Well, hello from a snowy Mont Blanc! Yesterday we flew over to Geneva, Switzerland for a short ride across the border to the base of the highest summit in the Alps, the beautiful Chamonix. If you’re wondering how to manage your workload as a digital nomad, I’ll help to guide you through, because here my working week begins, with a pretty impressive backdrop if I do say so myself. (It just can’t help but make you feel inspired!)
On the agenda for our stay?
Well alongside sustaining work for clients, I’ll break up my days with some husky rides, snow shoeing, spa time, twilight sledge, snowy adventures: that sort of thing! One of the benefits of this lifestyle: every day is different. I also want to get some more writing done here, because- well, what a perfect place for it!
Just takes your breath away right? So how do you make all of this possible? Having that digital nomad lifestyle, enjoying all of your trips, whilst still being able to ‘get stuff done’? It’s a common predicament, but once you get into the ‘routine’ of it all, it gets easier, trust me. Here’s some of my top five tips to get you started…
1 Get Organised
Well, duh! I know, I know: self explanatory. But it’s so easy to get carried away with the excitement of things when you have a new trip coming up; day to day life whizzes by you and before you know- you’re there! To be able to make the most of it and enjoy everything your new location has to offer, whilst ensuring your business doesn’t take a knock in the process: well it takes a lot of hard work beforehand. (And throughout for that matter!) If you’re visiting new places often, anything you can do before you go: do it. Prep work, key tasks, as much as you can off that ‘to-do’ list. It’s then one less thing to worry about once you’re there, which in turn helps to free up time and enables you to make the most of your new destination. Sure, there will be late nights. But it will be worth it. Trust me! Also make a plan for whilst you’re over there: list everything you want to see and do, filling this into some sort of schedule. (Particularly if you’re there a relatively short amount of time.) Just make sure you also block out time to get your work done. My preference is to allow a few hours in the morning to do this. Then- you have the rest of the day to do whatever you want, with no guilty conscience from procrastination.
2 Set Goals & Targets
Building on getting organised, it’s also important you stay focused. Know what you need to achieve whilst you’re away (whether it’s for a short break or long-term traveling on the road). This will help with motivation and mean you’re still making progress. You just need to make sure that all of your goals are achievable based on the amount of time you will have. Those to-do-lists I mentioned? Make them more focused. For example-
2 hours work (am) doing X and X, which will enable me to achieve X goal.
3 hours work (pm) once back from X, working on X to achieve X.
If you’re away for a longer length of time, you can also block out full working days to make better progress. Otherwise you simply will not be able to manage all of your workload. Just remember: it’s your business that enables you to come to all of these amazing places, so you can’t let that slip.
Once you have your goals, take a step back then to work out what you need to do to achieve this, working it into key tasks. Then: don’t just get going with those tasks. Your time is of the essence. Analyse the tasks and think: is there any way to achieve this faster and more effective? Can I outsource this to save time and get better results? Is there a better way to get to this end result? Everything you do, know why you’re doing it and then prioritise. Always do the most important tasks first. I know these can often be the ones you want to put off the most, but keep those goals in mind and it will help you to stay disciplined and effective.
It all ties in with clever planning, high productivity and effective time management. Which leads me onto point number three…
3 Make the Most of Every Moment
In order to effectively manage your workload as a digital nomad, you 100% need to master the art of organisation and clever time management. For me, I’m naturally one of those people who can’t sit still, or so to speak. I’m very conscious of time and never want to waste any of it. When you’re traveling, you’ll be spending a lot of time in transit – waiting at airports, train stations, etc, and this is a perfect opportunity to get some work done. I find the best time is when you’re actually on the plane- you don’t have wifi, which means- no distractions! It also then makes your journey fly by… Literally! And you land feeling prepared and productive.
4 Do The Checks
Although you’re flexible in where you can work and travel and stay, you have to make sure beforehand: you’ll have everything you need. You need to think of everything beforehand, with a check list that you can tick off. Because forget something- and there’s no going back! It’s important you have the everything covered to avoid any work-nightmares whilst you’re away which will also then affect productivity.
Is there strong wifi where you’re staying? If not, is there a suitable cafe close by that you can use instead? If you’re staying in shared rooms/ a hostel, is there a quiet place to work so that you can concentrate properly? Have you packed all your equipment?- Laptop, camera, chargers, adaptor, etc. Have you got enough storage and/ or a backup drive so that you don’t run into any problems whilst you’re away? Without all of these, you’re going to run into work issues whilst you’re away, which will put that workload back and back. So do your research, have that checklist and then go out there confidently!
Another aspect to consider is the juggling of time-zone’s. On this occasion for me: I’m not affected too much. The time difference is just a short hour here, which means I get an extra hour in the morning before the UK ‘rise’ so to speak! On further distances, however, more planning will need to go into it. Know your zones and then plan your calendar and daily schedule accordingly, suiting different clients/ contacts in different countries. Book any calls in in advance and keep regular communication. You may need to work your work around their zones, but this is okay- so long as you’re prepared for that and have planned it out beforehand. Sound stressful? Don’t worry, working with clients across multiple time zones doesn’t have to be a burden. You just need to get used to it and find your flow.
5 Avoid Burn-Out
Traveling in itself can be tiring: not only with getting to different places but also then doing all the different activities and sight-seeing in the area. Add work on top of that and it can get pretty full-on! Remember, you’re doing this for the lifestyle. You don’t want to be stuck in a 9-5, doing the same things every day. This is going to give you the freedom to make work part of your lifestyle, instead of just being a money-earner that you have to do for a huge chunk of your days. So make sure you can properly enjoy it by really looking after yourself and your health!
Take time out to relax and chill, aside from everything else. Get pampered, enjoy the scenery, allow yourself to switch off when you need. Also make sure you’re getting a good nights sleep, so that you’re able to properly re-charge. It works wonders then for concentration and focus. Equally, be conscious of your diet. It not only affects how you perform, but also how you feel. Remember to pace yourself, and always put your health first.
Everyone is different, lifestyle’s vary and the way in which you manage your workload as a digital nomad, may differ from the next. But that’s okay. Whether you’re living in different countries or just taking regular trips away: plan your travels to suit your life and what you really want. You don’t have to be away for months on end (unless you want to), equally- remember the only thing tying you down ‘at home’, is you. I personally like to have a more balanced mix between working at home, seeing my family & friends, and taking my business to different countries that I can explore at the same time. I plan my trips around my diary and get a balance that’s right for me. Once you get into it, you will also start to find what’s right for you too, and the work-life mixture will begin to fall into place. Just make sure you’re appreciating every moment, because every new experience is a privilege and to be able to live life on your terms really is a massive gift!
That’s all from me for now. A new adventure awaits!
Any questions? Any thoughts? Pop them in the comments below or reach out on social media. Interested in creating a life you don’t need to escape from? Then this guide may be the one for you!
P.S. Want to see our highlights from the visit and the best things to do in Chamonix in winter? Check out this post.