Digital nomad work: don’t forget to relax
Picture the scene. You see a beginner digital nomad who has built up their business to the size that they can now travel as they wish. They select their dream destination, apply for a visa, and get their digital nomad suitcase packed. Excited, they hop on the plane and before they know it, they’ve touched down on warm sands, watching the palm trees sway, and wondering why they didn’t leave home sooner.
Then comes the first client call. Then, the second. Before they know it, our digital nomad friend has spent the day in Zoom meetings and completing work for their various digital nomad jobs. A week passes, then two weeks…
For those without a concrete plan and schedule, it’s easy to fall into the work sinkhole, not allowing yourself to experience the wonderful country you have travelled to. We want to help you avoid this pitfall, or help you out of it if you’ve found yourself in it.
Schedule your time
If you’re the planning type, then scheduling your time may come as second nature to you. For those less planning-inclined, learning to set a schedule for our work hours will not only save time but also allow us to do the things we love. You can use this time to do something as simple as exploring our new local area or trying out a high-octane sport such as windsurfing.
The first thing to do is to arrange your work schedule for the week, or day if you prefer. As schedules can change, it’s best to allow yourself the time you think you’ll need to get the work done, without allotting too much time. Schedule in time to relax at the beginning or end of your day – your schedule will depend on your personal preferences.
Tools such as Google Calendar can be a great way to organise your week for free. There are a number of free apps on the market as well which are specifically designed for helping you better manage your time. Try utilising these tools for a week and see how you get on, you might find this the perfect way to organise the week ahead.
Of course, you can also go the old-fashioned way and use a pen and paper diary. As long as it works for you, then that’s the important thing.
Learn to say no
When you’re starting out with your online business or as a remote worker in general, it can be difficult to say no to clients. You want to take on all the work you can to grow your business, and are well aware that it could drop from beneath you. You learn to take on more work than your schedule should allow for.
If you are not careful, this can bleed over into your digital nomad travelling experience. Having built up a full schedule, you work extremely hard only for the hours of the day to slip away. You may be abroad, but if you’re spending 10-12 hours in your apartment during the day then it’s difficult to really experience your destination country.
Learning to say no doesn’t mean being rude to your clients, but sets expectations for the time moving forward. Not only will your clients respect your honesty, but they will also trust that you value your time and will take the work seriously. You’ll also feel more motivated and less burnt out from the long time spent working.
Many of us have escaped or are soon to escape the 9-5 grind. However, even a 9-5 job offers an allotted time for a break, so why shouldn’t you have a break as a digital nomad? When we are our own boss, we finally have our dream job, yet often do not allow ourselves the regular breaks that we need. From social media managers to work in graphic design, we all need to take a breather at a regular time.
Online jobs can be stressful if you do not take the time to sit back and relax once in a while. It can be as simple as spending an hour at a coffee shop with a friend or learning to play a new instrument. When you get back to work, you’ll feel refreshed and more motivated to continue.
Meet with friends
Connecting with friends and other digital nomads is a fantastic way of keeping yourself accountable. Regularly meeting and discussing your schedules can help keep you grounded and provides a second opinion on if you are working too much, or extra tips to help arrange your schedule.
Sometimes, all we need are a few kind words from the right people to get us back on track, especially if we are feeling stressed out with work. They may even suggest events to go to or things to try – we always recommend making the most out of these opportunities!
We understand that making new friends can be a bit intimidating, especially when you’re travelling alone! However, there are many ways you can meet people, including at local events, nightlife venues, or even on transport options such as the ferry. Making new friends is a great way to keep yourself grounded and help ward off loneliness on your travels.
Local meetup events are a great way of meeting like-minded people – apps such as Meetup connect you with other travellers organising events near you. Of course, joining local social media communities will instantly connect you with other digital nomads and travellers – join our growing Facebook community to ask any questions you have and hear more travel tips.
Local meetups can range from trips to local restaurants to trying out a new sport, such as volleyball on the beach or football. Sports is a great way to meet new people and connect with the locals as well, who pour onto the beaches come the end of the day to let off some steam with sports. Keeping up with sport will also help with fitness, just what we need after a day of sitting down and working!
The local music scene is also very popular, so if you play an instrument or just love listening to music, then you’re sure to meet like-minded people there too as you relax after a day of work.
Speaking of accountability, another way you can achieve this is by running a personal blog or writing in your journal. Not only will regularly filling this in help you track your progress as you travel, but you’ll also be able to look back through the blog in the future and remember all of the good times that you had.
For your friends or family, they’ll also be able to follow your progress if you choose to upload your journey on your blog. This can be on social media, such as Instagram, or through longer-form articles.