My Remote Working Setup

The days just fly by, don’t they? Especially when you spend them in the little bubble of 30 degrees weather, yoga classes and raw food that is Ubud.

Life here is simple. I usually fill my days with reading and writing at different coffee shops, practicing yoga and occasionally hang out with people at the hostel. I have also joined in on the exhausting sport that is “Walking around the whole town trying to find an ATM that will give me money”, with limited success for days. (But this morning I actually found one that worked! BII Maybank on Jl. Raya Ubud, I love you. I might have clapped my hands and done a little dance in the ATM booth.)

I’ve also been working for two whole weeks now. So far it’s going well, better than I expected, and I wanted to share the basic setup we have. In case anyone is curious.  

1. Meeting o’clock

Every Monday at 9.30 Swedish time (which is 15.30 for me), I log on to Skype for a sit-down with my manager or a colleague. The agenda holds only one item: What is Sanna doing this week? Part touching base, part making sure I have a balanced workload.

On Fridays I also join in on our weekly Comprend meetings via a private Periscope stream, which make me feel like I’m right there. Except for the fact that I might be wearing a bikini. (Casual Friday, Bali style.)

2. You know where to find me

In Swedish time, I’m generally working from 08.00 to 12.00. My colleagues knows I’m available for meetings, calls or email during these hours, even though I might work slightly different times when I need to focus.

3. Hey, don’t forget me

One challenge when not sitting at the office is that you miss the small talk. People can’t swing by your desk and you can’t catch up on the latest by the coffee machine.

To make up for this I try to be as active as possible in our channels. I keep an eye on incoming tasks in our planning tool and hang out on Yammer everyday. Posting and commenting whenever relevant.

4. Creating my own office

As most of us who has ever freelanced or worked from home knows, after a while you probably need a dedicated space to work from. Sitting in the couch in your pyjamas will get old pretty quick.

For me, that currently means a café or Hubud. I’m a regular at Kafe and sometimes, I have to admit, I also hang out at Starbucks. Their aircon and Iced Lemon Tea is what keeps me sane certain humid days.

5. Flexibility is key

After all, I am on the other side of the world, still being part of an office where most people are actually on site. Sometimes I need to change my hours to join in on a late call. And sometimes my colleagues need to deal with me being on a really crappy internet connection. Flexibility is needed from both sides for it to work.

I have a local SIM card to not be depended on random wi-fi connections, but even though it mostly works really well, it’s simply not like in Sweden. (But hey, I get to wear shorts in October, so not complaining here.)

If you have any tips on working remotely, feel free to share them. I also recommend this post on Asana with some good advice on the same theme if you are curious to read more.

Checking in: September 24

Photo on 22-09-15 at 17.03 #2 Checking in from Ubud, Bali! I thought I would start doing these more personal roundup posts once in a while, as so many of my favorite travel bloggers are doing. Right now I’ve just checked into a hostel, after staying a week in a private hotel room. It has been great with some privacy, but I’m looking forward to the hostel environment and meeting some new people.

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I will miss this view from my balcony though.

The highs

  • Surfing! My previous attempt has, well, lacked success. But this time I actually surfed, for several hours, several days. On a real board. And now I’m officially hooked. Wake up at 4.30 to go surfing before breakfast? I’m not even hitting snooze.
  • A trip to a bunch of waterfalls. I joined a few people from the camp to go on a road trip (with a driver) up to the north side of Bali. We visited the Gitgit waterfalls and The Secret Garden (which was so secret I was surprised when we actually found it). The later featured a waterfall slide that made me swear I would come back to haunt my fellow travelers if I didn’t survive. But I did, and had to admit it was fun.
  • The food. Especially here in Ubud, it’s heaven for someone like me. I mainly eat vegetarian when I’m traveling, and have only had one bad meal so far. Almost everything is just delicious.
  • My new Kindle. I can’t understand what took me so long to get one, but now that I have, it will never leave my side.

The lows

  • Being sick while traveling. It may look all sunsets and beach bums, but the fact is that I’ve yet to meet a person who has not experienced some version of “Bali belly”. Add a cold to that, and the past week has not been pure excitement.
  • I miss breathing fresh air. Thanks to the heavy traffic and all scooters, the air here is not quite what I’m spoiled with.
  • Not realizing I needed to pay for Visa on arrival to be able to extend it after 30 days. So now I’ve booked a trip to Singapore over the day next week.

All in all, I have definitely had some good first few weeks. I started working this Monday and so far it’s running pretty smoothly. Will be posting more on that in the coming weeks!


How I work with Evernote

Try googling for “best to do list app” and you will receive more results than you ever wanted. For me this changes depending on situation and where I work. Asana is my favorite tool for example, but not a perfect fit at my job. So right now my to do-list drug of choice is Evernote.

It was my colleague Vera who shared this setup with me a few months ago, and it’s time to pay it forward. As with so many other things, it is the simplicity that makes it work, at least for me.

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Down To Nothing

If this video doesn’t make you crave adventure, nothing will. But if you are anything like me, you might feel a slight pinch in your gut, telling you that there is so much more to experience than what is right in front of you.

(Don’t worry, I’m not going to try conquering a mountain in the jungle anytime soon. I’ll start with something more accessible, like Mount Agung.)


Time for a change: Going nomad (for a while)

I have some news. September 4th I’ll get on a plane to Bali. Well, to be more accurate, London – Hong Kong – Singapore – Bali. (Honestly, I should not be allowed to book my own flights. I always go for the cheapest option with fifty layovers, even though I’ll spend more on crappy airport coffee than what a better flight would cost me. And I do this. Every. Single. Time.)

So the news here is not that I’m going to Asia for the first time. It’s that I’m not coming back until January next year. I’ll be on the road for four months. Part of it will be vacation time, but the main chunk of it will consist of me working part-time, traveling around Asia.

But why?

I could just answer this with a “Why not?”, but there are a few reasons why I brought up the subject with my manager earlier this summer.

Sometimes you just need a longer break from your usual ways and routines. Going at life in a slower pace. I’m not talking laying on a beach drinking umbrella drinks all day, everyday (but hey, valid life choice).

Just focusing less on worrying about your to-do list and more on being in the moment. I want to spend my mornings doing yoga by the ocean instead of cursing people on the subway, if only for a period of time.

Reconnecting with creativity
This is nothing that will be magically solved by living in a paradise by the ocean, but it will hopefully make it easier. The most creative thing I’m able to create when I get home from work is a poetic list of actions for the next day. “Buy food. Answer e-mail. Find a therapist who can deal with my emotional baggage.” You know.

So for a while, I want to focus more on my personal projects. Improve my writing, take photographs for fun again, explore videography and maybe learn something new.

Traveling slow
When I’m traveling, I always feel like I have to leave the party to soon. Never getting the chance to feel that I’m ready to move on. When I was in Australia doing the East Coast for a month it was like being heart-broken every third day (except when leaving Brisbane, sorry, that city just didn’t do it for me).

I want to travel slower. Spending a proper amount of time in each place, without feeling stressed. Getting under the skin of a place. I want to be on a first name basis with the staff at the local coffee place.

Trying out the digital nomad lifestyle

For four months I’ll be living out of my backpack, working from where I can find decent wi-fi and establishing routines with colleagues in another timezone. I have no doubt there will be challenges, but I’m also convinced the benefits will outweigh the troubles. And I’m truly grateful for working at a company where my managers not only are letting me do this, but are also excited about it.

This also means new things for this little ol’ blog of mine. Frequent updates, more personal stories and a lot of photographs. Hope you’ll follow along!

What is really important for you?

A couple of months ago I decided it was time to take action on something I had been contemplating. More about that later this week. This decision has sparked many conversations with friends and acquaintances about dreams and life.

There are so many people who feel stuck in everyday responsibilities, dreaming about something else, but are being held back by fear. I know the feeling. Changes, especially the ones that require you to go way out of you comfy comfort zone, are scary. You can find a thousand reasons to why you shouldn’t do it.

But in the end it’s a matter of priorities. What’s most important for you? Not for your parents or friends or society. What do you want to look back at when you’re ninety years old, sitting by a desk trying to write your memoirs?

Elia and Naomi had similar thoughts, which share in this video and accompanying article. Watch and read, there’s a big chunk of inspiration in there.

Stick with the awkwardness

Stick with the awkwardness, there is something magical beyond it. Go to yoga. Run. Hate it until you enjoy it.

There are some good advice in this post, this quote in particular. The feeling when you move past the awkwardness truly is magical. And worth every bruise you got getting there (yes, pole, I’m talking about you).

Next up in the phase of complete awkwardness and terror, waiting for magic: surfing. More on that in August.

“What a strange way to be alive.”

In this video by Kenny Laubbacher, Jedidiah Jenkins describes something I’m thinking about a lot these days. How aware are you really about life? Who controls your days? What do you want to look back at when you are 85 years old?

Follow his journey on Instagram, @jedidiahjenkins.

Finding your way

Finding your way

At my previous job my manager told me that I at some point would have to decide what to focus on. We were a small web agency, only three people, so I could get away with doing a little bit of everything. I liked playing around with code, so I built websites in WordPress. Photography has been a passion for many years, and with that came an interest for Photoshop and editing, so I did some of that too. I studied communication new media, which resulted in a interest for the social media landscape. I could spend months discussing and analysing how business could use new tools and technologies to their advantage.

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Things I learned 2014

In the beginning of this year I wrote that 2014 would be a year for answers.

It was.

It has not been a parade of happy times. I have not been dressed by little birds in the mornings and I still curse people on the subway on a daily basis. You know, the usual ups and downs. But I have learned a thing or two about myself and what I want to do with my life. Realized my priorities, made a few decisions.

But before diving into the chaos that will be my life in January, here is what 2014 taught me.

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A first for everything (such as car photography)

Sports and cars. That would be my two biggest blind spots. When people talk about the hockey game last night or some new car on the market, my eyes go blank and my mind wander off to some place more interesting. Like what to eat for dinner. And I hate cooking.

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Perrine & Stefan

October 4 was not a day like any other. It was the day when Perrine and Stefan got married. And I had the privilege of documenting it all with my camera.

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