So much choice...
The definition of environment is as follows:-
“the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.”
Every organism on this planet is designed to operate within the parameters of certain conditions. These conditions are mandatory if that organism is to reach its full potential in terms of growth, function and success. Some species can adapt, this is true, but it doesn’t negate the fact that there will always be a set of conditions that are ideal.
In the animal kingdom, things are much more simplistic. A fish that’s meant to be underwater, will not survive on the dust. So...the fish has a mind to stay in the water. Easy. Straightforward.
We are no different.
You’ll notice now that technology has moved on so vastly, that DNA scientists can look at your genome to map the optimum conditions for you, right down to your diet, exercise plan and work shift pattern even!
The trouble with us is that we can adapt to our surroundings. After generations of doing that in an attempt to manage environments that are less than ideal, we now have a million different choices to make, with no idea of what our individual needs are.
It’s like we have decision fatigue when it comes to our environment - do I work in a coworking space, do I find a cafe, do I work in a library, do I work in an apartment? What about a pub? A restaurant? The beach?
At least with a static lifestyle there’s routine right? What happens when you’re on the road and it’s imperative that you’re able to continue growing in your profession or growing your business?
D’you ever wake up some days and are just completely SICK of looking at the same four walls of your airbnb apartment? If the answer to that is yes, then it is highly likely that you still need to figure out the ‘environment’ you need to make you shine.
If the answer to that question is no, then you have already done this reflective piece of work and have formulated a repeatable routine that you carry with you wherever you are.
(Well done for that, we salute you, please leave your comments somewhere to help the rest of us who still need this enlightenment.)
So how do you do it?
Here are 3 quick tips I wish I’d known when I started this nomad journey.
Keep track of your Ultra Productive Moments
When you’re being ultra productive, take a moment to ask yourself some questions. Where were you? What work were you doing? What music was on if any? What objects did you have around? At first it seems a little obsessive, but it helps because if you want to have a consistently productive nomad lifestyle which will facilitate your work, your business and your personal projects being successful, you need to be able to replicate the conditions you thrive in as much as possible. When you’re on the move this can be pretty difficult. BUT, it’s far easier to do this when you actually know what conditions you were in on the days you were being a superstar.
You can also take quizzes to narrow things down. They’re just small tokens but they are a great start at kickstarting that process to really assess what you feel about these matters.
Trick your mind - Portable Triggers
Your brain responds to certain cues. For most people, they walk into an office and your brain, like a computer, loads up the settings you need to be productive. When you leave and you go home, your brain loads up the settings to relax. Well...that’s the theory anyway (insert research to confirm this) - You can use buildings, but you can also use personal items. We’ve mentioned this before in a blog post. Now, I have heard that super successful people (find proof) separate out the tools they use for work and the tools they use for play.
Good for them.
When we’re all rich and famous we can have an ipad for netflix, an ipad Pro for presentations. A Surface for brainstorming and a kindle for personal development.
In the meantime...there are more cost effective ways. The Tribe Team have all found their own rhythm with this; Diego has noise cancelling headphones, which he puts on when he’s ready to get some serious work done. I have a certain playlist that I play when I’m doing repetitive tasks. When I need to be creative, I play the same song over and over again. It’s weird...don’t judge me. When Julia’s work notebook comes out you know she means business.
On a side note, people are also pretty good portable triggers. They’re a bit heavy to carry in your suitcase, don’t get me wrong, but the good news is that most of the time they move themselves to a cafe, coworking space or beach. One thing we find a lot when we’re coliving together, is that we trigger each other to do work. We’ll have coworking parties like nerds with reward systems that include dinner, a glass of wine perhaps, or snacks. Seems ridiculous but by the end of the trip, you just look at the adorable faces of the group and you want to get stuff done!
All of these things become cues for you to do your best work, so in the event that you’re in an airport for example, or you are somewhere random, you’ve got a back up plan, until you’ve settled into the next tip...
Research Places that Replicate your Optimum Work Conditions
Here’s a brainwave to think about. Some cafes I’ve worked in, and I’ve become super productive. Other cafes have not inspired me anywhere near as much. I’ve found that I like a good Abba playlist, lots of space, books to be around. I'm not hugely keen on working in cafe's where people are constantly walking through - like a cafe in a shopping centre for example.
If you have a look at this picture, you'll see that one side of your brain thinks in colours and feelings (your creative side), and the other thinks in numbers and logic (your analytical side). The type of tasks you do, will trigger different parts of your brain.
So pick a place for your most important functions as a human being. You need somewhere that inspires your creativity and your strategic building functions. Somewhere that helps you get through all the tasks that are necessary but mundane. Somewhere that allows you to be focused during important calls. Somewhere that will help your brain to relax you and help you to switch off. If your selections get you out of where you sleep, that's even better.
I maintain the view that you can generally find these places wherever you go and that being more intentional about it will make your life on the road ten times easier. We should do a community-wide experiment. If you do this let us know what you think, if you don’t do this, give it a try and let us know how you get on. Again it’s all about tricking the brain. Well actually...it’s not a trick. It’s more like reprogramming. I’m going to try this as well - generally I’m a home hermit but I will try to pull my life together and see if my theory works.
I’m becoming a mad, digital nomad scientist in my old age.
If you literally just skim read this article and you know you didn’t read it all the way through, I forgive you 😜but here’s what I’ve covered in bullet points:
- Self Evaluation - Keep a track of your ultra productive moments and take note of what you did.
- Trick your mind - reprogramme your mind to respond to portable triggers that get you in working mode. People are good or you can use travel friendly equipment
- Do your research - in each place, seek out as soon as possible or before you arrive, places that will inspire you to be productive.
So if you’re having trouble staying consistently productive, try these tweaks and see what you think. Share your tips in the comments below as well and remember,
“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” - Alexander Den Heijer