After a week of mixing on-the-road days and off-days we have arrived in a village close to Royan, at a house 2 minutes on foot from the local beach and bustling sea front. Here and there palm trees suggest we are reaching warmer areas, supported by the occasional white house with blue doors. All in all certainly a cozy place to spend the entire week. Wait? Weren’t we supposed to be on the road all the time? Yes and no! Which brings us to today’s question: How do you find balance between working and travelling with all its holiday moments?
First some background: The DE team works on a four-days schedule. We also acknowledge that sometimes working “in flow” means other times you just can’t properly get a mental hang of the task you are trying to work on. On this trip we want to make better use of in-flow moments and use those more distracted moments to… distract ourselves with the beauty of the trip.
What does that look like? We use transfer days for transfer and the days in between to work. If we take a longer break to grab a cup of coffee, roam the beach for a moment and marvel at shells, we make up that time afterwards. If we realize mentally we are exhausted for a moment, we use that time to get groceries, prepare dinner, or just look outside the window. Then we get back to work refreshed. And then there are weeks where we don’t travel for several days – such as this week. This means we can work every day and still take refreshing breaks for a quick walk to the beach, a cup of coffee at a nearby bar, a stroll in the forest or a dip in the pool in between, without spending time packing, unpacking, setting up the accommodation or our equipment. Because everything is already at its place. Which also means it’s easier to just dive right back into the next task.
Casually integrating a workspace into the dining room.
This week we have time to schedule important calls and make time for our exercise routines. Those tend to get lost if you are busy travelling every other day. But here our team has found time for more regular runs, walks and laps in the pool.
All in all there is enough opportunity for moments of refreshment to work focused. Based on our latest team meeting, progress is coming along really well, which is good considering release is in just about 4 weeks.
Speaking of progress, here are this week’s insights:
We were finally able to fix a problem with the breaking lights of the car of our travel companions, which is now good to go back on the street. Lucky we took our small tool set with us!
For some of us productivity took a little dip in the first week, which was related to readjusting to the new surroundings, the new situation of traveling for an expected 8 weeks, and exhaustion from transit days. After all, the size of this trip project is not to be disregarded! And there is so much input that a week quickly feels like an entire month.
Working together locally now, we notice different work schedules and preferences, and schedules definitely get fuzzier. The first is no big thing, as long as everyone feels comfortable with their own schedule. Still the thought of “Hm… shouldn’t I be working now?” occasionally seeps in when most of your team is typing away into their keyboards while you take a sip of your chilled drink next to the pool. Maybe that’s a good opportunity to learn letting go a bit. And then there are considerations like “If I only work a few hours today, should I try to make up that time on an otherwise-off day or just submit half a day of vacation? After all, my prioritized task is done for now!”
A week filled with transfer days means you may spend a day at a non-ideal desk, or in a less-than-comfortable bed, but at least you change regularly. Spending an entire week in one place calls for a more ergonomic setup. Luckily that worked well this week!
Make enough room for travel perks but deliberately use the energy you gain to continue your work projects. Don’t forget: A happy mind is an effective mind! You can also learn a thing or two in flexibility and flow of time when a 4-month-old baby is part of your travel group.