Finding a Work-Life Balance While Traveling
Most people can forget about work during their annual vacations. Digital nomads, however, never really stop working, but they never really get off vacation, either.
The life of a digital nomad can be quite hectic, and finding a proper work-life balance is, therefore, extremely important.
I have been traveling and working for 5 years now, and I’m proud to have picked up a lot over the course of half a decade (damn, time moves quickly!). Here's some of the “wisdom” I've gained during that time.
Take a Day Off
Unpredictable as a digital nomad’s life is, things can quickly become stressful. When you get out of a stressful work situation, think about taking a day off.
What does a day off mean for a regular person? Probably sitting at home and watching TV. For a digital nomad, however, a day off means exploring the location you might have found yourself in. Try to find the most picturesque sites or dedicate yourself to exploring the local culture, cuisine, architecture, or nightlife. Just take the day off that you need and recharge your batteries!
Diversify Your Routine
It’s easy to fall right back into being a creature of habit – and habits are often excellent, invaluable things. I mean, sure, you’re going to brush your teeth when you get up and go brew yourself a fresh cup of coffee, but you don’t have to go to the same café or restaurant every day.
Explore the location you’re in. You are a digital nomad, after all, and you won’t be spending enough time in a particular place to get bored of it.
For example, I decided that I would eat outside while in Australia – every single meal! I’d prepare something at home, go out, soak in the gorgeous Australian weather, sit under a tree and have myself a little picnic situation going. Come up with your own routine – digital nomadism is all about breaking out from the norm, whatever the ‘norm’ might be.
Diversify Your Schedule
The moment you start getting used to starting your workday at 10AM every morning, the time might be right to break off from the routine. Try working in the afternoon. Hell, try working after hours!
The reasoning behind this is simple: by following the exact same schedule every single day, you might be missing out on a ton of cool stuff. Switching your schedule up makes things more interesting and less stationary. Plus, you’ll get to learn a ton about yourself as a professional, such as your most productive time of the day.
If you are okay with working from a café or at a restaurant, go for it. Somehow, though, I sincerely doubt that the service industry is your perfect working environment.
This also depends not only on your profession, but on the type of project you might be working on. Does the project involve multiple collaborators, for example?
During my stay in Australia’s biggest city, I was working on a project with six Aussie natives. We started gathering in our favorite pub for our hours-long meetings and often ended up staying there all the way to the evening when we’d put our work-related stuff away and just start drinking beer. Sure, this is something of a rock ’n’ roll-ish lifestyle, but when I decided to hire a serviced office in Sydney, we realized how much time we had been wasting.
I can’t emphasize enough how important being comfortable with your work environment is.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Impulsive
Sometimes, doing something unpredictable is perfectly normal, especially for a digital nomad. In fact, it’s these “rash” decisions that can help you feel like a digital nomad again, once you start feeling as if you are settling in against your will, so to speak.
This is what I did when I was in New Zealand. I loved the place; there is so much more to it than the Lord of the Rings filming locations, grassy plains, and sheep. It’s a rich country full of wonderful experiences. However, at some point I realized I was starting to feel “at home” when I wasn’t ready to call any place “home”, so I moved on towards a completely different country – the sunny, warm, vast, wonderful Australia.
The essence of digital nomadism is walking that fine line between work and life. This can be a wonderful type of career if you dedicate yourself to this unique lifestyle. Don’t be afraid of taking a day off, diversify your routines and your schedule, do everything you can to make sure that you’re comfortable while working, and feel free to be impulsive!