Nadia Piet is a freelance business innovator who currently resides in Mumbai, working out of Ministry of New. She is also a digital nomad who has lived in numerous countries, India being her latest one. Nadia is passionate about shaping the future of work, education and life through learning and development. A full-time freelancer and a frequent blogger, today Nadia shares a glimpse of her life as a true digital nomad, prior to our upcoming workshop Design Your Vocation: How to Turn Ideas Into Action, which will be facilitated by Nadia and Benjamin Lee.
Moving to Bombay has been the result of proactive opportunity creation and adventure seeking. I decided I would like to work in a co-working space, and that it was time to go beyond the familiarity of western society for a while. 20 emails, 3 Skype interviews, a VISA application and a ballsy move later, here I was.
Because I morph my life into something new every 6 months or so, consequently my days, depending on my engagements at that time, look completely different. For today’s DYSCO diary, we’ll move through my most recent days living and working in Bombay.
8 – 9 AM : Morning Routine
As an insomniac, most mornings I wake up a little groggy. To get myself in the right frame of mind to rock the day, I (try) show up for my cycle of yoga, meditation and prayer every morning.
Habits are a tough nut to crack, but this approach called “tiny habits” (about making the act so small that you can not refuse or excuse it) has really helped me. So some days my yoga session consists of 3 asanas, and it’s simply the consistency of stepping on the mat that matters. Most mornings, I spend about 10-15 minutes doing yoga, sometimes following a Yoga with Adriene session – a great youtube channel if you want to start your practice – or self-guided. My meditations I do with the Insight Timer app, which has an abundance of guided meditations as well as a singing bowl timer if you want to simply focus on the breath. My prayers set the intention for the day and ask whatever is out there to help me be kind, focussed and strong.
I eat a bowl of yogurt with fruits, get showered, dressed and be out.
9 – 10:30 : Daily Commute
The Bombay commute standards are something else. I travel, as many of us here do, from Khar (Road) to Fort (CSMT) every damn day. I use this time to listen to some of my favorite podcasts (Design Matters with Debbie Milman, Tim Ferris’ Tribe of Mentors, Roman Mars’ 99% Invisible, NPR’s How I Built This with Guy Raz to name a few) and gather inspiration for the day.
10:40 : Arriving at Ministry of New
These past months I’ve been working as Business Innovator in residence at the design-inspired co-working space Ministry of New. Every day I walk into the location, I am taken over by the light and aesthetics of the space. It’s a pleasure to call a place like that my office, and invite any creative professionals in the Bay to come check it out one day if you haven’t. If it’s a good day for my social anxiety, I might have made a friend in the elevator up.
11 : 3 Most Important Tasks
Before I get lost in the sauce of emails, tabs, and creative ideas, I take time to write down my priorities for the day. The moment my MacBook slings open, a (preferably almond) latte and a posit with my 3 most important tasks for the day will be by my side.
11 – 13 : Get shit done
Time to get to work! From setting up and doing user or employee interviews, creating customer journeys and service blueprints, identifying needs, researching literature, designing solutions, testing them out with the team, writing content and drafting content strategies, launching digital tools to streamline workflows, helping colleagues develop their craft, preparing meeting and brainstorm formats.
13 – 14 : Lunch
I love the food here so veg curry with chapati, thalis, chole bhature or anything spicy and carb-heavy from the amazingly rich and diverse Indian cuisine will fuel me. As someone who pretty much lives in their head, I try to go for a bit of a walk or run some errands in my break as a way to keep my body involved.
14 – 15:30 : Team sessions
On Tuesdays we do a weekly team check-in. On other days we host other meetings or brainstorming or problem-solving session around this hour. As the business innovator in residence, it’s my role to lead these sessions, making sure everyone participates and the right ideas, actionables and understanding are created along the way.
15:30 – 18 : Deep work + pomodoros
After the meeting, I take a breather, another latte and I continue slaying that to-do list. By this time the posit has usually filled up with an additional 10 tasks scrambled around the 3 items I put there in the morning. To ensure the important stuff gets done and because I get distracted easily (ADHD anyone? Millennial attention span, everyone?), I like to get into so-called deep work intervals. I put in my earplugs, fire up a Miles Davis playlist, open a desktop with only one window and don’t look up until it’s done. Again, I breathe, I go for a walk, and grab another coffee. The remaining time, I spent ticking off those other to-do’s using a time management technique called pomodoro, which essentially breaks up your time into cycles of 25 minutes of work and 5 minute breaks. Again this is a way to keep myself from drifting to consuming content and clapping for Medium articles, making Spotify playlists, working on creative yet completely irrelevant ideas, and god knows what. I use the BeFocused timer in my Mac menu for this.
18 – 20 : Passion projects
Towards the end of the day, I either work on passion projects or process personal admin, depending on how fried my brain is. I’m currently doing this certified online course on Shaping the Future of Work with MIT. I’m planning the workshop for DYSCO this Saturday. At any given time I’m usually writing a blog post or four (and still struggling to publish them). I’m developing a coaching method. I’m experimenting with a workshop canvas to help people design learning experiences. Once a month, I send a curated newsletter with my favorite reads & content. And I usually have some contact with either past, current or future freelance clients.
I’m a little obsessed with lifelong learning so alternatively, I might visit an event or talk to learn about new topics, deepen my knowledge, and hear people’s stories. I take sketchnotes to review later.
20 – 23 : Never eat alone
Around 8 PM I (try) shut my MacBook. I almost religiously follow the cliche (they’re cliches for a reason!) of never eat alone, and like to use lunches and dinner as an opportunity to enjoy time with my friends and interesting people I’ve met along the way. Besides nourishing the body with food, the conversations had, advice exchanged and support given during these dinners feed my mental.
23 – 24 : Practicing gratitude
By the time I get home I’m pretty done. If I have energy left, I read. My current pick is Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus, alternated with selected stories by Leo Tolstoy. I (video)call my boyfriend who’s back home in Amsterdam, and speak to him until I pass out around 1 or 2. I get some of my best ideas in this state from wakefulness to sleep (which is called hypnagogia by the way) so I always keep my phone close for notes (and hope I still understand them the next morning).
As I fall asleep, I like to rewind my day in my head like a little movie, and think of all the moments, opportunities, learnings and interactions I am grateful for. Most days, it’s a lot.
Nadia is always looking for interesting projects and collaborations, you can connect with Nadia Piet by messaging her on her Dysco Profile or email us at email@example.com for a personal introduction.
Credit to Kartik Rathod Photography for the featured image in this post.