We just wrapped up our final leg of South East Asia by bike in Krabi, Thailand. We've cycled over 1,500km, through 17 provinces, and three countries. We've recharged in three major metropolitan cities, visited dozens of temples, two spiritual caves, one UNESCO World Heritage Site and experienced numerous strange and severe sunburns. To say the least, we've done a lot in six weeks. But amongst the chaos of culture shock and wanderlust I also kept up a small roster of clients.
I'll skip the sugar coating. It wasn't easy balancing remote work with travel but it is possible. Here are a few of my most successful working habits that kept life in balance on the road:
1. Sprints and Blocks
We created a cycling schedule that worked back from some key work days. First, I am lucky to have a team that dedicated one day per week to being online and having meetings (Thursday). This was a great time to work collaboratively with the entire team, a super valuable day for remote workers. Second, I needed a day to put my head down and get the work done prior to the Thursday meeting. My partner and I would then take these two blocks of weekly work and build a cycling schedule around them.
On those dedicated days or afternoons (depending on our schedule) I stayed inside, drank water and worked on recovering from the ride while getting everything crossed off my to-do list. The rest of the week I keep an eye on conversations and new work being developed by allowing notifications from Slack to ping through on my phone. However, barring banter and short conversations I reserved all billable hours for my designated work time. It sounds rigid, but it was important for me to draw a line between work and play in order to deliver my best. Answering a tricky question while sweaty and hungry isn't a great plan!
2. Rise and Ride
We adjusted our sleeping habits so we could ride in the cooler hours of the day. It may sound drastic but some days the temps reached 40 degrees with humidity hovering at 70%. We found a really quiet and lovely rhythm starting our days at sunrise and ending them not long after sunset. This also meant that we could do the bulk of our riding early in the day and check emails or tackle projects in the oasis of A/C in our next hotel room of the journey in the afternoon.
3. Recovery and Wifi
If projects piled up beyond my weekly allocated time blocks, for example when we launched the Savage Panda Snowboards brand a week or so back. My partner and I would plan a few extra days away from cycling in a nice city or resort. The panic of looming deadlines and big projects can ruin a ride. So if stress starts building, make a plan to pull over and lighten the load as soon as possible. This meant I had more time to focus on work, easy access to eat well and an opportunity to hit the yoga mat while planning the next move.
Have any other tips for working remotely? I'd love to hear them!