Portable careers are a blessing. You can work from anywhere in the world you happen to be (usually as long as you have an internet connection). But when you move, you may find yourself dealing with some unintended consequences.
As you know, I’ve just made the transition from Central Florida to Las Tablas, Panama. I’m getting settled into my new rental home here, and trying to amp up my work schedule to something more resembling normal for me.
This morning I came across a situation I hadn’t considered ahead of time. It may sound small and petty, but it’s indicative of the kinds of changes you need to be prepared for when you move your portable career overseas.
What’s the problem?
In case you’ve been in a bubble for the past decade, a podcast is:
“… a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of files (either audio or video) subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication. The word is a neologism derived from “broadcast” and “pod” from the success of the iPod, as podcasts are often listened to on portable media players.” (Wikipedia.org)
I have a computer, internet (most of the time) and my iPod. So what could possibly be the problem?
The problem is habits.
Several times each week, I listen to podcasts that help me with the business side of my freelance business. They consist of interviews, ideas and advice from people like Chris Brogan, Brian Clark, and a few other movers and shakers in the blogging and freelance writing worlds.
Back in Florida, I listened in the car when I was out and about doing errands. I’d grab my iPod, plug it into my car’s mp3 jack, and off I’d go.
Here, I have no car. And somehow the thought of trying to listen to a podcast while being driven around Las Tablas at breakneck speeds in a taxi just doesn’t cut it.
I can’t listen to them on the computer, because there are way too many easy distractions. I find myself checking email, looking at my Google Analytics, and generally noodling around online while I listen. As a result, when I get to the end of the podcast I had very little memory of what I’ve heard.
It’s a dilemma — and if you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them!
Here’s another issue (this one I did anticipate, but I suspect it’ll be a while before I resolve it).
Back in Florida, my working day had a certain rhythm, a predictable ebb and flow that I created. It let me do my most demanding or creative work when I was at my best, and filled in with mundane tasks during my non-peak times.
On a typical day I’d start slowly, reading email and catching up on important forums. Then I’d shut off the distractions and knuckle down to writing for a couple of hours. I’d throw in a break, getting out of the house for lunch or some errands, then come back and work hard for another couple hours. I’d ease off by tackling some of the mundane stuff that’s part of any business.
In the evening after dinner was my non-writing creative time — planning, strategizing and such.
So what’s the problem?
I’m living in the real tropics now, in a house that has air conditioning only in the bedroom. By the afternoon, one of the times I’m used to cranking out writing, it’s too hot to think. I’m experimenting with doing more writing after dinner, but that still leaves a chunk of time in the afternoon when I’m not accomplishing much, and my strategizing and planning time is now being used for writing.
I’m sure I’ll get this all worked out eventually. In the meantime, it’s a bit frustrating.
If you’ve already moved your portable career to a new location, how did you handle these kinds of issues? Leave a comment!