The number one reason working while traveling is hard

I have this idea in my mind that I can travel for a while, see the world and work every day, productively, almost as if the world was my home.

If you've ever tried or dreamed about work/travel, chances are you've projected this idealistic view of it as well.

Well, good news! I'm here to tell you it's possible. You can experience peak efficiency and productivity while on the road.

In fact, there are lots of factors helping you to do just that.

But, whether you realize it or not, there is one challenge, above all, that is not immediately obvious. Or at least to me, it wasn't

I can just resume work tomorrow!

So here I am one evening in Mexico, taking it easy at 8pm on a Saturday.

I get home earlier than expected and I find myself reading through some content on writing better blog posts (thanks, Ramit!). You know, like normal people do on Saturday nights... right?

And I'm thinking already that I'm proud of myself for somehow doing this productive thing unplanned.

In the video at the bottom where they discuss processes. And then it hits me.

Exactly at the root of why work-travel is hard is this: the difficulty in maintaining your existing processes.

Traveling somewhere new? Different timezone? Don't know where you're gonna sleep? Are you gonna have internet there?

Imagine getting off a plane (or out of the car, really) after heading to a different place that you know little about. Tomorrow, you were planning to work some number of hours. Presumably that's what you did yesterday.

In a way, it's kinda like being reborn: you are just thrown into this new place (well, thrown by your own choice presumably), and hey-o!! Better find your way around before sunrise when you gotta continue to achieve your goals.

All of those are challenges to sustained productivity. How can you possibly produce at your most valuable level when you have to confront so many new challenges all of a sudden? I don't know why, and it sounds ridiculous to even say it, but I thought I could just walk off the plane and resume my productive career while experiencing this new location.

Why yes, it IS possible.

And I can! How?

As most impossible things tend to become possible: by adjusting expectations and setting better processes in place.

Here are just two simple examples:

  • Be willing to spend an upfront cost and get a hotel with solid internet. This allows you to continue your productive rythm. While you're staying there and not working, you can talk to the locals and figure out a better place to stay.

  • If you're not able to do that, plan on not having your day-to-day beat just yet. Only for a day or two while you figure out how you're going to get your new routine together.

Define your own success

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