Dale Johnson from Hacker Paradise
Published 25. apr 2018 07:04
Who are you and what do you do for a living?
Hey there, I’m Dale Johnson. I’m a trip lead and the Head of Content at Hacker Paradise, and have been travelling the world with them and other awesome nomads for two years. In my spare time I draw about all the ridiculous things that happen while travelling at The Daley Doodle (instagram.com/thedaleydoodle).
What's your morning routine like?
This used to depend on how hungover I was! But on a serious note, running Hacker Paradise in different locations does mean your routine has to be flexible, mainly due to communication over so many timezones.
I try not to set an alarm, so that I get enough sleep. I used to be a person of strict, rigid routine, so learning to be more flexible on the road has been a challenge. But I always make sure I have breakfast, and never compromise on exercise etc before starting work. If that means clocking on later, then so be it.
What's a typical day at work like for you?
The beauty of working for Hacker Paradise is that every day brings new challenges. Dealing with the pain points of our logistical setup, cultivating and shaping the community, hosting our professional growth activities and being there for fellow HPers, through good and bad times, are all under the umbrella.
At a higher level, Hacker Paradise has a prominent and engaging online presence, and our awesome team all have a hand in everything from interviewing potential HPers to documenting all the amazing stuff that happens on trip.
From being interviewed by Etihad Airways inflight magazine, to carrying boxes of water up the street on my shoulders from the local supermarket in Lima because a mudslide in the north of Peru contaminated the reservoir, HP has pretty much thrown everything and anything at me!
What do you do when you're not working?
I’m a illustrator at heart, and as of now I am collating all my drawings from the last two years into a book entitled ‘Travel Problems’. This book celebrates the funny, very real side of travelling, and beyond the humour, at a deeper level, encourages us all to be vulnerable.
Other comics include explaining colourblindness, dissecting the EU referendum using Superman to argue ‘in’ and Batman to argue ‘out’ and, hypothetically, how much Sherlock Holmes’ home insurance cost. I’m a big Instagrammer, so be sure to check me out @thedaleydoodle. If I’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that, if you have an idea, just put it out there. You never know what it could lead to…
What does your office and desk look like?
I could quite possibly be the most un-nomadic nomad of all time. Working out of bed simply does not cut it for me, and I need a comfortable, stable setup in order to focus and be creative.
Ergonomics are vitally important in my eyes, as I’ve been in situations where my posture is so bad it’s been too painful to work longer than twenty minutes. My Roost keeps my back upright (absolute life saver), Apple keyboard is compact and my Wacom allows me to design away without wrist pain. It’s not the most compact of setups, but it does address my health, which I value most above everything else.
What challenges do you often run into when you're working?
For me, it’s having to wear multiple hats every day. When you’ve got a hand in everything, staying focussed is definitely challenging. I also I try to make sure I make time every day to do things for me, such as exercise, drawing, chatting with family back home and so on.
Do you have any good productivity tips?
The beauty of working remotely is (bar meetings/calls) it does allow you to set your own hours. I’m definitely a night owl, so I structure my days to take regular breaks and avoid mornings when I’m absolutely useless.
I break higher level tasks into smaller, more manageable goals, drink A LOT of water and turn off communication tools when I need to get my head in the zone to be creative. Assigning time to your day to communicate and think, not just deliver, has also been very helpful for me.
What tools do you use at work to be productive?
Monday is great, over the industry-standard Trello, for assigning tasks and monitoring progress, as it’s very colour-coded and visual. Wunderlist is great for very small, daily to-dos, and I CANNOT work without music. I will load up instrumental playlists from the likes of 65daysofstatic and God is an Astronaut, or 2 hour long Radio 1 essential mixes from any house DJ, because the music is generally continuous, progressive in flow and without lyrics, which I find really helps me get into ‘the zone’.
How do you get inspiration to get up in the morning and kick ass?
I’m a very lucky person. I get to travel the world and do all these amazing things and, despite being from a humble, working class background, I’m still white, male and privileged. And keeping that in my peripheral I believe is very important.
I hate to sound like a Miss Universe, but I do believe we can all give back and strive for a more inclusive, progressive society, in our own little ways. I used to teach, and it was such a rewarding thing to do. So I do my best to cultivate that type of community at HP: one that embraces diversity, encourages sharing and values learning. Even a little gesture, such as smiling at someone and asking them how they are, can go a long way.