travel-money1

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.

As Seen On

Do This to Become Smarter and More Creative

Posted on April 3rd, 2016

Have you ever found yourself on a first date, trying to sound smart and talk about your favorite books, only to discover that almost everything you once devoured with enthusiasm has disappeared from memory? Or you can’t even name the author of the last book you read? Or what about the great article in the New York Times you just read this morning? You might remember what it was generally about, but you can’t speak about it intelligently. What gives?

I’m no better. I read at least one book a week, which is approximately 52 times the average American, but I can barely tell you what I read last month. So what good is being an avid and curious reader if I can’t remember any of it? What good is staying up until 4am watching TED talks if tomorrow I can’t recall anything except a vague notion of how they made me feel at the time?

After years of suffering from this “terrible memory,” I realized it comes down to how I help myself process all that information. Like all of us, I’m inundated with content and consume with great breadth, but I don’t properly digest what I consuming.

I realized I needed to carry over what I learned during the first two decades of my life in school into the real world. What do we do in school our whole lives? We read and take notes. We go to class and take notes. Then we study for exams by reading our notes. Life is the biggest classroom of all, so why do we stop doing it this in adulthood? We’ve clearly learned nothing about learning.

Well, not all of us. It dawned on me that almost everyone I admire, especially creatives, are doing this all the time: they always carry a notebook and they take notes constantly. As a result, they’re better able to articulate what they’re reading and experiencing, they have more ideas, and they’re more observant and reflective — all because they record what they learn every day (from conversations, meetings, introspection as well as books, movies, and articles) and create a catalog of their most inspiring moments and material.

I happened to be reading Richard Branson’s autobiography when I realized all of this, and Branson himself is infamous for carrying around a notepad, jotting notes, reflections, and inspiration from virtually every meeting, every conversation, every day of his life. So when it came time to write his autobiography, 25 years of little notebooks made it happen, and he admits that this tiny writing habit helped him become the cross-industry mega-billionaire extraordinaire he is today.

“No matter how big, small, simple or complex an idea is, get it in writing. But don’t just take notes for the sake of taking notes, go through your ideas and turn them into actionable and measurable goals. If you don’t write your ideas down, they could leave your head before you even leave the room,” he says.

Science says that when we read or listen to information, the brain doesn’t discriminate or filter out less relevant information as it passes it into our memory bank, so critical points and trivial matters are treated the same way. But when we take notes, we create spacial relationships with the information we record, which is handled by a different part of the brain, and the most important information is recorded. Life comes at us fast, so if we’re going to slow down, absorb, contemplate, and share with others what exactly it is we’re experiencing, we have to write it down, and we have to review it.

And not only do we have to remember to take notes, we have to do it effectively. Here are a few tips for taking notes the right way:

Summarize. Check you actually understand what you’re reading or experiencing by condensing and simplifying the words themselves, focusing on the essence of the message.
Put it in your own words. Taking verbatim notes of someone else’s ideas is like taking notes in a language you don’t speak — the brain won’t internalize it.
Stick to keywords and short sentences. Just enough to jog your memory later.
Record reflections and reactions. Don’t just record information, record what you thought and how you felt about it. This is even more important than the summary of someone else’s ideas, it’s how you can create your own.
Introduce symbols into your notes. Anything to make your notes easier to scan and digest later is helpful: question marks for things to look up later, an exclamation point for an idea, a box for a to-do item, etc.
Consider quadrants. This is rumored to be the way Bill Gates takes notes, categorizing each page and organizing information in a more visually appealing way.
Take notes by hand. Science shows it’s much more effective.
– Review periodically, like you’re studying for an exam. It’s only useful to take notes if you actually go back and refresh your memory.

The best part of introducing this technique into my own life has been the tangible improvement in my creativity, retention of information, and ability to reflect on my experiences and articulate those reflections to others. It’s like being a student all over again, only I’m fully in charge of the subject areas, the examinations are the depth and richness of my intellectual engagement with others, and the grade is my ability to generate new ideas and live with a deeply enriched world outlook.

All that from just keeping a notepad in my purse!

Essentially, it’s just as much about remembering to take notes as it is increasing the intensity of our observation and participation in the world, as well as our awareness of what’s noteworthy about our lives.

Suggested Posts

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.

As Seen On

As Seen On

As Seen On

Sign Me Up

Sign Me Up
I'm planning something big! Stay in touch and be the first to know what I'm up to.

Sign me up

Location

Current Location

Map

Current Location

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

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram

As Seen On

As Seen On

Sign Me Up

Sign Me Up
I'm planning something big! Stay in touch and be the first to know what I'm up to.

Sign Me Up

Current Location

Current Location

Map

Browse Articles

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

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram