One of the most common questions we’re asked about our business and traveling is, “How do we fit it all in?” My simple answer is – we set goals and then work out how we’re going to achieve them. When planning our “Work From Anywhere”, trip overseas, we rapidly realised that just having a goal was not going to be enough, especially as we had 12 months before our penciled in departure date. Thats a lot of time to say – “I’ll do that tomorrow”! Luckily we knew about the SMART goal setting strategy – ensuring your goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. But we were a little fuzzy on applying a couple of them to our goal: To travel the world with three of our kids while running our online business profitably for an indefinite period of time, leaving home in June 2014. Mmm, lets see :-
- its reasonably Specific,
- you can Measure the goal based on whether we left in June 2014 and if our business remained profitable,
- to make this goal Attainable we had to think outside the normal about what was possible,
- again for this goal to be Realistic we had to try not to listen to those that said it wouldn’t work and we’d be home in a month
- and finally setting a departure date made that part Time-bound however traveling indefinitely added a a little bit of fuzz around this aspect.
I guess you could say the goal was a smart goal … sort of …
I’m not sure if you’ve ever felt like you’d bitten off more than you can chew? We rapidly realised, we’d set our selves a mammoth task – I do believe one of the major reasons people never actually make the leap from ‘normal’ life into the extraordinary life that they dream of is that they never look past the initial ‘big’ goal, and that big goal seems impossible from where they are. How did we tackle this sudden overwhelm? Simple – we broken that big goal down into monthly and weekly goals and then create an action list with deadlines to achieve those goals… Consuming the elephant one small bite at a time was definitely the way to go. I’ll let you know shortly how we managed to keep track of where we were at with all of this.
Here are some of the questions we had to address before we left and which may be relevant to your future plans:-
- where do we store our belongings?,
- what to do with our house?,
- what to do with our pets (one dog, one cat and a horse)?,
- how do we handle the kids schooling?,
- how do you run a business when you’re on the road for an indefinite period of time?,
- how do you reassure your current clients that you don’t have to be next door to work for them?,
- do you need travel insurance?,
- how do you get ‘me time’ when travelling and living with your kids 24/7?,
- how would we deal with our money?,
- where was the best place to find affordable accommodation?,
- did we need visa’s?,
- and what about immunisations?
The answers to these questions became a big part of our planning strategy, dictating the actions we needed to take. Once we determined the action steps we put them and their due dates on a “10 foot long whiteboard” (a sheet melamine). This “home made” whiteboard was omni-present on our dinning room wall for the 8 months prior to leaving on our big trip! Every day, over meals, we’d look at this life sized wall calendar and at the two large world maps we used as table mats – this kept us focused (excited) and heading in the right direction. The wall calendar and our maps stimulated heaps of conversation about our travel plans and ensured we planned our days effectively to achieve the weekly goals and ultimately our departure date!
Did this mean that every thing was smooth sailing? That we hit our goal without any hiccups? Absolutely not! There were plenty of times when things just didn’t go as planned, where they took longer to achieve than we had assumed, or we over looked a critical task and of course life has a way of just getting in the way. However, if we hadn’t used goal setting strategies and stayed focused (thank you world maps) we wouldn’t have hit out departure date – and to be honest the last month went past like a blur as we rushed around getting the last million things done! However, we did depart in June 2014 in large part because we set goals and focused on them 🙂
I’d love to hear what strategies you’ve used to achieve your big Work From Anywhere goals?
Andy spends his time away from the computer cycling or hiking up mountains or catching a wave on his SUP.