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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 September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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