Editor’s Note: Many thanks to all those who encouraged me to get back to writing. 2015 was a bit of a grind, but the good news is I’ve got plenty to share from the experience.
Fear not, trusty readers, SpartanTraveler is alive and well.
But getting somewhere in life is about making hard choices, and the reality in 2015 was simple: focus or die.
‘Like the sculptor, who does not add clay, but strips away the inessentials until the truth is revealed.’
– Bruce Lee character from Dragon
I’ve always thrived at the breaking point of manageable activity. That place where positive stress forces focus and serious action. Where the goals and the necessity for completing them are immediately clear.
As a result, I always assumed as life went I’d continue to be doing more. More traveling, more and different types of adventures, and more varieties of work. Continue reading >>
While making time for it doesn’t always happen, I know that I’m only limited by the information in front of me.
As I’ve heard human performance expert Kelly Starrett quip (paraphrased): ‘In the past we didn’t know. Now we know: the best way to eat, the best way to train–all the information is available. If you’re not awesome now, it’s your own damn fault.’
So inhaling large amounts of information and integrating it always has to be part of the schedule. The only problem is that with limited time we have to make sure we’re focusing on the right information. That’s why I rely so heavily on recommendations, and why I thought this list might be useful.
A caveat: “best” is totally subjective and ignores the importance of timing and experience. The right message at the right time can change your life, and while most of the “best” books are important just for getting the same message in a slightly different way, they won’t blow the doors off your imagination if it isn’t new stuff.
That being said, here are the books that made a big impression on me last year (I’ve also included a few favorites from 2013 at the bottom.)Continue reading >>
“Freedom is like a new sport.”
-Tim Ferris in the 4-hour Workweek
Back in mid-2007 a co-worker told me to read Tim Ferriss‘ book.
“You will love it” she said.
A week later I requested all remaining vacation hours and took a 3-week surf trip to Costa Rica.
I returned home sunburnt and happy, and the next day I promptly quit my job, started work as a professional blogger, and left on an indefinite sojourn to S. America that started with an expedition over the Chilean Andes.
Over 7 years later I find myself waking up in Budapest, Hungary, pursuing wilder goals than I could have imagined at the time.
If you’ve read the 4-hour Workweek (4HWW) you might expect me to say all this was easy–all I had to do was start a website, hire a virtual assistant, and get on a plane to Europe–where I would occasionally check to make sure money kept flowing into my bank account.
For those of you who haven’t read Tim’s palm-tree studded Bible of lifestyle-design, or for those who didn’t really get it, here’s the punchline: it’s not really about working 4 hours a week.Continue reading >>
Most people go through a predictable series of steps on the road to a location-independent lifestyle. While the six phases listed here aren’t definitive or exactly linear, they sum up the lifestyle progression I’ve seen from dozens of travelers and veteran laptop nomads.Continue reading >>
Digital Nomad: individuals that leverage digital technologies to perform their work duties and more generally conduct their lifestyle in a nomadic manner….
Over 2 years have passed since I quit my job.
Despite the image of me sipping Mai-tais on the beach somewhere (which can happen), there’s a big discrepancy between what my friends think I’m doing and what I’m actually doing. I write this overlooking the stunning crystal-blue water of the bay in Kuta, Lombok, but there’s a difference between me and every other traveler here:
I’ve been working on my laptop for 5 straight hours.Continue reading >>
Above: One of my all-time dream destinations, Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
Last week Dan and Ian revisited a favorite topic: the Dreamline exercise. Despite having read the 4-hour Workweek at least 5 times, it was listening to the LBP#91 (Are you A Hustler or an Entrepreneur?) back in March that finally inspired me to sit down and go through the motions. (I wrote most of this post then, but this recent podcast inspired me to finish it).
Dreamlining can profoundly change your life. You just have to sit down and do the work.
A chess master knows exactly what the end-game is and they’ve already thought through the next 20 moves to get there. When variables change they make small course adjustments, but ultimately check-mate is inevitable, if not in this game then in the next.
What’s surprising about my own life is how often I’ve been operating without a plan. A lot of us drift through life with general goals, like ‘get in better shape’ or ‘travel more’, but without more substance behind them these are just day-dreams.
Update: Revised on 2/7/15 from 3 hacks to 4 hacks!
If you check your email every 5 minutes, I’ve got news for you: this not the best way to get things done, and it may be adding a lot of needless working hours to your day.
Unless your primary responsibility is “respond to any and all email,” or there’s a mission critical contract out that needs to get signed, or your project management solution has completely failed and there is absolutely no other way to get a hold of you, I would suggest another approach.
Email is, after all, asynchronous communication. It’s not a chatroom, it’s not a project management tool, and it won’t substitute for talking to someone on the phone or in person. It can also wreak havoc on brain-intensive tasks (28% of your time could be wasted by interruption).
Like any tool, there are efficient and not so efficient ways to use email. Here are a few game-changing productivity hacks, some I’ve been doing for years and a couple game-changers I’ve implemented just recently: