Ready for New Altitudes? How to organize yourself
Freedom starts in your mind. If you are not mentally liberated and needlessly stressed, you should start cleaning it up here!
Besides order in material matters it is also very important to have your peace of mind. When you have always 1,000 appointments and ideas in your head you might have difficulties to focus on the urgent things which are due now.
Especially as a freelancer or perpetually traveling nomad without huge external obligations it is highly important to establish a regulated everyday life if you don’t want to perish because of your own freedom or at least not to lose much unused potential.
Here I will give you some ideas that helped me to bring structure in my life. One or the other method and routine I might surely adjust over time and even optimize it. But this is my current status:
Tasks and Routines
Besides my calendar for appointments which is synchronized on all my devices I also have an app for not timewise fixed tasks. If you use for example Android and the Google Calendar as well as Google Tasks you may want to download the App Taskary.
With this app you can always display your upcoming and reoccurring tasks on your mobile phone. It makes sense to think about some clever categories for your tasks. Here I will exclusively reveal to you my categories and my thoughts behind them:
1. Category: Current
In “Current“ belongs everything which must be done soon. “Soon“, here means really strictly only “today” or “during the next days”. Otherwise it would become unclear and the number of tasks would overwhelm me.
2. Category: Next
In here belongs everything that must be done next, but which is not so urgent! As soon as a task in “Current” is completed another task from here moves to “Current”. So, I can always have a look and plan what needs to be done in the midterm.
3. Category: Inbox
Daily I have new ideas or challenges coming up. To not forget those things quickly again I immediately create for them a new task and indiscriminately just throw them in “Inbox”.
Only in the evening and when all excitement due to all those new cool ideas has settled then I will take me some time and go through the created tasks critically and delete many of my wet ideas again. But things which are justified I will sort in to the applicable categories.
4. Category: Sometime
Everything that is not urgent or important can be put in this category. In here, I have for example one task already for a long time: I want to upgrade my Wikipedia account in order that I might be allowed to create new articles myself one day. But since “Current” and “Next” are always running over it might still take a while.
5. Category: Contact
You might know this: You really wanted to talk to person XY but the person wasn’t available or in a time zone which is currently in night mode. Put it to the “Contact” tasks! And later, when you have 10 minutes time in between other tasks you may want to try again and complete all those “Contact” tasks.
6. Category: Offline
Woe! The nightmare of every digital nomad: The internet connection is interrupted. Or you are currently on a flight and don’t want to pay for the highly expensive satellite internet. What to do now? Gladly, you have your “Offline” task list ready!
It contains many non-online tasks like for example finishing your “Reading” list using your already fully synchronized Kindle app This “Reading” list would even make a good category on its own!
7. Category: On the road
In “On the road“ you can put everything what you can do when you even might have internet access and when all “Contact” tasks are completed but you are not at home or in the office. Maybe you are currently in a bus switching locations or waiting at the gate for you next flight.
8. Category: Waiting for
Everybody knows it. You have written to your bank, insurance, customers or other business partners and now you are waiting for their reaction. If the reply comes on its own, then everything is fine. But often we have to run after other people and pressure them in order to get results. Because of this I introduces the category “Waiting for”.
So, I will never forget if someone owe me a reply. Furthermore, I can already write down my possible replay or formulate my next strategies and save them in the task notes. Unfortunately, in the real world we cannot always rely on others. Not all people are trustworthy.
With this category I take my own responsibility for thing regarding my own success. For me it is one of the most important categories! It would seem the thing to do going every morning through this category and writing those people polite reminders.
9. Category: Buying
The butter is empty, or the toilet paper is ending? In order that soon no catastrophe will occur write it quickly on this mobile shopping list. If you then find a supermarket during your day you might want to check whether there is still something in the “Buying” category.
Here you might want to add some interesting ICOs, coins and so on which you want to monitor. Regarding all those categories there is no limit to your fantasy.
10. Category: Prayer
As a Christian, prayer is an important part of my everyday routine. If God doesn’t answer my quick prayers right away (can happen) or if my requests are by nature long-term then it ends up on my prayer list. As soon as God answer I will have another thanksgiving entry.
Often prayer requests will become “Contact” tasks since I often have to ask whether God has already answered my prayer or if matters changed and I have to adjust my prayer.
11. Category: Workflows
There are several routines that often come up again. So, one needs to check his finances at least once a month and control whether all withdrawals have worked correctly. For that, one might create a workflow to make sure that nothing is left out.
But theoretically one might want to create workflows for every reoccurring task and develop the best practices over time. Here are just some ideas which everyday life’s things might be standardized and optimized:
Cleaning plan, fitness training schedule, data backup routine, setup of a computer or new smartphone. Or for people which are still location-dependent: a plan for moving or which organizations have to be informed when changing your job or even only your telephone number.
12. Category: Goals
Whether new ideas for your bucket list (see below) or general goals. All this goes into “Goals“ and has to be considered while planning and creating routines. More information down below.
13. Category: Ideas
Here you can put your general ideas which come into your mind. If you have a YouTube channel or a blog, you might want also to save here your plans for new posts or videos. So, your flashes of genius don’t get lost and you can take off your many ideas’ ballast.
14. Category: Routines and habits
If you want to practice new habits it might help to include them into your morning, evening or even daily routine. Those you can then put in this category and go through them every day. Having a daily routine is essential for the survival of people who can schedule there time as freely as they want and to build up discipline.
My daily routine
My own daily routine looks roughly like that (of course I allow myself some freedom to adjust at certain days and I take time off on Sunday):
- Bible reading
- Morning hygiene
- Check feeds, e-mails, crypto portfolio, social media and tasks
- Contact friends and family
- Go through goals and create a weekly schedule on Saturdays (also for self-motivation)
- Attack tasks of the day
- Lunch break: Snack, fitness practice /swimming and progress in my reading list
- Continue tasks of the day
- Spare time and rewarding dinner
- Evening hygiene
- Listening to sermons
Some apps not only allow you to categorize your tasks but also to add due dates and an importance level. The better the app the better your organizing.
Goals are important for your success and for giving your tasks and routine the right direction. Here you should distinguish between long-term, mid-term and short-term goals whereby the short-term goals have to serve the long-term goals in some way.
In order that goals are effectual you should always formulate SMART goals and internalize them repeatedly. For durable internalization you can use a goal collage which you attach to things that you see many times every day. Goal collages contain for example photos of things that represent your own goals.
Since I, as a nomad, often change my location I have used a photo software and Google image search to design a digital goal collage for myself. I have added it to my desktop wallpapers. My wallpapers switch every few minutes and contain also some photos of nice place of my journey displaying some motivation or wise sayings on top of them.
I work a lot on my computer and see those pictures daily and might take some 30 seconds or sometimes even a longer break to think about them.
But for all those of you who haven’t heard of SMART goals yet: What are those? The letters in SMART stand for a property of how a goal should be formulated in order to be effective.
S for specific
A goal should always be formulated specifically and precise. Otherwise you cannot detect if your goal was reached or not and the planning of reaching your goals can only be vague, too.
You can also understand the S as for “stretching”. It means that you would formulate your goal somewhat challenging and which will get you out of your comfort zone in order that you outgrow yourself.
M for measurable
To measure your achievements of your goals you need to formulate your goals exactly and also measurable. Sometimes you might even need some creativity for that purpose. Especially for goals regarding your character it might be hard to find good criteria for measurement.
A formulation like the following might help here: “The objective is met when 5 people commend you independently of each other for this character trait.”
A for achievable
As important as it is to widen your comfort zone by your objectives your goals must still remain achievable. What use have goals which will totally demand too much from you? But for long-time goals which doesn’t already require a weekly plan I am a fan of “Think BIG”.
Who doesn’t want to fly to Mars will never reach the clouds. And even if you don’t reach Mars you might at least reach the moon and therefore more than you would have ever thought was possible "A" can also stand for “appropriate”.
If you consider your goal as undesirable for any reason (you must be honest to yourself) then the execution might be very difficult and even meaningless. The goal must be a motivation in itself for you.
R for reasonable
A goal doesn’t only need to be achievable for you but must be also realistic and reasonable. If that is not a given, then you should rather forget your goal right away. For example, the goal to become the US-president doesn’t help you much if you don’t even have the US citizenship.
If you cannot change it because it is not in your power, then you should rather adjust your objectives to something which is close to your original or even actual goal and is still rational.
T for time-bound
Your goal must be time-bound. If it doesn’t have a deadline every motivation will soon be killed by procrastination. Furthermore, your long-term and higher goal might become even more unachievable. Therefore, you should also make sure that even the deadline is a challenge in itself.
If those criteria are not met by your goal formulation, then you might want to rethink them or add the insufficient points. It might also be smart to formulate different goals for every different aspect of life. For example, such categories might be: Personal development, contribution to society, spirituality, education, job, finances, family and relationships as well as health and well-being.
Goals for those aspects of life should be aimed at simultaneously to progress in life. And for all those aspects you should have short and long-term perspectives.
Goals or things you want to reach or see before kicking the bucket are added to a special list. This list is called bucket list. When formulating goals for the bucket list you don’t need to formulate them SMARTly but all things of the list should be attached as a reward to other SMART goals.
This gives you an extra motivation. For example, on my bucket list I have added that I want to stay at the Marina Bay Sands luxury hotel in Singapore. But according to my bucket list this is only allowed when I first finish my current programming project.
So even if sometimes my long-term goals get out of my sight or if my motivation power gets weak then I have at least those small rewards which keep me going.
Secret Tip: Feed-Reader
Finally, I have another super tip for you. If you get confused by all your subscribed social media channels and favorite blogs and you are scared that you could miss something you may want to use for example Inoreader. It allows you to subscribe to blogs, YouTube channels, podcasts, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.
So, a browser plugin or your smartphone will always show you current unread updates. Once you have time you can then go through all of them and you will never miss anything anymore. This might also help you to get more independent of social media and not feeling the urge to check all your profiles every minute.
Good side effect: Even possible censorship algorithms of YouTube and so on can not work anymore but you will always see all your favorite people’s updates.
How does your life look like? How do you structure your everyday life? How much freedom do you have? How do you deal with the dangers of absolute freedom? What motivates you? Just write it down below in the comments!