Archive - May, 2014

Brazil Preparation Challenge

In case I haven’t made it publicly obvious enough on here, I am headed to Brazil on June 9th for the World Cup. This is something I’ve been talking a lot in multiple posts, but now the talk is actually becoming reality. It is going to be my most intense trip yet, so it calls for some preparation, not just in terms of booking flights and tickets and stuff – I need to also have my routines razor sharp to be able to pull the trip off with honors.

Working Vacation

I guess the first thing to note regarding Brazil is that I will have to be able to retain my industry in terms of working through the whole trip. I am allowed have some slight dips, but nothing more than that. I know already from my trips to Malaysia and Hong Kong that this is extremely hard equation while traveling. So I have to do my best to have everything ready and drilled while things are still easy back home. Here I don’t need to figure out logistics every day, here I don’t have anything unpredictable going on, here practically it’s just a matter of putting in the hours. So if I can’t do it with absolute perfection here, what hope do I have far away from home where logistics might be completely against me?

Another thing is that I need to start getting used to doing the things I will be doing in Brazil – in other words, getting out and creating some videos. Cause that’s exactly what I plan to do in Brazil. As usual when traveling, I don’t want to waste the chance without getting some videoblogs done. This is something I was really unhappy about in Hong Kong and Malaysia, and to an extent in my Lapland trip as well. All of those resulted in just one video, which is better than nothing, but certainly in hindsight I wish I would have done more.

I’m not gonna go all out either like in Japan and make a video everyday, but I’d like to be working on my videos on most days. Now I probably do shorter form shooting – in other words, have longer videos pre-planned, and then shoot just one segment per day for that video. I might not even cut anything in Brazil, certainly sounds a bad idea to me to be doing a lot of video editing while I could be enjoying a new country, especially given how much work I’m already doing daily.

If I decide to do some videos where I talk more about the trip itself rather than about my life philosophy etc like in most of my videos, then I might slap those together much quicker and indeed upload online there, since it’s more timely content. But if it’s me talking about some higher concept then there’s no reason to overwork myself to get them online before being back home.

Brazil Routine

I’ll explain the routine here in the video:

Now as most of you won’t watch the video (and I’m fine with that since I’m better at writing anyway), I’ll recap most of the content here. Also the vid was made earlier on the week, so now it’s practically only two weeks until Brazil – I’m slow.

Basically I have my day divided up into just three components that I need to complete daily.

Work Component

Basically this is just sitting down at a computer for two stretches of four hours and trying to remain relatively undistracted to get as much work as possible done. Ideally that would be 7-7.5 hours and my daily bit of writing 750 words. If I pull this off, I don’t even need to do work every day of the week, I can have one full day off, or couple of days where this component is halved. Between the two four hour halves I could go eat, do another component, go out, whatever. The idea basically is just that once you sit down, you’re staying there for four hours and whatever you get done, that’s that.

The method behind this madness is quite simple – if I ‘ve noticed anything while working is that having a simple focus is what helps productivity more than any other hack. Just setting a time for four hours and then sitting through it, knowing that it is the time for work-mode, is an effort to override all the over-thinking and procrastinating processes inside you. Four hours as a time span is too long for beginners, but I no longer have the luxury to call myself a beginner, so I go for it – it is not completely overwhelming either that something like ten hours might be.

Besides, all it means is that the timer is running – you don’t actually even have to work for the four hours straight, you can take short breaks during it, as long as the overall focus remains and you still get reasonable  amount of work done. Three hours of work out of four hours of it is absolute minimum, though.

Physical Fitness Component

You know how nazi I am about this stuff, and for a good reason – when I drop off my routine, I drop off badly, so I can’t afford to let myself get there. My intention is to keep working out through Brazil, and simplest way to do that is to lump your physical activities together and do them at once. So starting with my typical 30 minutes of stretching (or doing 15 mins in the beginning and 15 minutes as a cool down)  and then working out just makes sense. Now I would imagine I have no problems with playing football in Brazil, so I at least have one easy access form of working out – then again, I’m a huge proponent of bodyweight methods so pretty much my full range will be available for me at any place.

Video Blog Component

Lastly there’s the part of the day that defines how much I output into this blog. Practically in Brazil this means that I  strap up my camera and tripod with me and head out to visit some place that would offer me a scenic shot and then do the bit that I have prepared for that day. This might just smoothly and naturally integrate with rest of my trip while in Brazil, but I want to have the habit of creating videos already formed here so that it will be automatic when I arrive in Brazil. You don’t want to start overthinking things when you are having crowds around you – better get the process down well here where its quiet.

Ideally I want to shoot such short segments that I can have pretty much everything I want to say in my head at once. Either that, or just shoot the kind of video blogs where I talk about the trip freely, where it doesn’t matter that much what I blather. My aim for Brazil is to make 2-3 videos where I talk about the approaches I have to life and then perhaps do some videos where I document the trip itself more. I am not yet decided on how I go about with that, but that’s largely irrelevant now. Now matters that I have the right habits down.

Simple System, Simple Usage

As you can see I didn’t devise anything very complicated for myself. That’s cause the older I get, the more I realize that it’s the simple stuff that actually brings the results. There’s always a temptation to think that getting a lot done is something you achieve by complicated systems, but no, you really achieve it with very simple systems and then just retaining consistency. Retaining it when handling with the chaos of life.

This was all thought with the consistency in mind, and making remaining consistent as easy as possible. It’s made so that I can stay on top of my things with just using my simple mind, and not needing using any complex productivity tools like my Universal Awesomeness Score for instance is. I will of course keep tracking that throughout the trip, but partially this simple system exists to make that easy as well – cause everything is made into very clear, consistent blocks of work, applying them to my system at the end of the day will be easy.

The hard part, like with any system, is actually applying it and following through. That’s what the next four weeks before Brazil will be about. If you go through my blog you will find a TON of failed systems I’ve devised for myself. Some of those sucked, some of those were okay, but on most of those I had no follow through. Now there’s the emotional leverage though – I can’t afford to fail. This trip has already required massive investment both in terms of effort and finances. So I am not about to let it drip through my fingers without getting the best out of it. I need to be well drilled ahead of it.

Finally let’s talk about priority of all the different components. It is very simple actually:

1. Physical Fitness Component

2. Work Component (at least one half of it)

3. Video Blog Component

Even if a day is full of stuff, logistics don’t work, something else goes wrong – I can always go do my workout, if nothing else then running. Hell even if I get jailed I can still do push-ups and handstand holds in the jail cell, among other things. And even if I’m lacking time, I still should always strive to get at least one half of the work done. The video blog is not absolutely necessary so if things go a little wrong or if I’m just a bit slow during the day, that is easy to drop to save some time.

Ideally all components should be completed, but I’d guesstimate this is about 11-12 hours of time investment every day to complete all three. While traveling in a foreign country, accounting for wandering around, getting lost, figuring directions, etc. etc. etc. it is impossible to get all of that done every day, even if you take no rest and just blast away all day.

In the end I won’t absolutely have to complete 40 hours of work every week either – if I get to 30 every week things won’t be disastrous either then. Finally the actual order of doing this stuff will vary a lot, but usually if I know I surely have the time to do everything, I’d start with the work.

So anyway, thanks for sitting through another War & Peace of Blog Posts, nearly 2000 words again (is it just me or is my average blog post getting considerably longer than it used to be?), I’ll head out to completing my “components” for the first time.

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