We are all living in unusual circumstances, and we all have to adjust to a new reality. As I’m adjusting to these new contexts, I observed that some of my habits can be safely reused, no matter the location.
Working From Coffee Shops
After more than 10 years of being a digital nomad, some habits are already part of my “normal” life. For instance, in any new place I’m going, I’m always make sure I have at least two phones with generous data plans (you don’t know how public WiFi is over there). I may not pack a toothbrush, but I will almost automatically pack 2 phones, just to make sure I have enough Internet, no matter what.
On the same topic, I also always pack a USB battery (specifically for the phones in the paragraph above) and make sure I have enough USB cables to charge / re-charge everything.
Also, some of the first things I did this weekend was a bit of reconnaissance: what coffee shops are available on a 2 km radius from the place I’m living, what’s their schedule and general cost of a coffee. Again, I feel like I need at least 2-3 options.
Aggressive Budgeting And Cost Control
Another very useful habits I developed in the last 3-4 years was aggressive budgeting (and cost control). I keep a specific budget for each month, split the expenses on categories and always make sure I can save something, even if it’s as little as a few dozens each month.
Living in a different place (even if it’s for just a week) can easily make a big dent in your budget. All is new and, in the beginning, you simply don’t understand on what you “have” to spend, just to make yourself comfortable there. And having this aggressive budgeting habit drastically diminishes this dent. Because you somehow plan ahead on what you spend and, by enforcing some aggressive cost control too, you keep the expenses low.
The concept of “reusable” habits is something I inferred from coding, again. In the Object Oriented Programming paradigm there is this concept of modularity and reusability. If you write a class, you may reuse that class in other parts of the code. It’s more complex than that, but you got the idea.
Going forward with this analogy, I think habit forming can be “hacked”, in the sense that the entire process can be adjusted constantly. For instance, one of this adjustments is to try developing those skills and approaches that have a greater chance to be reused. Instead of trying to form a habit related to a very narrow context, you aim at those habits that can be easily used in any context.
Aggressive budgeting, for instance, is a habit that can be re-used anywhere where you use money. Forming the habit to go to the sauna, on the other hand, as healthy as it may be, it’s not something that you can reuse just as easily, simply because sauna, as a process, is not something so widespread in this world.
But more on that in a future article.
Initially published on my personal blog and adjusted slightly for this context.