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8 Productivity Hacks Every Traveler Needs to Know

8 Productivity Hacks Every Traveler Needs to Know

I tend to work a lot. I also tend to travel a lot. Not many people get the chance to work remotely so when you do—make sure to embrace it. I’ve worked remotely on and off for the last three years and traveled to twenty countries along the way.

Friends will ask how I have the money or the time; no one gets that much vacation, do they? Well, no, of course not. I’m a working traveler, a travelling worker, or a digital nomad, if you’d like.

People complain about working while traveling; no one wants to work on their vacation, do they? But I don’t see traveling as a vacation. I find travel to be a mind-broadener, a productivity booster and a constant flow of ideas and inspiration. For me, being in the same place for a while would be considered a vacation.

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So, if you’d like to start traveling while working, here are few tips I picked up along the way.

1. Learn to love flight mode.

Frequent flyers love the comfort of isle/window seats, free booze, complimentary upgrades and of course, in-flight wifi—the blessing of blessings, the world’s way of saying you will never miss a Candy crush notification again. However, people who travel on business and spend a lot of time flying have learned to appreciate the perks of setting their phone to flight mode. When you’re unlikely to be interrupted, your brain will start to work on its own. Free of distractions, you can dedicate this time to reading (thanks Pocket), planning, or just thinking about your future plans, making a to-do list, or reflecting on a recent success or failure.

2. Make airport wifi bearable again.

Of course, as soon as you land, you’ll want to connect—to sync your notes, refresh your apps, check your email or just, humblebrag on Facebook about coming to a new city. And in case you’re one of the people who really likes their wifi like they like their coffee—immediately—you’ll need Flio, the app that will check into every major airport wifi in the world, using the data you gave it before, no more signup forms or weird passwords sent via email. In plain text, Flio is here to end your troubles.

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3. Find inspiring places to work from.

If you’re in a new city for only a few days and you really need to finish that quarterly report, at least, give yourself a break—don’t stay in one of those hotel meeting rooms / conference dungeons, find a cool rooftop or viewpoint with solid wifi and get some work done while enjoying the cityscape. You can use Foursquare to find coffeeshops with trusted reviews and Workfrom for great handpicked places to work from in a few major cities. Work doesn’t have to feel like work all the time, and your environment actually influences your productivity a lot, so make sure to find the most inspiring place to go.

4. Be the work-anywhere pro.

There’s only a few things you’ll need to work from anywhere in the world (assuming you already have a job that lets you do just that): a laptop, solid wifi or local sim card for ad hoc hotspots, a few productivity apps and a good pair of headphones to block out the distracting noises and maybe enables a few distracting noises of your own. Try Coffitivity as it recreates the ambient sounds of a cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better.

5. Save your eyes.

Changing time zones can be tricky; you’re tired and feel exhausted no matter how long you sleep. Most people change their routines with every new place they visit, which usually feels like a fresh start and gives that additional productivity boost. However, once you’re there, with all these apps, spending 8+ hours a day on your laptop, please mind your eyes—f.lux helps with just that.

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6. Take a nap.

Oh, you deserve it. There’s something about airplanes and reading, and food mixed with free booze that just makes you wanna sleep. And that’s totally okay. If you’re a morning person, you know the hidden value of naps—they make it morning again: you’re fresh, your brain is hard-wired for work and you’re in a great mood for getting things done. Every productive traveler has their own napping style—power naps, 20-minutes tops for a great refresh, coffee naps—the weird technique that seems to work.  Definitely try it next time you’re flying and let me know if it worked for you. Find your perfect nap and make use of it; just don’t forget to get some work done afterwards too.

7. Be strategic about sleep to avoid jet lag.

Some of my greatest work came from being jet lagged as hell in a tropical island and sleeping through the day while working through the night and missing out on all the fun said—you got it—no one ever. So if you want to avoid crying yourself to non-sleep once arriving to some remote place in the world, do follow a few tips to minimize the jet lag. Before your trip, keep in mind the time difference and try adjusting your sleep hour by hour—whether you wake up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later, this will help once you’ve arrived to your destination. If the onward flight is a daily flight (at the destination), do your best not to sleep through it and vice versa; if it’s considered an overnight flight at the destination, do your best to sleep during.

8. Embrace your new productivity.

Discovering new places, trying out different cuisines and being exposed to a new culture will fire up your productivity. It’s true, travel actually makes your brain grow. After just a few days in a new environment, you’ll feel more eager to work and drunk with new ideas and solutions.

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Research shows people are also more creative while traveling, and thanks to the combination of productivity and creativity, this lifestyle seems perfect for entrepreneurs. Ever wondered how those digital nomads get anything done? Now you know, they’ve found the perfect productivity recipe. If you want to be even more productive on the go, check out the productivity tools every digital nomad needs.

Featured photo credit: Work / Unsplash via images.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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