I’m the girl you call if you’re looking to hit to road. Today I look at how I stay productive when I end up somewhere like, Joshua Tree.
Sometimes being productive means taking the time to disconnect. You can’t be on all the time, road trips are how I like to disconnect, I’m heading to the desert in a Mercedes Benz E400, a Samsung Galaxy Book 12, Note 8 & JD the dog I rescued in Taiwan who now lives in LA.
LA traffic is no joke, so we got on the road as quickly as possible, this meant that I wasn’t able to do as much planning for my trip as I hoped. The listing of my Airbnb said that I should bring my own firewood, obviously, I need to have a campfire if I’m going to be in the desert. I used the Concierge service with a single press of the button in my E400.
You can ask the Concierge service anything…and do mean ANYTHING! The service is called Mercedes Benz Mbrace, it’s available in Mercedes Benz vehicles 2015 and older and after the three-month trial it’s only $20 a month. That’s $20 for a PERSONAL ASSISTANT! During the drive we didn’t know the price, we assumed that only extremely rich people could afford it, I mean look at his E400…Baller! But it’s Extremely Affordable (Actually, too cheap for a personal assistant, but don’t tell Mercedes that)
To test out the system I decided to ask something a little risque, Marijuana had recently become legal for recreational use and I was curious if it was, in fact, possible to visit one of these shops as a Canadian. Since the law change was very recent, Zach had to call 6(!!) dispensaries to find one that was able to sell marijuana for recreational purposes (if you’re curious, at the time the only 2 in LA were in Santa Monica).
Zach was totally friendly, polite and didn’t bat an eye at my oddball request. Admittedly, we were looking to kill time in the horrendous LA traffic, but having someone with a computer look up where the best place to pick up firewood along our route to Joshua Tree (and even make calls to make sure that they had some in stock) was a huge time saver!
Some people call it lucky that I can work from anywhere, but really it just means that wherever I am, I’m always working. When I’m blessed with the opportunity to take the world as my office I have to make the most of every moment so that I can stop working and not miss out on life.
Like any job, my work requires endless amounts of attention so when I sit down to do work, I pick a task that’s time appropriate.
It’s easy to sit down to do 20min worth of work and look up 2 hours later and realized that all you’ve done is triage. Sometimes this is necessary, but other times to keep me feeling positive and productive I have a part of my to-do list that is segmented into how long I think a task will take me. 20Min to edit a batch of photos, 30min to write an email or an hour to finish the hardware section of a review. No matter what your job you’ll have an idea of how long certain tasks should take you.
If you’ve got a big week of travel make that list at the start and when you find your self with a certain amount of time, pick something from the list and get it done before you have to board that flight.
Something else that I take into consideration is doing different types of work at different times of day. I do analytical tasks in the morning and saving creative work for the afternoon. And personally, I like taking a quick cat nap in the afternoon it keeps me more productive and I’m refreshed at night.
I started using nap mask to time my naps, the smart sleep mask has EEG sensors and Learning technology to analyze your brainwave activity. It calms you down by figuring out what types of music help enter into your most restorative state. Then it wakes you up before you fall into deep sleep, so you avoid inertia and wake feeling refreshed.
I picked up this naptime mask which reads my brainwaves and helps me to become aware of the mental state I need to aim for to have a rested nap and it won’t let me sleep too long.
If I’m not ready for a nap but need some help focusing my mind, Headspace is an app that teaches you meditation. It’s easy to meditate in a place like this, but it’s hard to replicate the awe of nature in your day to day.
It’s important to take the time to disconnect, but do so with meaning, so when you do reconnect you and work with purpose.
When I do sit down to work in a place like this, I make sure that when the time is up I feel affirmed and not overwhelmed or disappointed with my outcome. So I make sure I pick tasks that are time appropriate, if you only have 30min, make sure you can start and finish it in that time.
Of course, it’s helpful to have the right technology with me, on this trip I choose the Samsung Galaxy Book 12, it’s not my main laptop but it’s thin, lightweight and has a good backlit keyboard that I can use to get some work done in any environment.
It’s important to have a good typing companion when you need to get real work done.
I also started using the Galaxy Note 8, this device doesn’t have a keyboard but the pen really helps to increase your productivity. I can sign documents on the go and making notes on the lock screen has become a habit.
It’s true that maybe when I end up in a place like this that I should disconnect completely, but having a very productive moment in a place like this can leave me being even more recharged than disconnecting for the weekend.
The Productive Business Traveler is a Series if you have a suggestion for something you’d like to see leave us a comment and of course feel free to check out some of our other episodes.