Being a digital nomad means you’re probably working remote jobs online, managing your own blog, or some combination of the two—all while traveling. It’s a hustle, and it isn’t for everyone. Carving out time for work takes some serious self-determination and discipline.
When I first started travelling and working online, I desperately needed some productivity tips for work. I was staying at a beach-side hostel in Barcelona. I met interesting new people everyday and had a giant list of sites on my bucket list. How could I possibly buckle down with all the distractions and newness?
Well, the reality is, I had to. Here are some tips to be more productive that helped me…
1. Create a Routine
Having a routine is critical. When you work for yourself there is no commute, no clock-in time. You’re on a flexible schedule and you can literally wake up whenever you feel.
Simply, you need consistency. If you’re most productive in the morning, wake up at the same time everyday, drink your coffee, spend 30-40 minutes doin’ your thing, then get to work. Clock yourself in. If you work best at night, start work each evening after dinner, set your timer, and be a productive night owl. Create weekly work hours and stick to it as much as possible.
Find travellers who also work remotely. Some people are living off savings or their built-up vacation time. You, on the other hand, are making money so you can live this lifestyle. Consider looking into co-working spaces in the area. Find people in the same boat and set break times together. Set your work hours first, then plan hikes, site-seeing, and beach-bummin’ around that. Think of it like a treat for getting your work done so you can be offline for a few days.
3. Work On The Go
Work on trains, buses, and planes. Being in transit is mundane, and the perfect time to get out your laptop and work on those blog articles you need to finish. You won’t always have wifi, but you can always complete some offline tasks while you’re waiting for a good connection.
4. Get Off Social Media
Turn your phone on silent. Flip it over or set it away from you. Do what you need to do to limit your social media scrolling time. Unless your work requires you to use social media, but even then, you can still get sucked in. I have the Screen Time app that tells me how much time I’ve spent looking at my phone, which helps me stay on track.
5. Stay Put
Consider staying in the same place for a bit. Give yourself adequate time to explore the place you’re in AND get all the work done you need to. While I lived in Egypt, I traveled every couple months. It was perfect because for the months I was there, I hustled my bum off. While I was traveling around, I was able to work less and make more time for exploring. It felt less like a time crunch and I didn’t have FOMO because of work.
6. Make Lists
As part of my routine, I wake up and make lists. I set realistic daily goals for myself and check them off as I go. I use Google Tasks for this, which is great because I can keep track of all the things in one place. I organize my list in order of top to least priority. This was one of the most important work efficiency tips: be more intentional about your workday.
7. Track Your Time
Keep track of your work hours. In order to stay productive, you need to know how productive you are actually being. Check your progress. Calculate your breaks and see how productive you are and when. This can also help you figure out your peak productivity times and cater your work day around that. You can use desktop apps like Trello to track your hours for you, and help you gauge your progress.
8. Take Sufficient Breaks
In order to work efficiently, you need to take breaks. Typically, you are probably hunched over a computer writing or sending emails. At some point, are you even being productive? Are you producing good content?
It’s a balance here. Give yourself enough time to get in the zone, and also make sure you are getting up to stretch, eat, and breathe some air. I typically let myself work for 30-40 minutes straight before taking a 5 minute break. If I’m really in the zone, I go for an hour followed by a 10 minute break.