 20 mb.  Learn more about wi-fi speeds needed for remote work here.

The right accommodations can mean the difference between productivity and lack thereof.  The difference in cost for private versus shared will likely be the difference between less stress and business progression versus delays and less productivity.

Your Car / Boat / Van / RV 

Dead serious.  This one only works, obviously, if your travels include a personal vehicle, whether it’s your own car, a rental, or borrowed from a friend—it’s probably not worth the Uber rates 🙂

Some may object to the cramped quarters and lack of amenities provided by the typical automobile or boat, but there are actually a lot of advantages to using a four-wheeled or floating office.

First, you have total privacy. You don’t have to worry about anyone else setting up rules or causing a distraction. Your space is entirely your own, just like you had your own (small, bathroom-less) office.

Second, you can get a corner office view if you want one. A scenic overlook, the top of a midtown parking garage, on a cliff overlooking the ocean—whatever vista you want to visit, your car can get you there and give you a quiet workspace when you arrive.

Last but not least, your car (or boat, or van / RV) gives you an easy way to get connected almost anywhere. Plenty of businesses, including many big box stores, food chains, and of course coffee shops, now offer free wi-fi to anyone in range. Find a parking spot in close range and you’re good to go.

I’ve spent months working from my houseboat in Seattle, and this morning I was working from my Mitsubishi Delica overlooking the Pacific Ocean.. until the beautiful sunset.  A Tmobile hotspot and a 12-hour (okay…8-hour) battery on my Macbook Air, with a laptop table, a good 4G signal, and a latte and it’s the ultimate quiet spot – with the ultimate view.

Libraries

Once upon a time, libraries were the ultimate place to get work done. Quiet, technologically connected at a time when many businesses weren’t (albeit dialup!), and the best repositories of research material you were likely to find in any given locale. Things have changed a bit—OK, a lot—for libraries in the Internet Age, with virtually all the world’s information now at your fingertips and digital communication with all points on the globe available in your pocket.

But…

Libraries are still great places to get some work done when you need some peace and quiet in and don’t have an office to head to. Librarians are great at enforcing the “quiet” rule, and most offer free wi-fi.  Some even offer private or even soundproof study rooms to really shut out the distractions, and if you happen to want or need a book for some reason – in the age of Google, there are plenty on hand.

Public Parks and Campgrounds 

Though not always reliable wi-fi (hence the mobile hotspot backup), you can still find free networks in many city centers and even parks.  Several campgrounds have wi-fi and once again you can work from your moving vehicle or your picnic table!

If  you don’t have a hotspot or your phone doesn’t have hotspot capabilities….change that. For the traveling entrepreneur/freelancer it’ll pay for itself many times over!

Get Down to Business Without Being Tied Down to an Office

Freedom. It’s what our lifestyle is all about, and it’s what we build our working life around. It doesn’t mean we work less hard or are less productive, it just means we get more creative in the way we do things. Finding quiet places to work in every city on earth—and all the non-cities in between—is just one of the perks of the job.

These are a few solutions to the workplace solitude situation. Is your favorite on the list?  Have any other tips to share? Let me know in the comments, and tell everyone in the world where you’re posting from!

It’s Not Worth It … Death by Overworking (Karoshi)

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Ever feel your heart pounding in your chest?  Ever feel like you’re going to have a heart attack?  I know I do.  There is a term for this in Japan, they call it Karoshi.

I first learned of this term while watching “Happy”, a Netflix documentary.

Karoshi is a Japanese word literally meaning “Death by Overwork”.

I hit pause on the remote.  This is a REAL thing.  I’ve felt stress and I’ve felt my heart pounding in my chest when I am exhausted and overworked. But I never really paid full attention to it before – until I heard what can happen as a result.

  1. Mr A worked at a major snack food processing company for as long as 110 hours a week (not a month) and died from heart attack at the age of 34. His death was approved as work-related by the Labour Standards Office.
  2. Mr B, a bus driver, whose death was also approved as work-related, worked more than 3,000 hours a year. He did not have a day off in the 15 days before he had stroke at the age of 37.
  3. Mr C worked in a large printing company in Tokyo for 4,320 hours a year including night work and died from stroke at the age of 58. His widow received a workers’ compensation 14 years after her husband’s death.
  4. Ms D, a 22 year-old nurse, died from a heart attack after 34 hours’ continuous duty five times a month.
TWENTY-TWO years old?  34?  37?  Is this you?  Stress and age do have a correlation, but don’t underestimate the toll that stress can have on you.

karoshi liveworkanywhere

Causes of Work Related Stress:

  1. All-night, late-night or holiday work, both long and excessive hours. 
  2. Stress accumulated due to frustration at not being able to achieve the goals set by the company. 
  3. Forced resignation or dismissal from staff cutbacks. 
  4. Acting as the middle man for layoffs. 
This really struck me and also resonated with me – and maybe for you, too.

 

What can you do to not be a victim of Karoshi?

How to Manage Stress

1. Exercise – a lot, cardio in particular, to work the heart.
2. Force yourself to take breaks. Set a timer and get up when it goes off. Working longer hours doesn’t mean better results. Unwavering self discipline in practice will change your life.
3. Find a vice.  Hot showers, going camping, playing guitar – do something that allows you to feel Zen.
4. Diet.  What you put in your body plays a critical role in your output.  Amp up your fruits and vegetables and lower your caffeine and alcohol.
5. Take walks.  Apart from your exercise routine, get some fresh air during your work day.
6. Seek emotional balance.  Spend time with the people who lift you up and give your heart joy.
7. Meditate. 20 minutes twice per day sit quietly with your eyes closed to calm your thoughts. Mental and emotional also effect the physical self. Meditation is proven to reduce stress.

 

In short, it’s just not worth it.

________________

I had this post saved as a draft for some time.  But today, I got a message from an ex coworker’s wife saying that he had passed.  I spoke with him 12 hours ago and now he’s gone.

 

The reason, she said, is because of the first three reasons above – overworked, unachievable goals, and unforeseen dismissal for reasons not related to performance.  He was stressed about work and he had a heart attack.

 

This message all too eerily reminds me of the phone call I got in November a few years ago.  Richard was working at his desk when suddenly he had an aneurism that led to a stroke, and he instantly passed.

 

The saddest part of both of those stories?

 

They both left behind young children.  Robert has a newborn baby boy, less than 6 months old, and a daughter whom he helped with homework every night.  Richard had a four-year old daughter who considered her dad her best friend.

 

Now, because of unnecessary stress, they aren’t able to see their children grow.  They’ve left their wives behind and they have become only memories.

 

Stress is a serious thing.  No matter what path you take in life, you will always be okay.  If you find yourself in a situation where you’re overstressed, get the courage to make a change for a path with more balance.  You owe it to yourself and to your family, and to the lessons you can leave for future generations.

What Motivates Us to Work? … Not Stress

Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational (great book) says in his Ted talk that what motivates us – what really motivates us – isn’t money.

In several studies, he concluded that “most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose

Extreme overworking, trying to impress the boss, getting your life out of balance – these are not heroism.  Even a step beyond corporate slavery, it’s tragically fatal.

 

Life isn’t all about work.  It’s about feeling a sense of purpose, and making an impact.  When you create, when you give something of yourself, you want to see your work rewarded.

 

“Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort before their eyes,” Ariely says. 

 

What can you do if you aren’t feeling rewarded?  Change jobs, become your own boss.  But, do not fall into the trap of overworking and giving all of yourself, leaving your family behind, only to have your work not be rewarded.  It’s not worth it.  Wouldn’t you rather become a case study about what you accomplished?

 

Stress is manageable.  You have to work at it.  But working at reducing stress – THAT is worth it.

——

Source of case studies and causes https://www.ilo.org/safework/info/publications/WCMS_211571/lang–en/index.htm

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6 Workout Apps for Digital Nomads and Travelers

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Maintaining a consistent workout regime is easy when you’re operating on a routine – but we know the digital nomad life makes it hard to stick to the same schedule every day. New surroundings and jet lag can turn exercise into a struggle and challenge our motivations to break a sweat. No matter where you’re traveling to and how long you’re staying there, sticking to a workout routine is tough when you’re far away from your home base.

Gyms and personal trainers may not be readily available everywhere but if you have access to technology and a Wi-Fi connection there are plenty of apps that can help you kick your butt into gear. Apps are the perfect way to stick to your exercise program when you’re on the road because it allows you to workout anywhere you can stretch out, requires little equipment, and cost way less than a gym membership. Here are our picks for the top 6 Workout Apps for Digital Nomads and Travelers.

 

1. Seven
7-minute-workout-appAvailable on: iOS, Android
Cost: Free with in-app purchases to additional workouts
If squats and planks are your thing, this is the workout app for you. Seven takes you through challenging 7-minute workouts using only your body weight. Don’t let the time fool you – each workout has been scientifically designed to provide the maximum workout in the shortest amount of time. The idea is that you do each of these workouts daily; if you miss one day, you lose a “life” and losing three lives in a month means you have to start all over again. No internet connection is required once the app is downloaded and you can leave music playing in a background app so you have a beat to workout to. Everyone has 7-minutes in their day so no excuses!

 

2. Sworkit
sworkit-appAvailable on: iOS, Android
Cost: Free for lite version; paid subscription to access more content and features
When you open the app, Sworkit asks you to choose from four different areas to focus on: strength, cardio, yoga, or stretching. Then you select the workout type, how long you want to work out for, and Sworkit will guide you through the video exercise – no equipment necessary. You can also create your own custom workout by combining different exercises based on your preference and what training type you want to target. There’s also an option for a quick five-minute workout that combines a series of cardio and strength exercises for a small boost of energy to start your day.

 

3. Headspace
headspace-appAvailable on: iOS, Android
Cost: Free for basic program; paid subscription to access more content
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health so meditation should play a key part to your workout routine. Headspace walks you through guided meditation and helps you train your brain to slow down. The sessions are guided by founder Andy Puddicombe who has a voice that will easily put your mind to rest. Their free program, Take 10, is a foundational 10-session meditation that lasts 10 minutes each. It’s a great place to start if you haven’t meditated before. From there, you can transition to their paid subscriptions (monthly or yearly options) that gives you access to hundreds of hours of guided content that focuses on topics such as stress and creativity.

 

4. FitStar Personal Trainer
FitStar-Personal-Trainer-App
Available on: iOS, Android
Cost: Free for basic program; paid subscription to access more content and features
FitStar is made for workouts on the go – their programs require no equipment, little space, and can be completed in the same amount of time as a shower. If you have clothes and shoes to exercise in, you’re good to go. When you open up the app, football legend Tony Gonzalez will take you through a 7-minute fit test so that FitStar can tailor workouts based on your fitness level. The workouts combine body weight exercises like jumping jacks, high knees, and lunges to increase your heart rate and burn off those calories. The FitStar Basic program is free and includes two workouts each week from their basic ‘Get Moving’ routine and Freestyle sessions.

 

5. Gaiam’s Yoga Studio
gaiam’s-yoga-studio-app
Available on: iOS, Windows Phone
Cost: $4.59
Yoga is a total mind-body workout that can be done at a park or in your hotel room. The Yoga Studio app offers over 65 classes to challenge both the beginner and expert yogi, and allows you to select the duration of the class and area of focus (maybe a little relaxation before you hit the sheets?). A teacher commentary takes you through each of the steps so you can follow along just like an in-person class and you can schedule classes right into your calendar. One of the coolest things about this app is that you can create your own classes by selecting the poses you’d like to do and Yoga Studio will link each one based on how naturally they transition to the next. There’s over 1,700 yoga clips so the combinations are endless.

 

6. MapMyRun
mapmyrun-app
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free with in-app purchases
Running is free and can be done anywhere so it’s the perfect exercise to do when you’re traveling. With MapMyRun, you’re able to track everything from your duration, distance, calories burned, and pace. Statistics are given to you in real time and you can let the app know when to alert you once you hit a certain distance interval. With all of your runs logged, you can view your workout history and compare with past workouts. One of the benefits of MapMyRun is that it uses the built-in GPS on your phone to track your run and displays where you are on a map at all times. So if you haven’t quite memorized your running route in a new city yet, MapMyRun will show you where you are in case you get lost.

 

What workout apps do you use when you’re on the road?

Digital Nomad Quotes

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Digital Nomad Quotes for aspiring digital nomads, travelers, and anyone who seeks inspiration for travel.  Here are some quotes that will make your toes tingle and make you want to be on the road now.  Know of any other quotes?  Please add some in the comments or send us some!

1.  I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way – Carl Sandburg

I don't know where I am going but I am on my way

 

2. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list – Susan Sontag

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list

 

3. I was never going to go if I waited for someone to come with me – Laura

I was never going to go if I waited for someone to come with me

 

4. To travel is to take a journey into oneself – Danny Kaye

To travel is to take a journey into yourself

 

5. I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it – Alexander Sattler

I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it

 

6. Chris Michel – Everyone Has a Story … It’s your story, you write it.

Chris-michel---everyone-has-a-store...-write-your-own-story

 

7. A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving – Lao Tzu

11

 

8. Once a year go somewhere you’ve never been before – Dalai Lama

Once a year go somewhere you've never been before

 

9. The road you travel has twists and turns. The life of an entrepreneur has ups and downs. Hang on and enjoy the ride – Libby Tucker

The road of an entrepreneur

 

10. Every few hundred feet the world changes – Roberto Bolano

Every few hundred feet the world changes

 

11. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

 

Creating a Daily Routine to Ensure Long Term Success

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Mobility Criteria 2. Develop a Daily Routine - Liveworkanywhere

Mobility Criteria #2: Creating a Daily Routine

Want to make a real difference in your life? You can and this begins with the actions that you take each day.

When you’re in the corporate world, your days all look relatively similar:

  • Get up
  • Get dressed
  • Listen to the news
  • Go to work
  • Get coffee
  • Check your email
  • Go to a meeting at 10
  • Have lunch at 12
  • Go to another meeting at 2
  • Go home at 5

However, they’re much different when you’re no longer in the corporate world because you get to dictate your own schedule when you work for yourself. This provides an overwhelming sense of freedom as you choose where to be and when. But… you might also feel a little lost. So, leaving the corporate world to work remotely requires that you establish a routine.

“Success is made in your daily routine.”

Success is found in your daily routine

I remember when I left Adobe, trying to imitate my schedule each day. Wake up (well, roll out of bed and go to my desk), get coffee, and start working at 9 am. But, what was I supposed to work on, exactly? Should I create meetings? With whom? Should I eat lunch at 12?

I would stay up until 3 am sometimes doing work because, in my head, staying up late meant that I was being productive. But I never quite got momentum and I wasn’t sure where to focus.

I was burning the candle at both ends with unpredictable results.

It took years to learn how to establish a routine yet, looking back, I realize it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done. Creating a daily routine helps keep me focused, on track, and productive. Sure, you get to dictate your schedule, but it’s the details in your daily routine that matter.

Routine leads to success. Make your routine robotic and your life will become less chaotic. It sounds ironic, but adding discipline into your routine actually allows you to have more freedom.

What does my daily routine look like?

My Daily Routine

Though it may vary by location, especially as someone who travels around the world crossing different time zones and cultures, I have a routine that I follow each day.

My routine beings with waking up by 7:30, then exercise and meditation for 35 minutes minimum, and then setting milestones and reviewing them. If my schedule changes or I have to run out in the morning before exercising, I adjust. But I still get the most important things done.

Then, with a cup of black tea and a light breakfast, I sit down and get at it.

First – and very important – I write a to-do list. I just use Notepad or an equivalent. I’ve tried several other tools, but this one works for me and I always default to it. I think it’s because it’s quick and reliable and just easy to read.

Next, my to-do list must be prioritized and milestones set. This reduces the amount of stress I feel and really helps my focus and clarity.

I’ve actually written my routine down and taped it to my wall. I had a blue Sharpie and piece of typewriter paper. I wrote down everything I needed to do each day to keep myself on track (even feeding my cat and brushing my teeth – not kidding) and I pinned it to my door.

Here’s what my blue Sharpie’s list looked like:

  • Get up by 7:30
  • Feed Jack 
  • Brush teeth
  • Eat small snack
  • Go to the gym
  • Work out for 35 minutes, burn a minimum of 500 calories
  • Eat blend of protein and carbs, low caffeine (exercise replaces caffeine)
  • Start work by 9 am
  • Set milestones
  • Review schedule
  • Make calls 10 am – 2 pm
  • Take a break at 2 pm go for a walk to energize
  • 3-5 pm for afternoon meetings
  • 5 pm take a break
  • Have dinner at 6 pm and spend time with family / friends
  • 7-9 pm go for a walk and spend time with family / friends
  • 9-11:30 pm prepare for the following day
  • Read something inspirational before falling asleep

Of course, life doesn’t always happen on autopilot, but what I am doing is forcing myself to create a schedule and stick to it.

Creating Your Own Daily Routine

Although this is what I do, don’t overlook the importance of establishing your own routine.

I suggest you come up with your own routine and write it down. I prefer not to waste paper and to have everything in one spot, so I use Notepad or TextEdit on Mac to store my daily milestone list. But come up with what works best for you.

I do want to note that there are a ton of productivity tools out there (Evernote, Reminder List, and tons of apps). Not that these aren’t good tools, but to manage yourself and your daily routine, you really just need something simple. By the time you learn to use a ‘tool,’ you will have wasted time you could have spent taking care of 5 items from your list. Notepad is just quick and what I call an anti- procrastinator.

(Note: Writing on a physical notepad works even better for committing thoughts to memory via the electromagnetic impulses in your fingers.)

Now, just do the routine for the habit-forming 21 days and you will start to do it without thinking. If you get off track, go back to your note.

But the important thing is, don’t delay. Create your list – and follow it.

With a posted routine, can you still be spontaneous? Yep. Can you go to your daughter’s soccer game? Yep. Just prepare your schedule in advance so you can arrange and rearrange and plan around it.

But most important is setting aside time to create and check in. Healthy body and healthy mind are of utmost importance. Find 4 hours per day. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Venice. You can find 4 hours to keep yourself on track.

Also, monitor what you do in your spare time. It’s good to be spontaneous but what you do in your spare time, how you choose to spend your time and with whom, is an indicator of your success.

We’ll get into more later about your routine and dissect your day but, for now, just remember routine is key. It may sound robotic but it’s a way to build routine into your day and to manage yourself and your life.

Go back to that list, often! Check in with yourself.

Tips for Daily Routine Success

Once you’ve established a routine, scripted it out, and learned how to have the discipline to follow your script, it helps to do some other things to help make the process easier.

Some of my best tips for daily routine success include:

  1. Go to bed early. Early to bed, early to rise. This keeps you out of trouble and helps you stay focused and fresh. The first thoughts of the day are most important.
  1. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Do not try to be a ‘useless hero‘. Get sleep every night. Good sleep. It makes a huge difference. Burning yourself out helps no one.
  1. Exercise each day. Make this the first thing you do each morning (instead of drinking coffee). Aim for 35 minutes minimum, shortly after you wake up. No excuses. Do it for 21 days and you’ll notice the difference. Remember: Your physical health feeds your mental health. For me, this involves taking a walk, after which I am able to sit down, make a list of my milestones, and bust out the next 4-5 hours of hard, focused work.
  1. Meditate each day. Some people prefer to meditate upon waking up. For me, this doesn’t work. Instead, I meditate and prepare for the coming day during my daily morning walk or exercise because this is when my mind is most open to creative ideas and better able to focus. During the day, when my mind needs a break from stress or fatigue, I take another walk or listen to a meditation app and take the time to slow my heart rate and mind.
  1. Study each day. What you feed your mind is critical. Listen to audiobooks or read on Kindle. Consider business books or think about new skills you want to learn or practice. Reading in the morning stimulates creativity for later in the day and reading before you go to bed helps the mind stay focused and learning while you sleep. Steven Covey says that everything we know has a half-life of two years, so you must constantly be upgrading and sharpening your skills if you want to stay on top of your game and keep your business competitive.
  1. Break tasks into milestones. As you’ve learned in the milestones post, you want to break your tasks into achievable chunks. Then, accomplish those tasks. If one takes too long, break it into smaller, more achievable tasks.
  1. Think through your workflow. Think through your milestones in your head before you even sit down to produce. Envision yourself having a successful day. Visualize yourself accomplishing your milestones. Then execute like a boss.
  1. Put a time limit on tasks. Forced deadlines help you get focused. That’s why it is beneficial to time yourself. Can you get that project done in 30 minutes? Try it. Do the best you can.
  1. Don’t be a perfectionist. Perfectionists tend to either get termed lazy or uptight – neither of which is going to help you. Instead, set deadlines to let go of the sense of “perfect makes done.” DONE makes done. The more you time yourself to get things done in a limited period of time, the better you’ll train yourself over time to produce – and in a way that is satisfactory to you.
  1. Practice self-discipline. The most important aspect of being an entrepreneur, especially a traveling entrepreneur, is self-discipline. It is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. Follow your list. If you have an off day, it’s okay. Just don’t let it turn into two days. Get up and get back in routine as quickly as possible.
  1. Extinguish negativity. You only have so many hours in the day. Don’t get caught up in drama or in things that won’t move you forward. Don’t let other people, especially negative people, rule your thoughts during your day. Every second of the day belongs to you; it is your time, choose it carefully and selfishly. If you do have to interact with negativity, prep yourself beforehand and decide how you’ll handle the situation, how you’ll steer yourself back into focus. A little mental preparation before a tough situation can have a very powerful effect on the outcome.

Overnight successes take years on average. What every success story has in common is commitment. Never give up, ever.

Success is made in your daily routine.

This is one of 15 articles, each one addressing the 15 different mobility criteria necessary to live and work anywhere. To learn more about the remaining mobility criteria, click here

Create Daily Milestones from Daily, Weekly, & Monthly Goals

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Mobility Criteria 1. Create Daily Milestones - Liveworkanywhere

Mobility Criteria #1: Create Daily Milestones 

Do you use Evernote, Trello, iPhone apps, or some other list-creating resource?

There are so many apps and blogs and posts about how we can create and check off our lists BUT…

We don’t always focus on list prioritization so we don’t get done the things we need to get done.

And even when we do, it’s still just one big long list that seems like an endless abyss.

That’s why it is important to create milestones. Daily, weekly, and monthly milestones.

What are milestones and how are they different than goals?

Milestones vs Goals

If your list has tasks like “release feature 3.0,” that’s a GOAL.

Instead, a milestone is something you can achieve that day. A milestone is also broken into tasks.

Let’s look at an example:

GOAL (30 days) = Release feature 3.0

Milestone (today) = Set up new project in git

Tasks (supporting the milestone) =

  • copy folder into local Sites directory
  • create new git repository
  • link local folder to online git repository

See the difference?

Basically, goals are long-term ideas of what you want to accomplish and milestones are the steps that you’re going to take to get there.

It’s About Hitting Goals

Milestones ultimately help you hit your goals.

One way to do this is to start with the end in mind and work backwards (see Steven Covey’s 2nd habit).

So…think about your business goals. What’s important to achieve this year? This month? This week? Now the tiniest chunk…today?

What can you do today that will have an impact on your business and move it forward?

Remember we are aiming for success, so you want to make your milestones achievable.

If your milestones aren’t achievable or feel overwhelming, then they are too big. Reduce them until they are the right size for you to accomplish them.

Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Sure, you might not get everything done on your to-do list, but getting 3 things accomplished is much better than getting 6 things half-finished all because you were trying to rope the moon.

Success Begets Success

Setting achievable milestones is also important in order to feel “done” or that you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day.

This makes you want to have that feeling over and over again so, in that way, success begets success.

Plus, there’s nothing more rewarding than deleting a task or milestone because you’ve accomplished it.

It’s done. No looking back.

You’ll sleep better, have more peace, and less stress.

Remove Guilt

Feeling overwhelmed and under-accomplished will kill you so you also have to remove guilt if you don’t accomplish every milestone you’ve set for yourself.

Things happen. If you can’t achieve them, just put them on tomorrow’s milestone list, and start over. Forgive yourself and move on.

This is important!

I am a perfectionist and a hard worker. If I can’t accomplish something, sometimes I take it personally. But we are human. We all fall. The important thing is to get back up and keep on going.

No strings. No emotion. Just get back in the ring. The sooner the better.

Are you ready to start creating your own daily, weekly, and monthly milestones?

Practical Exercise: Create Your Own Milestones

You are probably full of energy, ideas, and to-do’s that have been bubbling in your head as you’ve been reading. Now is the time to write them down and then narrow down the list.

Ask yourself: What’s been lingering that if you just took the time to get it done today you’d 1) feel better and 2) be able to focus on your other pressing milestones that you want and need to get to?

Right now, I want you to take out a piece of paper or your device and write:

What are my milestones today?

  1.  _________________________
  2.  _________________________
  3.  _________________________
  4.  _________________________

(Remember: Milestones must be achievable.)

Here’s an example list I’ve had:

Milestones today:

  1. Call / arrange the dentist (been waiting on this one forever even though it only takes 5 minutes!)
  2. Call Raj and ask about his schedule for tomorrow and Friday, lock in interview time
  3. Call Aweber and ask about transferring existing subscriptions
  4. Release Father’s Day campaign for Beer2Buds

These are small tasks, but they are each profound. Let’s take a deeper look at each one and why it was so important to my success…

  1. Health. If we don’t prioritize things like health they will come back to haunt us later.
  2. Meetings. This meeting was for hiring a new employee to do sales/biz dev.
  3. Task management. Calling a provider and technical setup for my user base.
  4. Business Development. Crafted and launched a newsletter, outbound content marketing to drive inbound sales.

Even though each one was important, notice that I didn’t add things that took more than 2 hours maximum and, at minimum, 5 minutes.

Now that you have your milestones set, commit to achieving them first thing in the morning.

Use Your Mornings to Your Advantage

Your most important part of the day is the morning. You’re freshest, your mind is the clearest, and you have the most energy.

After 4-5 hours of hard core productivity, your battery will start to run low. So use the time when you’re at your highest energy to accomplish those milestones.

If, once these are accomplished, you want to take on more, by all means do. But what we’re trying to avoid here is burnout or creating an endless list that will not get done.

What we’re also trying to accomplish is the creation of successful habits. Feeling good, feeling accomplished, having enough rest to keep your mind fresh for the next set of milestones.

We want achievable goals that we can reach in one day. If a task is longer than 2 hours, it’s too big. Break it down into smaller pieces.

Do this and, at the end of the day, you feel accomplished for what you’ve been able to do versus overwhelmed by what hasn’t gotten done. Then, do the same for tomorrow.

Having a hard time staying focused on hitting your milestones?

Refer Back to the List

When I get distracted or sidetracked, as often happens, I remember I have a list. I refer back to it and, in all her glory, there she is, telling me what to do.

I’m instantly back on track.

The beauty about having it written down? Have you ever found yourself in this scenario:

You’re hard at work. You’ve had your caffeine, read you’re online motivation, and you’re fired up, ready to get at it.

About 45 minutes into your hard work, your co-worker walks in. He got a haircut and a piercing. You comment on it.

“How was your weekend?” you ask. And it begins.

Thirty minutes later, ugh, you’re wondering, “What was I gonna do again?”

You’re adjusting in your seat. You take a bathroom break. “What was I gonna do again?”

Twenty minutes later the mailman comes. Your new Kindle arrived. Yes! You can’t play with it now because you have a meeting in 20 minutes. But you open it, turn it on, and show it off. Then you diligently put it away.

After your meeting, you sit down. The client was angry. You’re exhausted. You stare at your screen. “What was I gonna do again?”

“Oh yea, eat lunch.”

Before you know it, the day is gone and you’re left with nothing done.

Now…this is what a day looks like when you’re being productive, in the same scenario:

Each time you ask the question “What was I gonna do again?” you Ctrl+Tab back to your notepad.

There is your list. You read it and it refocuses you.

You are now back on track.

Manage yourself by what you wrote in the morning when you were in your most creative and productive zone.

Crack the whip on yourself! If you want to, say “yeehaw, back in the saddle again” each time. Or not. It’s up to you.

But when you create daily, weekly, and monthly milestones—and meet them—you’ll feel that kind of excitement!

This is one of 15 articles, each one addressing the 15 different mobility criteria necessary to live and work anywhere. To learn more about the remaining mobility criteria, click here

Getting Comfortable on a Plane: How to Pack, Where to Sit, & More

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Getting comfortable on a plane - how to live and work anywhere

Getting Comfortable on a Plane – Some Handy Tips

When you’re traveling around the world, living and working from anywhere, you’ll likely find yourself on a plane once or twice, if not hundreds of times. And while it’s great to be able to use this mode of transportation to get wherever it is you want to go, flying isn’t always the most comfortable way to move about – especially on long flights.

Fortunately, there are a few different things you can do to make your air-based travels less daunting and more enjoyable. This starts with learning how to pack, where to sit, and other valuable tips that will make it easier (and more fun) to get from where you are now to wherever it is you want to be.

Getting comfortable on a plane starts with packing first…

How to Pack

Pack Lightly

Your primary goal should be to not bring too much with you on the plane.  The easier you can slip in and out of your seat without worrying about grabbing or tripping over all of your things, the more efficient and less stressful both your trip and your neighbor’s will be.

Focus on Necessities

So, what should you pack in your carry-on so you can travel comfortably without taking a bunch of things you don’t necessarily need?

For starters, you want to make sure you have your airline ticket, passport or visa (if applicable), driver’s license, money, medical card, and any other documentation you need on hand for your travels.

You also want to make sure you have any medications you’ll need with you, including anything you take over the counter.

Carry enough money to get you to and from the airport and to buy some food.  Always make sure to have at least one credit/debit card (2 or more is better in case one is lost/stolen/not working).

Eye masks are great if you plan on sleeping during the flight, along with earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. A travel pillow can provide your neck some much needed support (Alaska Airlines and some other flights will have adjustable headrests, so you might want to check before taking your own pillow), and you might want to consider an inflatable footrest to enhance the comfort of your legs (or rest them on top of your carry on).

Clothing

As far as clothing is concerned, take an extra pair of socks in case it gets cold on the plane.

You also want to have a sweatshirt or light jacket in case it gets cold. Plus, it doubles as an extra blanket and/or pillow that doesn’t take up any additional room.

Throw in an extra pair of underwear and a clean shirt as well in your carry on.  If your luggage is somehow misplaced, it will at least make you feel a little better to put on some fresh clothes after a long day of travel.

Distractions

You also want to have a few things with you to occupy your flight time. This could include work, some downloaded movies or podcasts on your smartphone or tablet, or even your favorite game apps. Some airlines do offer in-flight TV and Internet services, but not all of the planes are equipped with them, so you want to have your own activities available in case you find that you are traveling on one of them.

Food & Beverage

Some healthy snacks are great to throw in your carry-on in the event that you get hungry and your flight doesn’t include meals or you didn’t have time to grab something in between flights. A few to consider include trail mix, fruit, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or cheese and crackers.

You can’t bring beverages from home due to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations, but you can always pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on and just fill it at an airport drinking fountain after you get through security. This one simple move can save you some cash and is good for the environment.

A Few Bonus Items – Staying Fresh

Anti-bacterial hand gel is nice to have on hand as germs can spread quite easily in both airport and plane settings. You might also want to pack some lip balm and hand lotion as the air in planes can be very dry, especially on long flights.

Speaking of long flights, taking toothpaste and a toothbrush will allow you to freshen your mouth before you land… which allows you to feel fresh all around.  Deodorant is a must and so are wet towelettes which can go a long way in lieu of a shower.

Now that you’ve got everything you need, let’s talk about where to sit…

Where to Sit

Most airlines allow you to pick your seats when you purchase your tickets. If you’re flying on one of them and you can, try to find a seat that has no passenger next to you so you have more room (although, this can change if the flight fills up).

However, if you’re on an airline that doesn’t allow you to preselect your seat, then at least check in online as early as you can (usually 24 hours before the flight is scheduled to depart) so you can choose your seat then.

The seat that is best for you depends on a number of different factors, such as where you’re going, how long of a flight, and also your body type. I almost always pick a window seat toward the front of the aircraft. That way, if the flight is crowded, especially on shorter-duration flights, I can get off quicker once we land.

But if the flight is 10 hours or more, then it really doesn’t matter how quickly you plan to exit the plane, so where you sit matters a little less. Ideally, you probably want to choose one closer to the bathroom, but you don’t want to be so close to it that people are constantly moving around you, opening and closing the lavatory door (with sometimes unpleasant odors).

The aisle seat is great for a short flight but, if you have any part of you sticking out into the aisle, you will get bumped. This is true whether it is by one of the restless passengers that is going for a mid-flight walk or the infamous drink and food cart that has been known to strike more than a few funny bones and knees.

If you plan to sleep on your flight, the window seat is your best option as, in addition to not getting bumped, you also have a place to lay your head (If you’re a sleeper who drools, your seatmate will appreciate this tremendously!).

Some people prefer exit row seats thanks to the extra leg room, which is nice, especially if you are tall. I find that flying standby on a buddy pass will sometimes land you in one of these seats at no extra cost.

And even with short legs, this row of seats can often make for a nicer flight. But be aware that the seats in these rows don’t recline, so if that feature is important to you, then you might want to stick with a regular seat option.

Wherever you are sitting, if the flight is not full and you want a different seat, just ask the flight attendant if you can move once everyone has boarded. Or, if you have a few extra dollars and want to upgrade, you can always go for economy comfort or first class and enjoy the perks that those particular sections of the plane have to offer.

What else should you know when traveling comfortably, whether you’re flying internationally or domestic?

Additional Flying Tips for Increased Comfort on Your Plane Ride

Some other tips to consider when flying on an airplane include:

  • Start your travels well-rested. Although it may sound like spending your in-air time sleeping is a great idea, it doesn’t always work that way. So, the more sleep you have beforehand, the easier it will be for you to handle the stresses related to both short and long-term travel.
  • Start hydrating before you go. Begin drinking extra fluids a couple of days before you go as travel can be very dehydrating. Water is the best choice (don’t forget to bring a bottle with you and fill up after passing through security)
  • Wear loose clothing. Remember: the longer the flight, the more comfortable you want your clothing to be.
  • To avoid the ugly arm rest fight, place your sweatshirt or jacket inside your seat and rest part of it on the armrest between you and the passenger next to you. That way you’re not spending your entire flight fighting for elbow space.
  • Get up and walk around a bit. Ideally, you want to do this every hour or so (particularly when on long flights) to keep your circulation flowing.

Finally, if you travel a lot, it may be worth it to stick to just one airline so you can earn their specific perks, such as free upgrades and early boarding.

If you have a lot of experience traveling on a plane, what are some tricks that you’ve learned to make your flights more comfortable? Please share in the comments below!

Top Digital Nomad Friendly Airports Worldwide

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The Digital Nomad’s Guide to the Top Airports in the World

One of the great things about being a digital nomad and living and working anywhere is that you get to travel. Of course, this

means spending time in various airports as you go from one glorious destination to the next. So, which ones are best when it

comes to keeping in touch with your business, family, and friends?

Here are some favorites for digital nomads from around the world, as well as what to expect when you are in them:

 

Budapest Airport – Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Airport offers free Wi-Fi for the first two hours you are there. And if you need to print something, you can do so by using

their passenger lounges. They even supply meeting rooms if  you happen to be there at the same time as someone else on your

team and want to find a quiet place to chat about work.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Budapest.jpg

 

O’Hare International Airport – Chicago, Illinois

Find yourself at O’Hare in Chicago and you will enjoy the first 20 minutes of Wi-Fi free, with the option to pay $6.95 for an

additional 24 hours of service through Boingo, which means that you can access Internet through any of their locations during

that time period. If you need to power up any of your devices, there are numerous charging stations located throughout terminals

1, 2, 3, and 5. Plus, download the FlySmart app and you can find all of their amenities and services rather easily.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Chicago

 

Heathrow Airport – London, England

Heathrow offers four hours of Wi-Fi free, even offering an additional four hours at no extra charge if you join their Heathrow

Rewards loyalty program. They also have pay-as-you-go computer desks scattered throughout the airport, if that helps. If you

want to print anything, you’ll have to do so before going through security though as there aren’t any public printers available

after that point.

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Austin-Bergstrom International Airport – Austin, Texas

Austin-Bergstrom gives you 90 consecutive minutes of Wi-Fi free per day through Boingo. To purchase more time, the rate for

24 hours is $7.95, or you can get Boingo Unlimited for a couple bucks more, or $9.95 per month. You might even want to stop

at Knot Anymore Massage (by gate 13) while you are there and get out all of the kinks that travel can sometimes create.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Austin

 

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Bangkok, Thailand

This airport offers two hours of free Wi-Fi daily, which gives you some time to catch up on emails or send notes to various

members of your team. You may also want to visit their Internet Café if you want to use their computer systems and not take

the time to set up your own.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Bangkok.jpg

 

Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport – Seattle, Washington

If you’re lucky enough to spend time in the Seattle airport, you will have access to free Wi-Fi, as well as under-your-seat power

outlets available at most every gate. They also offer MP3 chargers at various kiosks in the concourses. And if you want an

Internet-enabled phone, you can rent one for $0.35 per minute (there is a $5 minimum for this service).

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Seattle.jpg

 

New Delhi Indira Ghandi Airport – New Delhi, India

New Delhi airport offers Wi-Fi a number of ways. For instance, if you have a Boingo account, you can simply log in through them.

You can also purchase a paid plan at 99 INR for one hour or 199 INR for three hours or obtain a scratch card from the

Lounge/Counter located inside the terminal. And if you have to switch airports while there, they offer a complimentary shuttle bus

that runs between domestic and international airports.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_New Delhi

 

 

McCarran International Airport – Las Vegas, Nevada

McCarran allows you to check in for your flight right from your mobile phone. It also offers free Wi-Fi in all public areas of the

airport. Don’t forget to take a break from working while you are there and put a couple coins in their in-airport slot machines. Who

knows? You may just win enough to fund your next travel adventure!

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Las Vegas.jpg

 

Incheon International Airport – Seoul, South Korea

At Incheon, you can rent a mobile phone if you’d like, or send a package or letter via their in-terminal postal services. You get

free Wi-Fi as well, which makes this airport great for all types of business and communication purposes.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Seoul.jpg

 

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) – San Franciso, California

Free Wi-Fi is also available at SFO, with work stations and power outlets located throughout the terminals (some near the food

court so you can replenish your energy physically as well as electronically). It’s almost like having your own office space, just

make sure you don’t leave anything behind.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_San Franciso

 

Schönefeld Airport and Tegel Airport – Berlin, Germany

Stop at either Schönefeld Airport or Tegel Airport in Berlin and you can quickly know where all of their services and amenities are

through an app, which is available through ITunes or Google Play. As far as Wi-Fi is concerned, only your first hour is free, but

that may be enough time to catch up quickly before taking your next flight.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Berlin

 

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) – New York, New York

At JFK, there are a number of ways you can get Internet access. For instance, you can pay hourly ($4.95 per hour) or daily

($7.95 per day). They also have a monthly subscription option for $9.95 if you want unlimited access to various spots around the

globe. Additionally, there are charging stations available pre- and post-security so you can power up your devices pretty much

anywhere in the airport.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_New York

 

Kuala Lumpur International Airport – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur offers three hours of free Wi-Fi in most areas of the airport. They also have multimedia phone kiosks which give

you access to the web as well. They even have pay phones if you have any calls to make, or postal services if there is something

you need to send something out via regular mail.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Kuala Lumpur.jpg

 

Barcelona-El Prat Airport – Barcelona, Spain

Travel through Barceloa-El Prat Airport and you will only get 15 minutes free Wi-Fi, whether you are in terminal 1 or terminal 2.

So, while this particular location doesn’t exactly give you a lot of no-cost time to keep in touch, it does give you some if there is an

important message that needs to be sent out or if you quickly want to check your inbox.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Barcelona

 

Mexico City International Airport – Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City International Airport offers cell phone services and postal services, but it doesn’t seem to offer any type of Internet

service. In other words, don’t expect to get too much business done if you wind up here, that is, unless you have your own

Internet connection device.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Mexico City

 

Tallinn Airport – Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn Airport not only offers free Wi-Fi, they also have 14 different kiosks you can use if you prefer to keep your laptop in its

case. And if you want to conduct your business in a quieter location away from the normal hustle and bustle of the airport, you

can gain access to their business class Nordea Lounge for €30.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Tallinn

 

There you have it, your digital nomad guide to some of the top airports in the world. Now the only question you have to answer is

which one you’re going to go to first!