5 resolutions for travellers in 2020

Enjoy the time when you’re not travelling

I’m not a big one for New Year[1] resolutions.  To give you an example, my resolution for 2019 was “not to be mocked by my wife or daughters”.  Given that one of them (my daughters, that is) is a teenager, and the other nearly so, this went about as well as you might expect.  At the beginning of 2018, I wrote a blog post with the top 5 resolutions for security folks.  However, if I re-use the same ones this time round, somebody’s bound to notice[2], so I’m going to come up with some different ones[3].  I do quite a lot of travel, so I thought I’d provide my top 5 resolutions for this year, which I hope will be useful not only for me, but also others.

(I’ve written another article that covers in more depth some of the self-care aspects of this topic which you may find helpful: Of headphones, caffeine and self-care.)

1. Travel lighter

For business trips, I’ve tended to pack a big, heavy laptop, with a big, heavy power “brick” and cable, and then lots of other charging-type cables of different sizes and lengths, and a number of different plugs to fit everything into.  Honestly, there’s just no need for much of it, so this year, I suggest that we all first take stock, and go through all of those cables and see which ones we actually need.  Maybe take one spare for each USB type, but no more.  And we only need the one plug – that nice multi-socket one with a couple of USB sockets will do fine.  And if we lose it or forget it, the hotel will probably have one we can borrow, or we can get one as we go through the next airport.

And the laptop?  Well, I’ve just got a little Chromebook.  There are a variety of these: I managed to pick up a Pixelbook second-hand, with warranty, for about 40% off, and I love it.  I’m pretty sure that I can use it for all the day-to-day tasks I need to perform while travelling, and, as a bonus, the power connection is smaller and lighter than the one for my laptop.  I’ve picked up a port extender (2 x USB C, 1 x USB A, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x HDMI), and I think I’m sorted.  I’m going to try leaving the big laptop at home, and see what happens.

2. Take time

I’m not just talking about leaving early to get to the airport – though that is my standard practice – but also about just, well, taking more time about things.  It’s easy to rush here and there, and work yourself into a state[3], or feel that you need to fill every second of every day with something work-related, when you wouldn’t do that if you were at home.  It may be stepping aside to let other people off the plane, and strolling to the ground transportation exit, rather than hurrying there, or maybe stopping for a few minutes to look at some street art or enjoy the local architecture – whatever it is, give yourself permission not to hurry and not to rush, but just breathe and let the rest of the world slip by, even if it’s just for a few seconds.

3. Look after yourself

Headphones are a key tool for help me look after myself – and one of the things I won’t be discarding as part of my “travel lighter” resolution.  Sometimes I need to take myself away from the hubbub and to chill.  But they are just a tool: I need to remember that I need to stop, and put them on, and listen to some music.  It’s really easy to get caught up in the day, and the self-importance of being the Business Traveller, and forget that I’m not superhuman (and that my colleagues don’t expect me to be).  Taking time is the starting point – and sometimes all you have time for – but at some point you need to stop completely and do something for yourself.

4. Remember you’re tired

Most of us get grumpy when we’re tired[4].  And travelling is tiring, so when you’re at the end of a long trip, or just at the beginning of one, after a long day in cars and airports and planes, remember that you’re tired, and try to act accordingly.  Smile.  Don’t be rude.  Realise that the hotel receptionist is doing their best to sort your room out, or that the person in front of you in the queue for a taxi is just as frustrated with their four children as you are (well, maybe not quite as much).  When you get home, your partner or spouse has probably been picking up the slack of all the things that you’d normally do at home, so don’t snap at them: be nice, show you care.  Whatever you’re doing, expect things to take longer: you’re not at the top of your game.  Oh, and restrict alcohol intake, and go to bed early instead.  Booze may feel like it’s going to help, but it’s really, really not.

5. Enjoy not travelling

My final resolution was going to be “take exercise”, and this still matters, but I decided that even more important is the advice to enjoy the time when you’re not travelling.  Without “down-time”, travelling becomes – for most of us at least – a heavier and heavier burden.  It’s so easy, on returning from a work trip, to head straight back into the world of emails and documents and meetings, maybe catching up over the weekend on those items that you didn’t get done because you were away.  Don’t do this – or do it very sparingly, and if you can, claw back the time over the next few days, maybe taking a little longer over a cup of tea or coffee, or stopping yourself from checking work emails one evening.  Spend time with the family[5], hang out with some friends, run a 5k, go to see a film/movie, play some video games, complete that model railway set-up you’ve been working on[7].  Whatever it is that you’re doing, let your mind and your body know that you’re not “on-the-go”, and that it’s time to recover some of that energy and be ready when the next trip starts.  And you know it will, so be refreshed, and be ready.


1 – I’m using the Western (Gregorian calendar), so this is timely.  If you’re using a different calendar, feel free to adjust.

2 – the list is literally right there if you follow the link.

3 – I considered reversing the order, but the middle one would just stay the same.

4 – I wondered if this is just me, but then remembered the stressed faces of those on aircraft, in airports and checking into hotels, and thought, “no, it’s not”.  And I am informed (frequently) by my family that this is definitely the case for me.

5 – if you have one[6].

6 – and if that’s actually a relaxing activity…

7 – don’t mock: it takes all kinds.

リモートワークをするときの7つのマイルール

もしオフィスをでなければいけないのであれば、犬の散歩に行きますね!

この記事は
https://aliceevebob.com/2019/08/13/my-7-rules-for-remote-work-sanity/
を翻訳したものです。
この10年から15年の間、ほとんど時間、リモートで仕事をしています。
ラッキーなことに私の仕事はリモートワークがぴったりで、勤めているRed Hatもその環境を整えてくれています。

例えばお客様とオンサイトの会議が多くあったり、主要なサービスコンポーネントに従事しているなど、全ての仕事がリモートワークに合うわけではもちろんないですが、多くの組織がリモートワークを検討しています。

また、なるべく「家から働く」「家で働く」などのフレーズをなるべく避けるようにしています。
後者のフレーズの方が良さそうだ、と聞いたこともありますが、多くのリモートワーカーにとっては正確な言い方ではないでしょう。

実際、私の職種にぴったり合う言い方でもありません。
私の仕事はリモートで、会社によって机や椅子、会議室やインターネットアクセスが準備された仕事場はないのですが、いつも家で過ごしているわけではありません。

一ヶ月に平均して3日から1週間ほどは出張です。カンファレンスで講演したり、実際会っての打ち合わせだったりがあるのです。
この間、大体は連絡のつく状態であり、メールをチェックできることになっています。緊急の連絡やメールにも関わらず出張の機会は増えたり減ったり、です。

オープンソース

私がリモートで働ける理由の一つに、勤めているのがオープンソースソフトの会社であることもあります。
今、Enarxというとてもクールなプロジェクトに従事しています。そのソフトに貢献している仲間は欧米にいて、それ以外にも世界中から問い合わせがきます。

スタンドアップ会議はバーチャルでビデオを使います。
プロジェクトからは少なくとも二人は参加し、私は大体はデスクの横で実際立って参加します。

コードは全てgithub(もちろんオープンソースです!訳注:ブログの発信当時は、です。今はマイクロソフトに買収されています)を使っていて、頻繁に顔を合わせる必要も特にありません。
例えば特別な機会にはどこにいてもケーキを買って一緒に祝い、ステッカーをラップトップにつけて、ブランドとチーム感を大切にしています。
チャットとIRCのチャネルがあって色々な方法でコミュニケーションをしています。
まだ小さなチームですが今の所うまくいっています。
リモートチームとどのように働くかのアドバイスはOpensource.comにたくさん載っています。

環境

出張していないときは基本、自宅にいます。天気にもよりますが通勤もします。30〜45秒の短い通勤です。
私のオフィスは家とは別れていて庭にあり、オフィスチェアやデスク、ラップトップのドッキング、モニター、ウェブカメラ、電話、キーボードとプリンターがあり、部屋の中ははっきりと仕事関連のものだけです。

仕事をする環境を作るのに、大切なものもあります。人によって違うでしょうが、私の場合はこんな感じです。

・ソノス。アンプと良いスピーカーに接続したホームサウンドシステム。
・ソファ。大体、飼っている犬に占領されています。時々猫。
・本棚。本が床に散らばらないように。
・紅茶を淹れるファシリティー。私はイギリス人なので、これは最重要。
・冷蔵庫。紅茶に入れるための牛乳、ビールとワインが入っています。(ご心配なく。就業時間中に飲酒はしません。メインキッチンの冷蔵庫に入らなかったんです)
・大きく開く窓と夏に必要なブラインド(エアコンはありません。先ほど言ったでしょう?私はイギリス人なので)
・床暖房と暖炉。冬に必要です。(床暖房は暖炉が暖まるまで必要なのです)
・NUCのパソコンとモニター。仕事にあまり関係ない作業をするため
・蜘蛛も少々

何が必要かはワークスタイルにもよりますが、仕事に関係ないものが実は大切です。まあ、蜘蛛は要らないかもしれませんが。
これは仕事場を心地よくするためなのです。
例えば集中するために音楽をよく聞きます。飼っている犬や猫とソファーに座って、大量のドキュメントを読みます。
お茶を淹れる場所と冷蔵庫がなければ、米国人になっちゃいます!

マイルール

どうやったらうまくいくでしょう。

まずは私たちのほとんどは、他の人と連絡をすることが好きですよね。

リモートワーカーの中にはシェアワークスペースを借りてそこで働く人もいるでしょう。そういう人はオフィスの環境が好きだったり、仕事に集中できる場所が自宅にないのかも知れません。

他にもコーヒーショップやボート(羨ましい!)で働く人もいるでしょう。一年の半分をオフィスで過ごし、残りを別荘で働く人もいるでしょう。

どのようにするにしろ、あなたにとって最適な場所を探すのが大切です。
以下は私がよくやること、その理由です。

1 なるべく仕事をする時間を決めましょう。
公式的には(同僚の皆さんへFYI、イントラに載っています)イギリス時間午前10時から午後6時まで働いています。
これは、多くの米国の同僚の働いている時間に重なっていて、朝はジョギングやサイクリングをしたり、犬と散歩しています。(下記参照)
最近はあまり時間はないですが、時間を柔軟的に前後させて、大体決まった時間を働くようにしています。

2 ちゃんと起床して紅茶を一杯頂く
オフィス環境にいると大体、他の人の会話やお茶のお誘い、会議室でのミーティングやランチに出かける、などでいい意味で邪魔が入ります。
このようなことは自宅ではありません。なので、ちゃんと体を動かしてデスクに3〜4時間座りっぱなしにならないようにしています。
座りっぱなしは健康によくないですし、作業が非効率になります。
もちろんお茶をもっと楽しめるようにするのも大切です。

3 体を動かさないでいると、通知してくれるアプリ
新しいものですがとても気に入ってます。
一時間体を動かさないと、時計(携帯やPCでもあるでしょうけど)がエクセサイズをするように、と教えてくれます。
他にも色々勧めてくれるのですが、大体無視して、紅茶をいただきます。(なぜだかは、もうわかるでしょう?)

4 デスクの上下稼働機能を有効活用
立ったり座ったりしながら、体勢を変えるようにしています。
姿勢にもいいですし、もっと体に気をつけるようになります。

5 犬の散歩
外に出て少し考え事をしたい時や少しメールの長いディスカッションから離れたい時には、犬の散歩に出かけます。
ずっと仕事のことを考えていないとしても、散歩に行くのは効率的な仕事にとても有効ですし、長目の散歩になってしまってもその日は少し多めに働いて調整します。

6 家族とのルール
私の家族は、私がオフィスにいるときは働いていると知っています。
電話で連絡することも、それが無視される可能性があることも、もしかしたら窓から今時間があるか覗きこむこともあります。でももし対応できなかったら、しません。
例えば紅茶用の牛乳がない!などの緊急事態には相談次第で調整するので、ケースバイケースですね。

7 カフェで紅茶を頂く、大抵はケーキも。
時々違った環境に行ったり、実際に人と話をしたいこともあります。
そんな場合には車に飛び乗って10分、カフェに行きます。
美味しいケーキと紅茶を出すお店を知っているんです。

上に挙げたものは全ての習慣ではないかもしれませんが、私の日常を保つのに大切な事です。

皆さんのルールは違ったものかもしれませんが、ルールを作り、同僚や友達、家族にそのルールがあることを知ってもらうことはとても大切です。

リモートワークは簡単なことではなく、規則化しなければいけないことがあります。でもそんな規則によって、8時間座りっぱなしを防いで、ゆとりが生まれるのです。
元の記事:https://aliceevebob.com/2019/08/13/my-7-rules-for-remote-work-sanity/
2019年8月13日 Mike Bursell

Of headphones, caffeine and self-care

Being honest about being down.

I travel quite a lot with my job.  This is fine, and what I signed up for, and mitigated significantly by the fact that I work from home the rest of the time, which means that (video-calls permitting) I can pop down to see the kids when they get back from school, or share a dog walk with my wife if she’s at home as well.  The travel isn’t as easy as it was a couple of decades ago: I’d like to believe that this is because my trips are more frequent, and often longer, but suspect that it’s more to do with the passage of time on my body.  There’s more than just the wear and tear, however, and I think it’s worth talking about it, but I’m sure it’s not just me.

I sometimes get down.

I sometimes get sad.

I sometimes get peeved, and cross, and angry for little or no reason.

I’ve never been diagnosed with any mental illness, and I don’t feel the need to medicalise what I’m describing, but I do need to own it: it’s not me at my best, I’m not going to be able to perform my job to the best of my ability, and it’s not healthy.  I know that it’s worse when I’m travelling, because I’m away from my family, the dog and the cats, divorced from routine and, given that I tend to travel to North America quite frequently, somewhat jet-lagged.  None of these things are specific triggers, and it’s not even that they are necessarily part of the cause, but they can all make it more difficult to achieve and even keel again.

I wanted to write about this subject because I had a day when I had what I think of as “a bit of a wobble”[1] a couple of weeks ago while travelling.  On this particular occasion, I managed to step back a bit, and even did some reading around the web for suggestions about what to do.  There were a few good blog articles, but I thought it would be honest to my – and others’ – lived experience to talk about it here, and talk about what works and what doesn’t.

Before we go any further, however, I’d like to make a few things clear.

First: if you are having suicidal thoughts, seek help.  Now.  You are valued, you do have worth, but I am not an expert, and you need to seek the help of an expert.  Please do.

Second: I am not an expert in mental health, depression or other such issues.  These are some thoughts about what helps me.  If you have feelings and thoughts that disturb you or are having a negative impact on you or those around you, seek help.  There should be no stigma either to mental illness or to seeking help to battle it.

Third: if you know someone who is suffering from mental illness of any kind, try to be supportive, try to be kind, try to be understanding.  It is hard.  I know people – and love people – with mental health issues.  Help to support them in getting help for themselves, if that’s what they need you to do, and consider getting help for yourself, too.

 

Things that do and don’t work (for me)

Alcohol (and over-eating) – NO

One article I read pointed out that having a few drinks or eating a tub of ice cream when you’re travelling and feeling down “because you deserve it” isn’t self-care: it’s self-medication.  I like this dictum.  Alcohol, though a dis-inhibitor, is also a depressant, and even if it makes you feel better for a while, you’re not going to be thanking last-night-you for the hangover you have in the morning.  Particularly if you’ve got a meeting or presentation in the morning.

Exercise – YES

I never used to bother much with exercise, particularly when I was travelling.  But the years have taken their toll, and now I try to hit the gym when I’m staying in a hotel, maybe every other day.  However, I also find that there are often opportunities to walk to meetings instead of taking a taxi, or maybe making my own way to a restaurant in the evening, even if I catch a cab back.  I track the steps I do, and aim for 10,000 a day.  This can be difficult when you’re in a meeting all day, but little things like taking the stairs, not the lift (elevator) can get you closer to your goal.

If you have a free day in a city, particularly at the weekend, do a search for “walking tours”.  I’ve done a few of these, particularly food-based ones, where you get to stretch your legs whilst being given a tour of the sites and trying some local cuisine.  You also get to meet some people, which can be good.

People – YES and NO

Sometimes what I need to pull myself out of a gloomy mood is to spend some time with people.  Even if it’s just on the edges of a conversation, not engaging too much, being around people I know and value can be a positive thing.

On other occasions, it’s exactly the opposite of what I need, and I crave solitude.  On occasion, I won’t know until I turn up for dinner, say, that I’m really not in the right head-space for company.  I’ve found that if you plead jet-lag, colleagues are generally very understanding, and if there’s a loud-mouthed colleague who is very insistent that you stay and join in, find a quieter colleague and explain that you need to get back to the hotel early.

Reading – YES

Books are great to escape to.  Whether you carry a paperback in your laptop bag, have a Kindle (or other e-reader) or just read something that you’ve downloaded onto your phone, you can go “somewhere else” for a bit.  I find that having a physical book is helpful, or at least using an e-reader, as then you’re slightly protected from the temptation to check that email that’s just come in.

Headphones – YES

What did we do before headphones?  I try keep a set in my pocket wherever I’m going and connect my phone when I get a chance.  I may wander the floor of an Expo with music on, sit down with some music for a cup of tea (of which more below) in a five minute break during a meeting, or wait for a session to start with something soothing in my ears.  In fact, it doesn’t need to be soothing: I can be in the mood for classical, upbeat, loud, quiet, downbeat, indie, New Orleans jazz, bluegrass[2] or folk[3]. That’s one of the joys of having music available at pretty much all times now.  Insulating myself from the world and allowing myself to take a metaphorical breath before rejoining it, can make a big difference.

Caffeine – YES (with care)

I don’t drink coffee (I just don’t like the taste), but I do drink tea.  It can be difficult to find a good cup of tea in North America[4], but I’ve discovered that when I can source one, the very act of sitting down and drinking it grounds me.  Smell and taste are such important senses for us, and I associate the smell and taste of tea so strongly with home and safety that a good cup of tea can do wonders for me.  That said, if I drink too much tea, I can get cranky (not to mention the fact that it’s a diuretic), and then I miss it if I can’t get it, so there’s a balance there.

Breathing – YES

Breathing is helpful, obviously.  If you don’t breathe, you’re going to die[5], but there’s a real power to stopping what you’re doing, and taking a few deep, purposeful breaths.  I’m sure there’s lots of science (and probably pseudo-science) around this, but try it: it can be really fantastic.

Conclusion

I know that I’m not alone in finding life difficult sometimes when I travel.  Please look after yourself and find whatever actions which help you.  My intention with this article isn’t to provide fixes for other people, but more to share a few things that help me, and most important, to acknowledge the problem.  If we do this, we can recognise the need for action in ourselves, but also for support in our family, friends and colleagues, too.

Last: if you become ill – physically, emotionally or mentally – you are not going to be functioning as well as you might when well.  It is in your and you organisation’s best interests for you to be well and healthy.  Many companies, organisations and unions provide (often free) help for those who are struggling.  If you keep experiencing feelings such as those described in this article, or you are in acute need, please seek professional help.


1 – because I’m British, and that’s the sort of language I use.

2 – one of my little guilty pleasures.

3 – another.

4 – you need decent tea to start with, and boiling or just off-boiling water: that’s close to 100C, or 212F.

5 – I’m not a medical expert, but I know that.