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How to get into the zone without caffeine?


by @panoramica | 5yr  | 17 comments

Iโ€™m recovering from a stomach bug so caffeine and sugar, the two staples of late night development, are off the menu. As a result Iโ€™m finding it quite hard to get motivated!

Does anyone have some alternative techniques to wake my brain up and plug me in?

Currently Iโ€™m indulging in music but itโ€™s not having quite the same effect as the killer combo of coffee/music/chocolate :cry:

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@carolynhoney | 5yr

Iโ€™ll second the Girl Talk recommendation. :wink:

Also, I find that taking Korean Ginseng will get me very pumped and focused - sometimes tooooooo much if i take it too late in the afternoon, I canโ€™t sleep.

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@lucha54 | 5yr

If you can get through 2 or 3 weeks of caffeine withdrawals, your energy levels actually return to normal. When you start drinking coffee, you get tons of energy, but then as you get addicted, you end up back at base level, and feel tired due to withdrawals (ever drink a coffee right before bed and wake up feeling like you donโ€™t need one?) So if you suffer it out for a few weeks, youโ€™ll see that you had as much energy naturally as you did with your morning cuppa joe. This is true of all addictive substances! If youโ€™re a smoker, youโ€™ll remember the crazy headrush in the beginning, and now itโ€™s just to feel normal because of the withdrawals/cravings. :confused:

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@syneryder | 5yr

On the music side of flow, Iโ€™ve found that fast paced electronic music without vocals helps keep me in the zone. Over the years Iโ€™ve built a playlist of about 700 songs I find ideal for working to:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/syneryder/playlist/5YpeoHyEHG7ttNgvzAkW72
Rdio: http://www.rdio.com/people/syneryder/playlists/598011/Music_For_Coding_To/

I try to play the same first few songs every time I start to work, it acts as a Pavlovian cue to start workingโ€ฆ to the point where Iโ€™ve heard some of those songs in public and felt an urge to begin work.

I quit caffeine for a long time (7 years?), but I donโ€™t feel I saw any benefits besides making it easier to wake up in the morning. I think going without caffeine is overrated. I really enjoy my coffee & mochas & cola & Club Mate.

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@theworlddancer | 5yr

Nice playlist! I use music in the same way and especially like D&B for working.

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@gnefkow | 5yr

Iโ€™ve found one of the biggest helps for me is to get strict about distractions.

If youโ€™re able to work offline (which you may or may not be, depending on what youโ€™re working on), that is a good start. I blocked my facebook so I wouldnโ€™t be tempted to get out of the zone. Close whatever your email client is. Log off slack/hip chat for a little while.

From what Iโ€™ve read in books like โ€œPeoplewareโ€ it usually takes 15 minutes or so of concentrating before you really hit a state of โ€˜flow.โ€™ Nothing kills that like messages popping up all over the place or just taking a โ€œquick lookโ€ at twitter.

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@panoramica | 5yr

@gneflow Cheers, that is one of the tough things about the modern work environment - multiple browser tabs all vying for my attention (code preview, timesheets, Trello, various documentation). Perhaps there is a tab management plugin that can help me. I agree that it takes a while of stabbing away before the barriers melt and the code flows. Sometimes I have to force myself through this phase to get to the actually-I-really-love-it part!

@syneryder I agree, Iโ€™m a longtime fan of fast paced electronic music without vocals. Funny that youโ€™ve programmed yourself with musical cues, I might try that! It reminds me of those spy movies where a public phone booth would ring and some random dude would answer it then go and undertake a high profile assassination attempt. I definitely think that one can consume too much coffee and degrade sleep quality, but Iโ€™ve been healthy and unhealthy over the years, and neither state seems more conducive than the other for getting the work done! Also, Iโ€™m sure that there are plenty of things worse for you than coffee, e.g daily bombardment by WiFi, Bluetooth and mass produced pop musicโ€ฆ

@lucha54 The trouble is that I think I just have an addictive personality. I can give up one thing but then I just replace it with something else!

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@itinerantdev | 5yr

Music can work. Girl Talk - All Day is kind of famous for being really great for upping your productivity while working. I was skeptical, but it certainly works for me. Itโ€™s hard to explain, but just give it a go :slight_smile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWzkK7tUjaU

Also plus one for Self Control and regular breaks

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@panoramica | 5yr

Cheers lasmit. Self control isnโ€™t really my forte so thank goodness for invasive software! I have a phone full of music snob music that is a necessary requirement before any work can start - usually music without lyrics is best for me, including regular breaks :wink:

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@stratigos | 5yr

Have you ever thought of finding a Health Coach? They typically work on problems just like this (removing caffeine from diet and how to compensate on the job). I had a hard time quitting caffeine / coffee a few years ago, but I am in my 30s and I typically have more energy and focus than I did drinking coffee everyday in my 20s.

Regularity is key, and balance is key. Always prioritize rest and sleep, and dont sacrifice on your sleep ever. Diet also plays a huge role, eating a diet packed with fresh organic vegetables, and a balance of macro-nutrients relative to your lifestyle is going to affect your energy levels and ability to focus greatly. We programmers tend to need more carbohydrates for brain fuel than lets say, professional power lifters, though it should not come in the form of junk food or refined wheat/flour, but in the form of whole grains like sorghum, barley, buckwheat, unrefined rice, millet, and quinoa. Then you need ample exercise, something that gets blood flowing throughout your body for a minimum of 20 minutes a day (for most of the days of the week). Running makes ticking this requirement off easy, but also some mixup of bodyweight exercises, or some internal arts like yoga, kung fu, or tai chi. The important thing is to use your body well, and dont confine it to long sessions in a chair. I find that jogging regularly really helps me think clear and focused.

Lately I have fallen in love with the Pomodoro technique (wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique). The short version is you work in 25 minute blocks, then get up and move around for 3-5 minutes in between. As a software dev, this drove me nuts at first, as I wanted large uninterrupted blocks of sitting to get more code out. After I disciplined myself and followed this technique, I found that my focus sustained far longer, and I actually enjoyed working longer hours, and all around felt more clear and mentally focused in other areas of life. Plus it allowed me more mental focus for non work things, like relationships, chores, or other life-maintenance tasks. I use a service called Kanban Flow (free), but there are a lot of project/time management services which have Pomodoro techniques built in.

Again, I seriously recommend finding a Health Coach that works via remote / internet to help with caffeine addiction. Coffee is a powerfully addictive substance and leads to a condition known as adrenal fatigue, and if you are not knowledgeable of adrenal fatigue, you can suffer from it chronically without knowing it (most of the developed world does). It ages a person quickly, and leads to chronic lack of focus, will, and energy, and gets worse with age, and the symptoms are only temporarily alleviated with more caffeine. Having a trained professional assist with diet and lifestyle changes can only help. I have worked with remote health coaches out of New Zealand and America, and could recommend some I like to you.

All in all, just find balance between rest, diet, and exercise, and know that caffeineโ€™s effects are subtle, insidious, and strong, and that it will take weeks, perhaps a month, before natural focus and will flow (if you are recovering from a daily caffeine habit). The first week is the worst! It does get better over time. Good luck!

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@panoramica | 5yr

Hey stratigos, no I havenโ€™t - TBH I never took my problem that seriously! I actually havenโ€™t drunken much caffeine/coffee at all since I left my old life and its daily coffee binges 8 weeks ago (probably more vodka, but thatโ€™s another story). Itโ€™s really just been night times over the last few weeks while Iโ€™ve been struggling to do some coding work. Maybe this signals a bigger problem - i.e that Iโ€™m just super lazy!! I know that Iโ€™m supposed to live a balanced life, but Iโ€™m really a night owl, and I figure that 42 is too old to be thinking about changing my spots rather than wearing them with pride. Since writing this post I have found it easier to knuckle down though (hence being much quieter on this forum) - I think busier days and looming deadlines are pretty effective motivators for me. :smile:

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@nickdanforth | 5yr

Ice water, fruit juice, and exercise does it for me.

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@panoramica | 5yr

Thanks, yes I like exercise too - but I find that really unappealing here in smogville (Ulaanbaatar). Cold drinks are great, maybe thatโ€™s part of the appeal of Coke/Red Bull/V, aside from the heavy marketing and temporary sugar rush.

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@munly_leong | 5yr

Sleep deprivation doesnt work for me as much as it did when I was younger. I was about a half-hour/hr away from finishing up a project last night to be submitted today and noticed my output quality seriously going into the shitter unless I got some rest. Adrenaline maybe kept me going an extra 2-4 hrs but has diminishing returns with age. Those 48-72 hr straight days started going poof for me from 26 onwards lol

This is all with 0 caffeine involved. Iโ€™m one of those rare devs who arenโ€™t just a machine that processes coffee into code though. Thinking I should give it another shot after writing this now.

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@panoramica | 5yr

Wow, 72 hour days! Iโ€™m jealous - I didnโ€™t start development until I was almost 30, and at the time I was impressed if I could do half of that.

Iโ€™m already feeling the lack of sleep from last night. Itโ€™s hard when you canโ€™t just prop yourself up on caffeine! Hopefully Iโ€™ll be good to get back on the bandwagon in the next day or so :wink:

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@munly_leong | 5yr

LOL yeahโ€ฆ the whole hackathon culture and all that. You can see why SV has ageism for a reason.

But ultimately thats pretty false and unsustainable. You can get a lot of โ€œinspired prototypingโ€ that way espec from kids but mature, usable stuff comes from mature usable practices to say the least.

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@tjwaldorf | 5yr

I donโ€™t drink coffee/tea/anything caffeinated, this routine is my substitute. The goal is to remove blocks, distractions, and things that slow you down. Those are different for each person I think.

Full glass of water first thing out of bed. Kind of makes you want to throw up when you drink it but feels awesome for the next hour. Strenuous exercise for 26 minutes (running/anything not involving intense pressure on your spine). 4m of stretching. Medium-temperature shower. Eggs & banana & oatmeal for breakfast. Read a few pages from an informational/non-fiction book. Block all social media and anything not work-related using SelfRestraint (if on Windows) or SelfControl (if on Mac). Put your productivity song on Repeat One. Jam for an hour and a half. Take a 15m break, respond to email and socials. Next productivity song on Repeat One, repeat cycle until youโ€™re happy with what youโ€™ve done with the day.

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@panoramica | 5yr

Thanks for your reply - yes I agree that it is a very personal thing. I admire your healthy routine though!

I actually worked quite late last night after installing SelfControl (thanks) - I think that sleep deprivation actually works quite well for me, maybe it boosts the adrenalin which in turn helps me focus.

Cheers.

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How to get a UK residence address without renting/buying?


by @pavel_maximov | 2mo 1 month ago | 17 comments

Background:
Iโ€™m an EU national IT specialist, recently decided to become a digital nomad. I just left my permanent job in Germany and opened a UK based LTD (for a better taxation) to start a new career as remote working IT contractor. I also want to become a UK resident and pay personal income tax there BUT I donโ€™t want to rent/buy a place because I have no interest in physically living in the UK, as a nomad I will be traveling abroad 100% of the time.

So I just need a UK address where Iโ€™m registered as a resident and could receive mail, but I would never actually be there. I could rent a place and keep it empty but that would be a total waste of money.

Question:
How do I find somebody who could give me an official residence at his/her address and keep my name on the door? Iโ€™m ok with paying a reasonable monthly fee for this โ€œserviceโ€ (but not as high as a rent), and give assurance in whatever form that I will never pretend to physically live there. I have no close friends in the UK to ask for this favor, and trying to propose this to a random landlord would be just weird since they are not familiar with the needs of a digital nomad.

Maybe you guys can suggest me somebody who understand the situation and want to make some extra cash every month to pay the bills? Iโ€™m ready to meet in person, provide full proof of identity or any other document, and to make a written agreement that gives the landlord the freedom to cancel this โ€œsituationโ€ at any time.

Note:
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I would be very grateful for any advice!

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in Shanghai, China by @katrin | 1yr 1 year ago | 0 comments

Daily/hourly pass needed.
Canโ€™t work in normal cafรฉ because having clientโ€™s laptop for security reasons, canโ€™t use open networks. Working for R&D. Also laptop is so huge it doesnโ€™t fit normal cafe environment because itโ€™s far from discreet.

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by @clusk | 2yr 1 year ago | 12 comments

For those constrained by their businessโ€™ time zone, how do you manage this?

My home office is in Los Angeles โ€“ though I could swing anything in Central/South America, Iโ€™m looking at going to Lisbon or Chiang Mai for a bit. Both of them are >=8hrs difference potentially wreaking havoc on the work + social life + sleep split. This is a common question for nomads but there doesnโ€™t seem to be a lot of posting on the site about it.

What do you guys think? Any Americans working in Asia or Europe that does it well? I could likely negotiate with my supervisor to work in Eastern standard if I was in Lisbon/Europe, which wouldnโ€™t be too much of a stretch. Noon 'til 8pm. A bit more manageable than Chiang Mai or Bali.

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by @tradeaway | 2yr 2 years ago | 2 comments

I am soon to find out one way or another as I will leave my residency to become a nomad myself. I have not found a good solution for Bali or Asian countries on the internet.

I read our existing Nomadlist posts under Money tag. Money handling and charges around accessing it seem to be a big issue for nomads, soon my issue. As a post I read said, accessing money for a Nomad can be harder than making money. I am more worried about accessing money than having some.

Iโ€™ll use Transferwise Borderless account to keep my day to day living money. I am opening a Pte Ltd corporate, that only goes for business-related expenses.
My Canadian credit card will charge me an arm and a leg in fees and currency conversion for me to get Indonesian Rupiah in Bali from Canadian dollar account. Then at some point, my credit card will complain I am not in Canad anymore.
Not knowing better, Iโ€™ll try that. If that works good and still live me short on how to go for smaller and random daily expenses.

Thanks for your help!
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Do you have time zone issues working remotely in Asia?


by @anniestrout | 3yr 2 years ago | 1 comment

Regarding remote work in Asia/Far East, How have or could you successfully navigate the time zone and internet issue. It sounds like you really have to use a cowork space there to have adequate connection but I would be working mainly in US time zones with 12 hour difference, are there spaces open 24 hours? Is it possible to get good internet with a long term rental instead? I would need a really good connection, which itโ€™s hard to tell if exists in some places at all. Thanks!

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by @fabyliechti | 3yr 2 years ago | 30 comments

Hey Nomads!

Iโ€™m a Swiss Citizen but full time traveler (living a few month there and there) and therefore donโ€™t have a permanent residence/home anywhere in the world.

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As a in Switzerland unregistered Swiss Citizen I donโ€™t have medical care in Switzerland but, however based on Swiss Law Iโ€™m always allowed to return to Switzerland, register and then get medical coverage (f.e. in a medical emergency).

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Hello all,

I have a mail management service in the UK which all my mail gets sent to. This works fine 90% of the time and most can be dealt with digitally.

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Today I read an article about hundreds of thousands of Kurds who were misplaced and lost their homes during military siege of Kurdish cities Sur and Diyarbakir by the Turkish Army. Source below:

I was aware for some time now that the Turkish military is using excessive force against its Kurdish minority, especially after the military coup crackdown this summer. This is one of such articles

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Hi Nomads!

Starting January 2016 Iโ€™m going to be starting a year as a Digital Nomad.
The last 5 years Iโ€™ve never worked with less than 2 monitors in front of me.
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I do webdesign and development and have created a working habbit with several monitors on a large desk. Funny enough this is my biggest concern getting closer to January.

How do i teach myself to work from a 15" screen?
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If you have any ideas for me keeping a dual-monitor setup (The laptop being the first monitor) Iโ€™m all ears!

Regards! And thank you for this delightful Forum!

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If you are living and working out of Thailand (UTC+07:00) but work with people in the New York EST (UTC-05:00) Time Zone, how do you deal / handle the time difference and still be able to enjoy or make the most of the experience without turning into a tired night owl zombie?

Better yet, what do you find to be the benefits / drawbacks of having to work on such a schedule? (specially in Thailand)

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by @waterlooalex | 4yr 4 years ago | 18 comments

What method do you use to get paid by your employer abroad? Iโ€™ve used wire transfers and PayPal, but come to realize there are lots of fees some more obvious than others.

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Opening a discussion on the idea of buying a really large boat and turning into an office for a startup?


by @swarner | 4yr 4 years ago | 7 comments

Ever heard of people buying an old school bus together and taking a road trip throughout the U.S.? Well itโ€™s kind of like that.

What are the chances of a bunch of freelancers, or a startup, buying a really big boat, and working 100% remotely, while cruising to a different country each year? Kind of like Semester at sea but for a company or group of freelancers!

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How to earn income without programming or writing skills?


by @andrewshin7 | 5yr 4 years ago | 5 comments

Hello,
Iโ€™m currently residing in Seoul, Korea working at a corporate office job. Iโ€™m having hard time finding a remote job or freelance job besides programming or article writing related jobs.
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How do you travel Asia with customers in other timezones?


by @iamjamesrodgers | 5yr 4 years ago | 2 comments

Hello!

Iโ€™m sure there are many here who are responsible for a Customer base within American time zones that travel Asia.

How do you balance your life out while doing this?

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by @marcob | 5yr 4 years ago | 6 comments

What questions should one ask themself before embarking into the nomadic lifestyle?
& what would your answer be to said question?

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Can I ship my MacBook to Thailand without it getting stolen?


in Thailand by @asfktz | 5yr 4 years ago | 2 comments

I plan to be in India for the next 3 - 4 months and then move to Thailand to work.
I plan to keep my MacBook at home till then.

Can I trust the mail in Thailand with it?
Is it safer to take it with me to India? (I really prefer not toโ€ฆ)

To be more specific, by Thailand I mean Chiang Mai or Phuket

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Best tool to check different timezones?

 

by @marcusmeurer | 5yr 4 years ago | 25 comments

Have to set up a skype call and always wonder which is the best tool to check the time difference?
I have been on a site where the interface was nicely designed on a world map. Anyone know which one that is?

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Can I use my laptop to call into conference calls remotely?


by @dave4peace | 5yr 4 years ago | 11 comments

Hi Nomads,
First, I am very appreciative of this Forum, have read a lot of very helpful feedback to questions to previous folks questions.

Currently, landing in Hong Kong in about 2 months with no true Nomad experience other than working remotely, as a US Citizen, from home to a US Bank here in the States. My normal workday is remaining constantly in meetings using a Conference software called โ€œLyncโ€ on my work machine. Usually, i can have Lync call my cell phone with no problem in the US, of course.

Question:
Can I do the same Lync Conference, as above, while working abroad, substituting my cell phone with a personal laptop with microphone wherever I work? (presuming: 1) good internet, 2) Skype/GoogleVoice, installed on personal laptop). Basically, my work laptop would be calling Skype on my personal laptop, right? Can this work, cheaply, for 40+ hours of calls per week? Does Skype have country limitations? How does this work in combination with Google Voice, any cheaper? I read GV only works only for certain countries (HK, China, Thailand are okay). Any folks here know what a 40 hour week costs, on average, having this type of setup (Skype and/or GV, or other combo)? All new to meโ€ฆ will just have to try it, and, let you know, if no one has done it here.

Thanks for any suggestions with this!!!
Dave

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What's it like to travel through villages (European or otherwise) without a car?


by @archagon | 5yr 5 years ago | 14 comments

Iโ€™ve been traveling in Europe for about a year now, and Iโ€™ve come to realize (perhaps too late) that some of the most interesting and peaceful stays arenโ€™t in the cities, but in the smaller villages. Unfortunately, I donโ€™t have a car, so the logistics of this might be a little tricky. Have any of you travelled for significant periods of time through villages without a car? If so, I have a few questions:

  1. How did you deal with transport?
  2. Did you feel comfortable and content, or did you get bored? (I assume that without a car, youโ€™d be spending much more time in the actual village than in the neighboring areas โ€” unless you biked, maybe?)
  3. What kinds of people usually live in villages? Is it mostly older people or is it a mix?
  4. How did you deal with the language barrier? I assume that English isnโ€™t nearly as common in villages as it is in the cities. Did you feel uncomfortable or out of place?
  5. Was the internet OK?
  6. Any places youโ€™d particularly recommend?
  7. What are some areas around the world where you could get around easily and see lots of beautiful areas with a bike or scooter? Iโ€™ve heard this about parts of Thailand and the Amalfi coast. Also, if you donโ€™t know how to ride a scooter/motorcycle, do you need lessons or is it easy to pick up?
  8. How easy is it to find affordable stays (via Airbnb or others)? My definition of affordable is no more than, say, $40/day, but ideally less than $35/day.
  9. Is there a good way to balance the desire for contentment and serenity found in villages with the lust for the multi-sensory spectacle and newness of city life (while not having a car)?

I realize itโ€™s a general topic but I donโ€™t have any specific destinations in mind. (Currently looking at France, Italy, Germany, etc.) I also realize that โ€œget a car!โ€ might be the optimal choice for most people, but for me, not only is it too expensive, but it just doesnโ€™t mesh with the way I live my life. So even if thereโ€™s no good answer, Iโ€™d love to hear any and all tips you might have!

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