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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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