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About Me

About Me

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Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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7 Golden Rules for Managing Technology and Taking Your Life Back

Posted on March 16th, 2016

My relationship to technology is a tumultuous one. On one hand, I run an online business and praise both the independence and connectivity it provides, while on the other hand, it often strikes me as nothing less than an assault on my ability to think, feel, plan, and be human.

I recently spent almost two weeks in rural India on a silent meditation retreat, which was a forced technology detox. For me, it demonstrated how wonderful life can be without a phone, Internet, and the senseless barrage of information and communication that comes with being constantly attached to a parallel digital universe.

During those two weeks, my attention span, focus, and self-awareness SKYROCKETED, partly due to deep meditation, but also because I wasn’t tethered to everything and everyone who wasn’t actually in my present moment reality — where the real joy of life is, sandwiched between our insane human tendency to dwell in the past or project ourselves into the future.

When I finally turned on my phone, the first word that came to mind to describe the experience of re-descending into technology was: violence. A tidal wave of external stimuli entered my inner reservoir of peace and self-understanding, flooding all the important stuff with a hurricane of demands, pointless chit-chat, and thousands of unsolicited emotions and subtleties being sent across cyberspace to disrupt my reality halfway across the world. I sent a message to my mother and immediately turned it off — and have since limited myself to one hour per day of internet use (see below), which has been the best thing I’ve ever done for my life, my business, and my sanity.

I’ve adapted my new philosophy on technology into 7 practical rules to help everyone I know take their lives back from wandering in cyberspace. Following these guidelines probably won’t be easy at first, but they will be life-changing. Your attention span will recover, your productivity and creativity will surge, and you will have HOURS of time added to your day.

Think about it: By taking vigilant control of your email and Internet usage, you can finally have the time to launch a business idea, manage a side hustle, write a blog, spend time with family and friends, cook healthy food, take care of your body and mind, and live a more peaceful, self-directed life.

Here are my 7 golden rules to help anyone conquer technology:

1. No checking your phone first thing in the morning.

Put it on airplane mode an hour before bed and don’t turn it on again until you complete the first hour of your day. Then design a new morning routine focused on health and well-being, and don’t allow external communication to disrupt it. These first activities of the day at home should be what gets you out of bed with a smile, especially if work itself doesn’t.

2. No email for the first two hours of the work day.

If you’re thinking, “Impossible, new things will have come in overnight that will influence my day,” then you’re setting yourself up to have a reactive, ball-and-chain kind of life. So have a conversation with your boss, clients, or immediate colleagues about it. You’re maximizing your efficiency, productivity, and creativity, which will help everyone, and you have a plan. Share this plan with them. And ask if it’s possible that anything that needs to get done first thing in the morning be communicated the night before or with a direct phone call in the morning. Then use those first two hours of the work day to complete your priority tasks, especially creative ones. Watch your productivity, focus, and quality of your work surge!

3. Stop all the pop-up notifications.

Update your smartphone settings so you physically have to go into each app to see if you have a notification. Delete Facebook Messenger and only respond to Facebook messages from your desktop. Consider doing the same for other apps that constantly call your attention away from the present moment.

4. Change your email to refresh in one-hour batches.

Spend no more than ten minutes at the top of every hour responding to emails — and then stop and go back to work. Politely communicate to your colleagues and clients that email is no longer the appropriate avenue for last-minute requests. This allows you to take immediacy out of your emails and further distance yourself from technology.

5. Don’t respond to every email (or Facebook and What’s App message) — try using the phone instead.

Picking up the phone can eliminate lots of back-and-forth, so get comfortable using the phone again. Train everyone who works with you to use the phone, too. It’s a huge time saver, not to mention that it facilitates better communication and improved relationships.

6. Stop relying on Google.

It’s a disease! In the past, I would Google anything and everything I was curious about, and two hours would go by and I wouldn’t have an answer but I’d be lost in the bowels of the Internet, my focus and creative energy totally evaporated. If you really have to look something up, put it on a list. Then have one half-hour period before lunch where you’re allowed to look things up, ONE TAB AT A TIME. If you don’t get to it, it wasn’t important, and you can probably live without knowing. Besides, lunch is waiting!

7. No Internet within an hour of bedtime.

Block this off as sacred “me” time. Dedicate these hours of the day to unwinding, reading, journaling, meditating, watching documentaries, and snuggling with loved ones. Science shows screen-time before bed increases insomnia and reduces sleep quality.

Technology should work for YOU

By living these 7 rules, I make technology work for me, not the other way around. This disciplined approach prevents me from getting absorbed in things that are not a priority, like needless Googling and communication that deteriorates my attention span, removes me from the joy of the present moment, and disrupts my creative flow.

Adopt these rules to the strictest practical application in your own life, and watch your productivity and peace of mind soar!

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About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

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Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don’t know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

img_6015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don’t know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

Read more

Like Me on Facebook

Like Me On Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

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Elaina on Instagram