Issue #15, Volume 1
May 26, 2021
Recently, a member of the accountability group I meet with every week asked me a question.
I should have had the answer at my fingertips, but surprisingly, I didn’t.
His question was simply, “what makes someone an Anywhereist?”
“Well,” I said, after a long pause, “it’s a mindset.”
The way you create anything is by saying “no” to some things and “yes” to others.
If you want to create the world’s best-tasting ice cream, you say “yes” to trying out new ice-cream-making methods and flavor combinations, and you say “no” to experimenting with recipes for pancakes.
If you want to create a life where you can work and live anywhere, you say “no” to a 5-year lease on office space and “yes” to a home office.
(I took a rather tongue-in-cheek approach to this question a while ago, when I wrote How Not to Become an Anywhereist. But it’s all true.)
During that conversation, we came up with a bunch of adjectives that describe Anywhereists. We tend to be:
- More interested in experiences than in material possessions
Anywhereists also love diversity and variety, and have a habit of challenging the system and the status quo. We choose the road less taken.
To be an Anywhereist, you have to be willing to live your life in opposition to conventional wisdom.
When I was growing up, conventional wisdom said, “go to school, get a good education, find a good job, and you’ll be set for life.”
We all know how that turned out. . .
Another piece of conventional wisdom says you should have a stable life. To create that “stable life,” you should buy a house and establish roots in a community. As Joe, my accountability partner pointed out, “that roots you somewhere. That makes you a somewhereist, not an anywhereist.”
He went on to ask, “How do you function in an economic system that places value on roots and home ownership and consumerism – how do you live contrary to what everything around you ingrains in you?”
I’ll give you a hint. . . you don’t create that kind of life by saying “yes” to what everyone around you is saying “yes” to!
Scary? You bet. Confusing? Check. Overwhelming? Sometimes.
Rewarding? In spades. . .
When you’re following the same road as everyone else, you look for a “good job.”
When you want to work and live anywhere, you start your own business, one you can manage with a laptop and an internet connection.
If you’re already working that business, great! If it’s something you’re dreaming about and you’re looking for some help, check this out. . .
Created by Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and serial entrepreneur, it’s a program to help you develop that business you’ll need to fund your new life as an Anywhereist. He promises that you’ll get his latest thinking on “how to build an exceptional business and lifestyle by embracing change instead of dreading it.”
Honestly, it’s a program I should have created, but didn’t. And he did.
Sound good? Follow this link and drop your email address into the form at the bottom of the page.
Then do me a favor – hit reply to this email and let me know which of the adjectives I listed above describes you (or tell me another one that does!), and whether you opted into Brian’s new program.
I hope all my fellow Anywhereists in the US have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!
Tips & Tricks
Say “NO!” to these 6 things in order to say “YES!” to deep work
(Not familiar with the concept of Deep Work? I wrote about it earlier in the year.)
Deep work is the polar opposite of multitasking, and is a habit we all need to cultivate if we want to really accomplish anything. But, as with other parts of being an Anywhereist, you have to say no to some things to make it happen.
Tim Denning claims, “Deep work is the holy grail of productivity.”
He recommends saying no to these 6 things if you want to find that holy grail.
Speaking of mindset. . . when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to make mistakes and errors in judgment.
First and foremost, you rush too much. You just don’t think you have the time to do things that would really save you time in the long run.
Then, somehow, you classify that feeling of overwhelm as a weakness. (I’m good at that. . .)
Alice Boyes makes the point in her Harvard Business Review article:
Sometimes we get self-critical about the very fact that we feel overwhelmed. We think: “I shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by this. It’s not that hard. I should be able to handle it without it stressing out.” When you’re self-critical, you become more likely to procrastinate, because not only does the task trigger feelings of overwhelm, it also triggers shame or anxiety about having those feelings.”
Fortunately, identifying them is the first step in changing your mindset and handling overwhelm more successfully.
A Spreadsheet as a Project Management Tool?
We all use spreadsheets.
For some of us, they’re a necessary evil. Others revel in rolling up their digital sleeves and plunging into the realm of figures, charts, and all that other numbers-based stuff.
(Bet you can’t guess which camp I’m in?)
Well, now there’s a project that’s turning spreadsheets into a robust project management tool. Fast Company describes it as “. . . a mashup between a traditional spreadsheet, à la Sheets or Excel, and a more advanced database or project-management service like Trello or Basecamp.”
Personally, I’ll stick to Trello, but if you’re someone who enjoys rolling up their digital sleeves, check out Spreadsheet.com. (It even offers a Kanban-style view for visual planners like me.)
Digital Nomads are. . . Essential?
Remote work made digital nomads possible, says Connie Lin. And now the pandemic has made them essential.
For over a decade, digital nomads like Nomadic Matt, Nora Dunn, Wandering Earl, and Shannon O’Donnell flew under the radar when it came to work. As people who traveled continuously on tourist visas, they did their work wherever they could find an internet connection.
They hoped nobody in authority recognized they were working in the country, and they left before their tourist visa expired to move onto the next place where their work happened on the QT.
Now they’re being actively courted, given legal status, and invited to stay for a year (or two or three) in a country that would have thrown them out before.
Countries that suffered from the lack of tourist money feeding their economies during the pandemic are looking to digital nomads to bring in cash to bolster their economies.
This is not new news, but the concept that digital nomads are now “essential” is surprising.
That’s because the countries that are now inviting digital nomads to come and work are looking, not only, for their cash, but for their brains.
Because, according to Lin:
. . . zoom out for a moment, and all of this might disrupt a greater issue that was scrambled by the pandemic, which is the brain drain problem. For decades, countries—entire continents, even—have been losing generations of young talent to a handful of innovation capitals like New York, Tokyo, London, or Silicon Valley. It’s something Tanja Polegubic understands as a member of the Croatian diaspora who landed in Canberra. “Being from Australia and having roots in Croatia, it’s always been, ‘Oh gee, I’d love to be based here and still keep my outside job,’” she says.”
Don’t wait for lightning. . . er, inspiration, to strike
According to William James, habits are important because they “free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.”
If you look at the biographies of famous, productive writers, for example, you’ll see they have one thing in common: they followed a strict writing schedule.
American novelist William Faulkner famously said, “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.”
Charles Dickens, the prolific English Victorian novelist, worked from 9 AM to 2 PM, had lunch, and then took a three-hour walk. Evenings were the time for family and friends, and he went to bed at midnight.
Maya Angelou wrote in a rented hotel room (she never slept there, only used it as her writing office) from 6:30 AM until 2:00 PM every day.
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits [https://amzn.to/3oAPrEF], lays out some good reasons for creating a creative schedule and sticking to it. He likens creative work to weight training at the gym:
Creative work is no different than training in the gym. You can’t selectively choose your best moments and only work on the days when you have great ideas. The only way to unveil the great ideas inside of you is to go through a volume of work, put in your repetitions, and show up over and over again.”
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In Case You Missed It. . .
Shannon O’Donnell has been traveling the globe, working as she goes, since 2008. That’s 13 years. . . In the podcast episode we did, she describes running down the road, laptop in hand, to take advantage of the few hours when the internet cafe had internet service.
She loves being a digital nomad, but she’s the first to admit it’s not right for everyone.
Is it right for you?
A few things have changed since I wrote this article, most notably the newly created digital nomad visas. Perhaps you couldn’t have thrived with the frequent relocations necessary when digital nomads had no legal option to stay in a country longer than a tourist visa allowed, but you could see yourself staying for a year. . .
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