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The evolution of technology means it’s easier and easier to work full time, online, and many aspiring travelers have taken full advantage of this opportunity, using their status as location independent (not being tied to the one place) to also travel full time.

And before we chose a permanent base, we too were jumping from country to country at an alarming pace. But whether you’ve created a blog (or even looking at a place to start one), write for magazines, or dabble in consultancy, it can often prove difficult to juggle full time travel when you’re also trying to stay on top of a full time workload.

So after 3 years of making money on the road, we’ve put together some of our best tips for balancing both. Because you can’t continue to travel if you’re not earning money. But likewise, you don’t want to be stuck behind a computer desk for the whole time you’re in Taiwan.

Organization Tips For Digital Nomads

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Establish a Routine

I know, I know, the reason you love working online is because you hated your 9-5 routine. But the more productive you are at your computer, the more time you have to head out and explore the destination you’re in. So finding a routine, or rhythm if you hate the former word, is key.

If you find you do your best work in the mornings, get into the habit of waking up, committing to 4 hours of work (or whatever you need) and then heading out in the afternoon. Vice versa if you’re a more productive worker bee after afternoon tea.

Personally I find that working in the morning motivates me to get tasks done quickly, because the sooner I’m finished working, the sooner I can head out and enjoy the day. It helps to designate a work location. This could be the hotel room, a coworking space, or a local cafe, but it helps for your mindset to find somewhere constant you can apply to each new place.

Laptop

Listen to Your Body

Traveling can take a toll on your body, and if your jetlagged, or picked up food poisoning, don’t force the work, because you won’t be in the right mind-space. And if you start turning in crappy work, you’re going to lose your online gig.

Know your body, and how long it takes you to adapt to a new location, and plan your tasks with this in mind. Don’t commit to sending someone content if you know you need two days to recover after a flight.

On the same note, take care of your health. Working online often means sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time. If you need breaks throughout your work day, take them. The same goes for naps. Make sure you’re sitting up straight and not developing bad posture. Make sure you’re carving out time for at least one type of physical activity each day.

Use Your Time Wisely

When you’re traveling full time you’ll be spending a lot of time in transit – waiting at airports, train stations, etc, and this is a perfect opportunity to knock out some work.

So use your time wisely, and utilize as much “dead time” as possible so that you have more time to explore once you land. I find that working inflight actually helps with productivity as there are no online distractions. And it gives you a focus for the flight which makes the time fly by.

WiFi Computer

Make Sure There’s WiFi

Working online you rely on access to the internet, so make sure you’ve planned your upcoming destinations accordingly. Free WiFi should be a major consideration when booking a hotel, but don’t rely on the hotel website for the truth on this; double check recent reviews (Tripadvisor) from real travelers – internet is a common thing which they report on.

On the same note, also confirm that there are power outlets available in your destination, especially if you’re heading somewhere particularly remote.

Use Apps

The best way to stay productive as a digital nomad is to utilize the wonderful world of apps. There are a huge range of apps which will help you quickly adjust to a new environment, from those which track time zone differences, to calendar apps, or those which log your work hours if you want to keep track.

There are apps for finding free WiFi, Uber for transportation, Trello for project management, and Oanda for currency Conversion. Almost every VPN has an affiliate app, and you can look into tech like cloud storage.

There are also apps like Hubstaff for logging your work hours if you want to keep track.

Mobile phone cell apps RF

Slow Travel is Best

The best way to maintain a proper work – travel balance is to travel slowly. Don’t jump between destinations spending 3 days in each, you’re going to burn out and not have enough time to do either properly.

Slow travelers spend weeks – months in each destination, which allows you time to get work done, immerse yourself in the local culture, and see everything you want to see without having to slam everything into a few days.

TO HELP MANAGE & STAY ORGANIZED WITH YOUR ONLINE STORE ↓

Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air Laptop

SONY ICD PX333 Digital Voice Recorder

Moleskine Classic Notebook

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

    20 Comments

  1. Great pointers here espeically about giving the body a rest. I havent actually worked full time blogger on the road as I have a paying job as well in Gotham City (sorry, London UK) but most of my free time is online and if the mobile data or wifi isn’t working, I go mental!

    • Yep, I swear that no WiFi is better than bad WiFi half the time!! If I know that there’s no wifi in advance, I plan my work schedule and enjoy the R&R. But if a place claims to have a connection and then it’s so bad that it doesn’t work – I end up wasting huge amounts of time and get left in a very bad mood! So I’ve learnt to read Tripadvisor reviews for the real info on whether it’s decent WiFi or not!!

  2. These are some excellent tips for being a digital nomad. This is something I am currently looking into and after reading this I think I am a step closer to making it happen for real.

    • I’m glad we could help you out – it’s an incredible journey, but definitely a learning curve re productivity and finding a working groove :)

  3. So true about the routine Megan, the self-motivation of nomadic living works best with one, and I’m a big fan of Trello too. Thanks for the great tips!

    • Yep, as much as we like to complain about routine, there’s definitely something to be said for having one and it keeping yo on track!

  4. yes routine routine routine. I’m always so productive when I have a schedule and stick to it. once I wander off there’s no knowing when I’ll be back on it haha

    • Yep, as much as we like to complain about routine, there’s definitely something to be said for having one and it keeping yo on track!

  5. I agree with all of this- especially slow travel and establishing a routine. I’m like you- I find that if I go early and can “reward” myself with doing what I want to do when I’m finished it motivates me to knock it out. Great list of suggestions!

    • Glad I’m not the only one re the reward mentality lol it may sound silly to barter with yourself but it really helps stay on track! :D

  6. All such great tips Megan, agree with them all. For me though, routine is key! It is so easy to get side tracked when you work for yourself, even harder when travelling too.

    • Thanks Sara – glad I’m not the only one craving routine even though location independence was the dream :D! Definitely easy to get sidetracked and procrastinate when you’re in charge of your workload and schedule.

  7. These are great tips Meg. For me it’s so important to establish a routine, and to track my time. Otherwise I can get distracted on a web development issue and by the time I fix it – or even if I don’t – I’ve lost 4-5 hours!

    • Thanks Vicki! Absolutely on routine – it’s funny that this is what we yearn to escape when chasing the location independent lifestyle, but you realize the importance when you’re in charge of your own time and workload. Work is work, whether you’re behind a desk or traveling while you do it. And I think everything needs some form of routine :)

  8. You’ve listed some great tips here Meg. Rising early and getting a jump start on the day is key to checking off so many items on that daily To Do list! A regular routine is also so important, whether you’re working on the road or just travelling as a family. Cheers!

    • Thanks Claudia :) Absolutely – sounds like you’ve mastered what works for you!

  9. Great post with great pointers Meg.I too believe mornings are most productive and you can surely complete a lot of work at that time. Pushing health never helps and giving incomplete and poor content can make you loose. Some of the apps you mentioned are new to me and will check them out.Keep traveling and sharing experiences.

    • Thanks Suruchi – sounds like we’re on the same page! Glad we could introduce you to a couple of new apps – hope they help some!

  10. Great tips! I agree with you on everything, specially with creating your own routine. Without it, I feel, everything else will start to fall apart

    • Thanks Darrly, glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, routine is everything for me re my work routine – I’ve found that it is core to staying organized despite a changing location. Happy travels!

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