How to Stay Productive When You're Traveling and Have Crappy Internet

Sander van Hezik Jan 10, 2022 12:28:00 PM

Struggling with crappy internet can put a zap on your productivity. Read more about how to stay productive.

Whether you’re part of the growing digital nomad movement or you’re just trying to get some work done in between cocktails on the beach, struggling with crappy internet can put a zap on your productivity when you’re working and traveling. There’s nothing more frustrating than being used to speedy uploads and video calls where you can actually, you know, see the person you’re talking to, only to switch to some practically dial-up level nonsense.

But fear not! There are ways to stay productive, even when you’re in a country (or even just a hotel) with crappy internet. All it takes is a bit of planning, a willingness to be flexible — and a solid dose of chill.

1. Make a to-do list the night before

The most useful thing you can do for yourself is spend a few minutes every evening making a to-do list for the next day. It not only gives you an idea of what you have to tackle but also helps you figure out which things you really need a strong connection for. And, it makes it possible to jump right in to work in the morning, rather than dithering around trying to figure out what you’re going to do that day.

2. Include work that can be done offline

Internet drops. Power cuts happen. People torrent entire seasons of Scandal in cafes. In order to make sure you’re not totally screwed when any and all of the above happen, make sure that every to-do list has some offline work. If everything you do requires websites (like if you’re a journalist and need to do research), pull up all the sites and information you need the night before. That way, you won’t get caught with nothing to do when all connectivity hell breaks loose.

3. Scope out multiple work spots

Figure out more than one place to work so that if the internet cuts (or is just particularly terrible) in your usual spot, you have another place to head to. Try a combination of hotel lobbies, cafes, and co-working spaces and you should be covered.

4. Figure out the best time of day for connectivity

A lot of places will have speeds that differ at differ times of day. You can figure out the optimal time by running internet speed tests at set intervals throughout the day. That will give you a good idea of when to schedule stuff — like calls — that need higher bandwidth, leaving the slower times of day for less bandwidth-heavy work such as work that can be done offline.

5. Minimize open tabs

Open tabs can sap all of your connectivity, so it’s a good idea to keep just the ones that are absolutely necessary open. Utilize your bookmarks, see here how to create them in Avast Secure Browser! This actually has the added productivity-boosting benefit of keeping distractors like Facebook, Twitter, and Slack out of your face when you’re trying to focus. Trust me — not being able to passively leave those sites open makes a huge difference. 

6. Invest in a good phone plan

A lot of places will have crap internet but a great mobile system, so it’s worth it to figure out what the speediest phone connection is in your area and buy a SIM card. Phones can act as alternative sources for access if the internet drops completely or it’s just not running well. All you have to do is tether and, voila! You’re good to go.

7. Learn the value of chill!

Finally, you might just need to learn the value of taking a deep breath, slowing down, and learning how to chill. Is the world really going to end if you can’t get that email out at that specific moment? Probably not.

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