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The Truth About Co-Leading A Team Remotely

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“Don’t add days to your life, add life to your days.”

That’s the quote I think about when I have big decisions to make, like when I realized that my corporate lifestyle was not bringing me the happiness I expected. Of course, I didn’t know this about myself before I ditched corporate life for the life of a digital nomad.

You know the story. I felt like I had to climb the corporate ladder, get the recognition, land the corner office and reap the benefits. It’s not that I was unhappy in that environment, but it just didn’t make sense.

When I worked at L’Oréal, my favorite parts of the job were not the actual work. My favorite parts were traveling, learning and meeting new people. I was fortunate to have a role that had me go on many trips to interesting places like Paris and San Francisco, but that didn’t erase the soul-sucking feeling of corporate life.

There’s an immense pressure from society that we have to like what we do. At the same time, there are people that just exchange work for money.

At LeadWise, we want to encourage leaders to create work environments that inspire people to like work AND life. Finding meaning is crucial to being happy and feeling fulfilled.

I don’t think it’s possible to disconnect work and life. You can’t be two people, one version of yourself in the office and another version of yourself on the weekends. We, as a global society, have to move away from this approach to life because it’s not sustainable.

Making the jump from the classic corporate life to the digital nomad life was not easy, and co-leading a team while working remotely brings its own challenges.

In this post, I want to share how we make it work at LeadWise, and why having a completely remote team is a better option than ever for the businesses of today.

On the surface, the life of a digital nomad seems easy.

You can go wherever you want, whenever you want as long as you have internet connection, right?

I can’t say enough positive things about remote work, but like anything good in life, it requires hard work.

Remote work is all about cracking the code of time zones. This proved to be a fun challenge while traveling around Australia and New Zealand.

In east Australia, I worked from 4:30 am to 2 pm. I’m not a morning person, so waking up early and going to bed early was not easy, but it was necessary to make our daily catch up meeting at 5:30 am.

On the other hand, working in west Australia demanded another adaptation. I was able to work from 7 pm to 2 am, plus a few other hours during the day.

On top of working strange hours, I had to keep up my energy levels as well. Maintaining your energy levels helps keep your motivation and productivity at work healthy too.

One of the huge reasons that co-leading remotely is possible, even with the chaos of working in different time zones, is thanks to my counterpart, Mariana. As a team, we’re able to have more stability. We can both rely on each other if our remote locations aren’t cooperating or are making it difficult to get work done.

A constant balancing act

Even though working at specific times was difficult for me, the other side of that was getting to explore new places. When I wasn’t working, I spent time on the beach, went biking, toured around cities, met up with friends and went sight seeing.

I especially loved my seven-day road trip in Australia. My fiance and I would make camp at a new location every day while watching the sunset and see different parts of the country. Sure, I had connectivity issues at times, but I was still able to work. I want to do a similar trip next year, but for three months instead of seven days.

This balance is what was missing from my life when I worked in corporate.

Have you heard of The Minimalists? I listened to their weekly podcast religiously for a long time and it had a big impact on the way I lived my life.

At this point, I’ve said “no” to what I don’t need in life and only keep what is necessary.

I’ll never forget what I call my “surfer paradise” days, when I meditated in the morning, went to the beach to work out, hung out by the pool and read on my kindle. I developed myself and felt energized to start working in the afternoon or in the night.

Minimalism isn’t about having less. It doesn’t mean that you have to fit your whole life inside a backpack. It’s about being mindful and intentional about every little thing you have. Everything must have a purpose. The objects in your life, your experiences, it must all have an intention behind it.

Applying the minimalist mindset to work and leadership

Adopting a minimalist and essentialist mindset is healthy for business.

Now, I’m able to take into consideration what are the most meaningful and impactful things I can do as a leader. As I’ve developed a better awareness about what’s meaningful and important, I’ve learned how to say no to things.

For a long time, I felt like I was on autopilot, but now I feel like my life is on track. The key is adapting your work to the lifestyle that’s best for you instead of adapting your lifestyle to your work.

Being a digital nomad isn’t the only way to have a creative and different work style.

Some people work only nine months of the year, and travel for three. Some work remotely from a coworking space around other startups and entrepreneurs.

The most important thing is to not force the corporate lifestyle if it’s making you miserable. I’m living proof that other options exist, even if you’re in a leading position.

Having a team that works entirely remotely brings challenges to the way we align our work and stay productive. We’re still on a learning curve. But we encourage trust and autonomy. Trust is a huge priority for us.

LeadWise’s diverse team represents many countries all over the globe, like Brazil, Germany, Portugal, the US and more.

We have come far as a remote team, and looking to the future we’re aiming to continue to clarify roles and responsibilities, master our flow of communication and make the most of our informal catch-ups and virtual happy hours. Like any company, remote or not, we constantly develop our team meetings and team alignment. But what makes it even more fun is the ongoing exploration of practices and tools to continue learning and keep improving the way we work, while we help others do the same.

To keep up with new podcast episodes and LeadWise articles, sign up now to our free newsletter.

We believe that we need to change how work works. LeadWise is a home for business leaders to get practical tools and education to lead in today’s changing world. We do this by offering online courses, in-person workshops and software through an international network of changemakers. Join the movement at www.leadwise.co.

Follow us on Twitter | Youtube | Facebook | LinkedIn | Podcast


The Truth About Co-Leading A Team Remotely was originally published in LeadWise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Can’t crack that programming problem? Go to sleep (or take a walk)

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Think back to the last time you had that really tough programming problem you couldn’t crack.

If you’re like me, you may have spent a few hours trying to brute force a solution. Then, in despair and frustration, eventually you gave up for the night.

And then the next morning, you wake up and the solution is clear as day in your head. You face palm yourself, rush to your computer, implement it in 15 minutes, and all is well in the world again.

Or this — I work a problem all morning to no avail. Lunch time hits, so I take my dog for a 30 minute walk. And somewhere along that walk I’ve figured out the solution. I get back home and fly through it the rest of the afternoon.

George has the right idea, but this doesn’t count as real sleep. 😆

Look, I realize I’m not saying anything particularly new or profound here. But it absolutely bears repeating because I often forget this too:

Sleeping and walking are some of the best techniques to improve your work as a programmer.

(Pro tip: don’t take your phone to bed or on your walks. Your brain needs to be fully disconnected.)

I’m no scientist or expert on how the brain works, but there is plenty of science to back it. The basic premise is that free association and fixation forgetting (letting go of what you’re banging your head on) is crucial to problem solving. Your brain can put together solutions more effectively when it’s allowed to wander.

This is exactly why “Eat, sleep, code, repeat” is such bullshit. Your brain needs to do something else from time to time (and be rested) to do your best programming.

So the next time something isn’t clicking, leave it. Forget about it. Take a walk and go grab a donut. Get 8 hours of sleep. Your brain will do the heavy lifting and tell you when it’s ready to solve that problem.

If this article was helpful to you, please do hit the 💚 button below. Thank you!

We’re hard at work making the of Basecamp 3 better every day (by getting a good night’s sleep every night). Check it out!


Can’t crack that programming problem? Go to sleep (or take a walk) was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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1 public comment
brunovdc
122 days ago
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It's not just coders that benefit from a sleep or walk break. Any analysis, even any difficult topic becomes better when leaving it alone for a while.

Earth Temperature Timeline

15 Comments and 64 Shares
[After setting your car on fire] Listen, your car's temperature has changed before.
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15 public comments
tedder
306 days ago
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Keep arguing about parking spaces, XKCD edition.
Uranus
sjk
311 days ago
reply
Proof that painting, pottery, rope, and bows and arrows cause Global Warming. All we need to do, is revert our technology to those halcyon days and all will be right with the world.
Florida
srsly
312 days ago
reply
All these likes and shares, even Samuel can't pull this attention!
Atlanta, Georgia
tante
313 days ago
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XKCD's brilliant visualization of global warming.
Oldenburg/Germany
DerBonk
313 days ago
reply
Munroe is on the top of his game with this web comics essay. Very disturbing. Summer is coming.
Germany
gangsterofboats
313 days ago
reply
Fossil fuels will solve the problem.
MaryEllenCG
313 days ago
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Yeah, we're fucked, because too many people believe climate change is a hoax.
Greater Bostonia
kazriko
313 days ago
I'd say it's because of doctrinare belief that the only way to stop climate change is to stop emitting carbon. I believe you'd make far more headway if you said that instead of a carbon tax, you had to transfer money to those who design and maintain carbon sinks. That would give people more incentive to create the technology to remove CO2 from the air, and to not cut down forests, etc.
stefanetal
311 days ago
@kazriko Your proposal is about as sensible as letting everybody take your stuff and then hiring people to look for it after a week. It will create costs and employment for looking. But you won't end up with much stuff. Not using the 100x more expensive technology isn't doctrinaire.
kazriko
311 days ago
You're not going to make any headway with the idea that everyone must immediately stop all of the things that make them healthy, prosperous, and happy though. The technology is only expensive because nobody has put money into the research and development of it. Even the drastic step of stopping emissions does nothing whatsoever for the problem because you have to do something about what is already in the air. If you want to actually solve the problem, then funding this research is the only way to actually do it.
stefanetal
311 days ago
Ahm, it's a carbon tax, like a sales tax, it won't 'stop all of the things that make [people] healthy, prosperous, and happy' any more than current sales taxes do. You might as well suggest people not be allow to take all the stuff they see that makes them happy. It's only expensive since property is theft. And if people could take what makes them happy, companies would do research on how to make more cheaply. Maybe the gov should fund research on that instead of wasting it on police. On a less sarcastic note, your view just does't work if you try to write out any basic cost functions based on any input-output technologies. There may be an escape if we get really cheap non-carbon energy, but that's about it. Paying people to put carbon back in the ground if you don't tax others as least as much to take it back out is about as reasonable as say Venezuela buying gasoline on the open market to sell it to 'users' at 10 cents/gallon (who then sell it right back). It may be how the politics play out (see your first sentence), but it doesn't end well (or it needs to be sustained by rationing -- which is where any implementation of your proposal is going).
stefanetal
311 days ago
Also, on 2nd thought, If you want to discuss cost functions and physical constraints on them, I'd be happy to do so non-sarcastically. Writing a good and realistically model of this might help clarify why we disagree and who is right/wrong, under which kinds kinds of assumptions. For instance, sometimes other costs (transportation costs?) do function as the near equivalent of Pigouvian taxes, so things can work out at times for other reasons. I don't see that here.
stefanetal
311 days ago
Real issue is that the climate change 'cost' part is still pretty much all in the future, due to the very very high heat capacity of the ocean and the ocean's slow turnover. Lots of future warming is already fully baked in and many people aren't willing the see it as real yet. And I do expect that using taxes to control carbon emissions is going to look very gentle compared to methods that at least some groups are going to try 50 years from now (say, biological methods to control energy demand by reducing the customer base). So concern about taxes making people unhappy is going to look very pre-crisis quaint.
kazriko
310 days ago
That's quite the wall of text there. I'm not talking about the carbon tax. I'm talking about all of the environmentalists who say that the only solution is the complete ceasing of all emissions, and won't take "nuclear" for an answer. You know, the ones you're referring to as "some groups are going to try." You would be taxing others through this scheme, but you would be then shifting that money to putting carbon back in the ground, instead of shifting it to governments to do... whatever... with. I just don't trust anyone who says that taxes only are a viable answer because it will neither decrease emissions enough, nor will it actually decrease concentrations whatsoever. It alone is not a solution. It is only an intermediate step towards banning all emissions.
stefanetal
310 days ago
You write: "I'm not talking about the carbon tax." I was responding to your 2nd initial sentense: " I believe you'd make far more headway if you said that instead of a carbon tax". And your arguement that carbon can't be in the tax base since taxes are bad is...well, we already have a tax base, just a economically and ecology less good one. Can't follow your other claims, but they strike me as incoherent as articulated (i.e. using word with different coverage in different parts of the argument as if they referred to the same thing, that is 'carbon tax' = 'crazy enviromenatlist", so lets discuss "crazy enviromentalists". You've not shown that carbon taxes are crazy or associated only with crazy enviromentalists. ).
kazriko
310 days ago
The main thing I don't want is for how all of the current taxation schemes seem to be doing it. Emitters are grandfathered in to a certain amount, and if they cut emissions they can sell those credits to others. This basically entrenches all of the existing interests and makes it impossible for new companies to make any headway. Any solution shouldn't give exemptions to the entrenched, only allow those who find ways of mitigating the issue to sell exemptions to others.
kazriko
310 days ago
*sigh* Yes, that sentence doesn't parse the way I was intending. I was meaning instead of ONLY a carbon tax. I didn't also mean "crazy environmentalist" = "carbon tax" but "crazy environmentalist" = "100% end of all carbon emissions" As I said just before, the problem with the tax schemes are that they just go to do whatever, and don't solve the problem, just slightly discourage things rather than solving them. Only a carbon tax will lead to the 100% end of emissions because it won't work, and if it doesn't work, by your own admission people will be doing less gentle methods.
kazriko
310 days ago
You can see what I intended to say by the "transfer money to" thing in the same sentence. That meant transfer money from those who emit carbon to those who remove it.
stefanetal
310 days ago
Ah, mostly a misunderstanging then...:-). We still disagree, but I can dial back to a much more manageable debate...need to run now. I do take the technocratic basline view that Pigouvian taxes are a good starting point, but there are political issues that are serious and hard to model. More later...
Ferret
313 days ago
reply
:-|
wreichard
313 days ago
reply
The power of visualization.
Earth
darastar
313 days ago
reply
This is legit. And also scary?
alt_text_bot
313 days ago
reply
[After setting your car on fire] Listen, your car's temperature has changed before.
drchuck
313 days ago
reply
Stonehenge!
Long Island, NY
emdeesee
313 days ago
reply
Fun fact: If laser-etched onto a 2x4 we use to hit people who say "...but the climate has changed before" over the head, it would be almost seven feet long.
Lincoln, NE
joeythesaint
313 days ago
And since the most common sizes you find 2x4s in is 6' and 8' long and you wouldn't want to truncate the graph, that means you've got more than an extra foot to extrapolate the data further. Or wrap it with a shirt and tape so you don't get calluses.
jscartergilson
313 days ago
reply
bookmarked
smadin
313 days ago
reply
Today in We're Fucked
Boston

03/16/16 PHD comic: 'Super Massive Black Holes'

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Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
www.phdcomics.com
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Super Massive Black Holes" - originally published 3/16/2016

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

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How the Analyst can get to Big Data

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Analyst: "We can't do big data, so we got a bunch of small data and threw it all together."

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regarding confidence, compassion, and bullies

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Last year, at Denver Comicon, I answered a question from a young woman who was having a hard time at school, because kids were being cruel to her. She asked me if I was ever called a “nerd” when I was in school, and how I handled it. Here’s my answer:

This seems to be going viral today, and made it to the top of the front page of Reddit yesterday, where her mother commented:

That was my daughter. She and the girl that bullied her are cool with each other this year. They aren’t in the same class, though. This year has been a good year, but she noticed another little girl in her class kept getting picked on by the other students. She became this girl’s friend and stands up for her when the other kids are being mean. We’ve talked about this moment a lot. After this panel, she paid to get her picture taken with Wil. He actually hugged her!

In the same thread, her father weighed in:

That was my daughter that asked that question. This was a magical moment for the whole family. What you might not get from the sound of all the applause is that there wasn’t a dry eye in the room after this. Mia met Wil again briefly at the Kansas city con this year, and he was as gracious and cool as you could have hoped. They talked about minecraft, ballet, mistakes, and silliness. Wil Wheaton, you are an honorary member of this family and I hope you know that you have made a real impact on Mia and the rest of us silly nerds. I wish you nothing but the greatest success. Oh yeah we love Tabletop too.

I’m so happy to learn that she and the girl who was mean to her have changed that relationship dynamic, but I’m so incredibly proud that she’s standing up against bullying with other kids in her school.

I really try my best to be the person I want other people to be. I don’t always succeed, but when I see things like this, and hear from people who have been touched or inspired by something I said or did in a positive way, it reminds me how important it is to do everything we can to be awesome.

Speaking of being awesome, please enjoy this picture of her that her mom put on Reddit last year.

UPDATE: via Medium.com, a transcript:

When I was a boy I was called a nerd all the time—because I didn’t like sports, I loved to read, I liked math and science, I thought school was really cool—and it hurt a lot. Because it’s never ok when a person makes fun of you for something you didn’t choose. You know, we don’t choose to be nerds. We can’t help it that we like these things—and we shouldn’t apologize for liking these things.

I wish that I could tell you that there is really easy way to just not care, but the truth is it hurts. But here’s the thing that you might be able to understand—as a matter of fact I’m confident you will be able to understand this because you asked this question…

When a person makes fun of you, when a person is cruel to you, it has nothing to do with you. It’s not about what you said. It’s not about what you did. It’s not about what you love. It’s about them feeling bad about themselves. They feel sad.

They don’t get positive attention from their parents. They don’t feel as smart as you. They don’t understand the things that you understand. Maybe one of their parents is pushing them to be a cheerleader or a baseball player or an engineer or something they just don’t want to do. So they take that out on you because they can’t go and be mean to the person who’s actually hurting them.

So, when a person is cruel to you like that, I know that this is hard, but honestly the kind and best reaction is to pity them. And don’t let them make you feel bad because you love a thing.

Maybe find out what they love and talk about how they love it. I bet you find out that a person who loves tetherball, loves tetherball in exactly the same way that you love Dr. Who, but you just love different things.

And I will tell you this — it absolutely gets better as you get older.

I know it’s really hard in school when you’re surrounded by the same 400 people a day that pick on you and make you feel bad about yourself. But there’s 50,000 people here this weekend who went through the exact same thing—and we’re all doing really well.

So don’t you ever let a person make you feel bad because you love something they decided is only for nerds. You’re loving a thing that’s for you.

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