Home » Blog » Remote Year

Category: Remote Year

How to build a daily routine and travel the world: Part One.

I’ve been preparing for Remote Year for about a year, and now I have a little over a month before I leave.

(For those of you that missed it, on June 1st I’ll be embarking on the journey of a lifetime through Remote Year – a program where I’ll continue to work with all you incredible people, but remotely, and from a different country around the world every single month. www.remoteyear.com)

People keep asking me if I’m excited. In the words of a well traveled and wise friend:

“You’ll be excited after you’ve been there like a month.”

I’m finding this to be true thus far. Right now there is just too much to do to allow myself to feel any excitement. Vaccines, Passport renewals, Visas, Travel Insurance, flight tickets, credit cards, mobile plans/SIM cards, a range of other boring things, and mentally and emotionally preparing to leave my friends, family, and my dog (who is my life co-pilot)……

Fortunately, a large part of a freelance web developer’s job revolves around breaking down large projects into actionable steps/timelines.

This is kind of my jam.

I’m finding myself diving even further into my work, as it will remain the backbone of my daily routine in my life over the next year. I’m thankful that I’ve already been working remotely for 3+ years, and thus already used to creating and maintaining a daily routine.

Having a routine as a freelancer is KEY, and after several years of trial and error, this is what I’ve found works the best for me:

SP Creative’s Pre-Remote Year Daily Routine

  • 7:00 – 8:00AM
    • Wake up (never by alarm….this is just when I wake up, it’s weird).
  • 8:00 – 10:00AM
    • Take Doggo on looooong walk. Make/eat breakfast. Play with doggo. Stretch and drink tea.
  • 10:00AM – 1PM
    • Work.Work.Work. I like to start by reviewing/editing my Master To-Do List. I have a list of all my active projects, and the tasks that need to by managed within all of those projects.
      • I review the list each morning, and make a new list of things that I want to accomplish that day.
      • I usually start by spending a few minutes on higher-level admin stuff, then touch base with my clients (if need be), and then dive into the actual design/coding work.
        • I will probably write another post at some point that goes into this in more detail for anyone interested in freelancing.
  • 1:00 – 2:00PM
    • Make/Eat lunch. Take doggo on a long walk.
  • 2:00 – 6:00pm
    • Work.Work.Work.
    • Towards the end of the day, I make sure to update my master to-do list, and reply to any client emails that I’ve received that afternoon.
  • 6:00PM
    • Take doggo on a run.
      • If it’s not a running day (we run 4 days a week), we will either go on another walk, or go to the dog park.
  • 6:45PM
    • Stretch/shower
  • 7:30 – 10:00PM
    • Fix dinner and/or socialize with friends and family
  • 10:30PM
    • Sleep.

There it is. That’s the routine that has served me well for over 3 years. I’m assuming that it’s not all that different from most traditional jobs, although I tend to work from a myriad of different places (home, coffee shops, co-working spaces, friend’s houses, in the passenger seat of a van while traveling across the country, etc.) The only noticeable difference in the past few years has been switching my running from the mornings to the evenings, because frankly I just want to relax in the mornings.

I’m interested in how I’ll need to adapt my routine for Remote Year. I have often traveled while I work (one of the perks to freelancing), although not to this extent. I’m also incredibly excited to be traveling/working with 50+ other talented remote workers. One of the down-sides to freelancing is that I rarely get to work around other developers and designers. There is SO MUCH that you can learn from others in the field (and outside of the field), so I am GREATLY looking forward to honing my skills by being around some other coders, and learning about the ways they are most productive as remote workers!

Have you found a routine that works for you, and have you been able to stick to it while traveling? Tell me about it in the comments, and/or subscribe to my list to follow the trip!

-SP

REMOTE YEAR AND FEAR: TAMING THE MIGHTY BEAST

Hey all. Let’s have some real talk today.

On June 1st I’ll be embarking on the journey of a lifetime through Remote Year – a program where I’ll continue to work with all you incredible people, but remotely, and from a different country around the world every single month. (www.remoteyear.com)

I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how excited I am about all the incredible things I’ll learn and be able to translate into my career.

But I’ve never done anything like this before, ever. And if I’m honest, it scares me to death (which is another reason I am encouraged to do it! but the fear is still there).  So to prepare, I’ve found myself a pretty great therapist (if you’re ever reading this Jon*: you’re great!) who has been helping me develop a pretty awesome “toolbox” of coping strategies to combat the anxiety and stress of such a life-changing event.

My favorite take-away from these sessions comes out of a CBT strategy (Cognitive Behavior Therapy),  which teaches you to challenge your thoughts, identify what they trigger emotionally, and (eventually) separate the thought from the negative mental/emotional reactions.

I love this because A) it has steps/goals, and B) there are worksheets!

To start retraining my brain, Jon gave me a CBT worksheet that I was to use whenever I started to get anxious. For those reading this that are endeavoring to do something that scares the crap out of them (which you totally should), or anyone who just generally gets stressed by adulting, I am publicly sharing (…on the internet) an actual instance of my own CBT worksheet (because what could possibly go wrong with that?).


CBT Thought Record:

Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with?

I’m at home by myself.

Emotion or feeling. Rate 0-100%

Fear and anxiety. Shortness of breath, tightness in chest. 90%

Negative automatic thought: What thoughts were going through your mind?

I can’t do this. I will fail. I will run out of money on Remote Year. I will have to come home and somehow it will ruin my life.

Evidence that supports the thought. What facts support the truthfulness of this thought or image?

Different client scopes mean that my income is inconsistently scheduled, and I’m still building my bookkeeping/accounting skills.  Also I have a HUGE amount of things to pay for/purchase before Remote Year.

Evidence that does not support the thought: What experiences indicate that this thought is not completely true all of the time? If my best friend has this thought, that would I tell them?

I am incredibly good at what I do, and my business is growing exponentially because of it. I have an incredible support system through my friends and family, and I’m prepping in every way I can. Also I have a launch plan in place to help market my business.

Alternative thought: Write a new thought which takes into account the evidence for and against the original thought.

Things are hard right now, but I am scrappy AF! This is my life that I built. It is mine. I’m about to do something hugely beneficial for myself *and* my clients.

Emotion or feeling. How do you feel about the situation now? Rate 0 – 100%.

Fearful still, but mostly exhausted. 40%


It’s a process.

I’m still 7ish weeks out from leaving for Remote Year. I still have moments of intense stress, but I’m noticing that they do not trigger the anxiety anymore (we did it Jon!).

Anyway, the point of this post is this: fear is surprisingly, actually fine. I can’t get rid of it, but I can cohabitate with it peacefully, and even become stronger in it’s presence.

Please, tell me what stresses you out. Let’s be vulnerable together on the interwebs (preferably in the comment section). I want to hear about your fears and how you’ve coped with them. TELL ME YOUR STORIES!

*Name changed