It’s 19:30, dark, I can see the stars and I’m loitering amongst the palm trees, fighting off mosquitoes on the boundaries of our home just so I can be in range of the wifi from my husbands office less than 100m away. Yes really, that’s been my work from home reality for 8 weeks. Not quite my idea of remote working in paradise!
It’s fair to say the last 8 weeks have been a combination of pleasure and pain on the remote working front. A compromise on productivity and a little frustration, coupled with more focus and inspiration. So what’s the reality? Is Remote Working from a small tropical island really possible? Well yes it is, here’s the story so far…
So why exactly have I been loitering in jungles, crazily grasping at windows of connectivity to communicate with the outside world? Well that’s what you get when you combine a lack of wifi at home, relatively frequent electricity cuts and an overwhelming absence of babysitters.
Wifi Island Time
It seems my concerns about wifi access were justified, well at least in terms of getting access from home. Time and patience were the name of the game. With the absence of internet at home my world consisted of no work during the 2 hour window when your baby naps, and accessing the internet from my husbands’ office in the evening once the baby had gone to bed. Ask any mother out there, this is the last thing you want to do once your little angel has gone to bed!
I also struggled with feeling detached from the world! It felt like being on an extreme digital detox. I know, I know, we’re living on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean and Indonesia, isn’t that part of the idea? Well yes, but I have to confess, for me it’s one step to far. I want to be able to talk to my friends and family. I want to be able to work from the comfort of my home when and if I so choose. And in the 21st century shouldn’t I be able to do that, even from a little island just off Bali?
Well it turned out that of course we can in fact get wifi at home. Once we’d stuck an antenna on the top of a tall pole, navigated a few trees and walls, and avoided potential rain damage our forced digital detox was over. Hurrah, I’m back, it only took 8 weeks!
Finding a babysitter for our daughter has however been another matter, particularly when all enquiries were met with, no there aren’t any babysitters on the island, everyone has a job.
We did however find one lady who seemed worth a try, despite telling us she worked in massage when interviewing for a babysitting job! Sadly her time didn’t last past the first date after she decided it was ok to jump on the back of a motorbike which her 11 year old daughter was driving, with her 10 year old son sandwiched in the middle with our daughter under her arm! Yes yes, I know that’s perfectly acceptable within the local culture here, but it’s not when one was expressly told the boundaries of playtime, which unsurprisingly did not include a threesome with your children on a motorbike! So, it suffices to say we won’t be seeing her again. Where’s Wayan when I need her!
The good news is, we’ve since found a much better fit for us, a young, energetic lady who our little angel is very happy to run around with and most importantly go for a swim.
Forced Digital Detox
Our final hurdle, the electricity! Electricity cuts are what I call a form of forced digital detox! On the one hand this is quite healthy because it reminds you that you are in fact on a tiny island, in the middle of nowhere, and that we can in fact live without electricity, well for a short time anyway! However, it’s fair to say that it does fit into the big inconvenience bucket when you have a short window to work and get things done. Fortunately with the wifi and babysitting now resolved, I can now sit back and enjoy the power outs, and take the opportunity to write my blog, and avoid the noise of being online.
Despite these hurdles, which I have to say took longer to settle than I anticipated, this time has also allowed me to enjoy some of the benefits of remote working. Cracking views, increased productivity, and less noise.
I am loving the freedom of mind the island offers for remote working. Ocean, jungle, panorama views. All natural, all living and breathing, it’s all here to be enjoyed. This sort of environment brings out the best in my creativity and productivity.
Having less time to work, or faff (lets be honest, that’s what a lot of time is spent doing!) is actually making me much more productive and decisive.
There are also less distractions here, less reasons to waste time, avoid working, to choose something else. This might seem strange given the ocean playground I’m surrounded by, but the absence of so many interesting shiny things equals more focus.
And of course it’s also a bonus that Bali is only a short commute away, 30mins by boat in fact. So if I need a taste of the city lights I hop on a boat at 08:00 from Lembongan and before 08:45 I’m there, on Sanur soil. It’s faster than driving over to Seminyak! I’ve done this a couple of times so far, it’s nice to know that a trip to Kumpul Coworking Space is always there when I need to fire my creative juices.
Lessons & You
There you have it, remote working is entirely possible from an even smaller island, if you can practice a little patience – not my finest point! The reality is that change and moving to a new location, whevever it is in the world always comes with its bumps and bruises. It’s just so easy to forgot how much time it can take to adjust, settle in and reach an enjoyable calm, and figure out a rhythm that works for you.
For me, remote working from a small island is really set to win me over. With wifi at home and a playmate for our daughter, I just love the focus and headspace it allows me. The big island commute will continue to be a selective injection of creative energy, and as for the power outages, well that’s one I will have to ride out and even enjoy as a time for blog writing and silence.
What about you, how have you made remote working work for you?
Look out for my next post when I’ll be sharing 5 Benefits Of Making My World Smaller. Over and out for now…