Many are attracted to working remotely for the freedom it entails, even if just on a psychological level.
It seems that many of us simply like the feeling that we could go anywhere anytime, if we wanted to. It takes a bit of balancing, however, to make the most out of this experience on both ends — be productive, and enjoy exploring a new place at the same time.
If you got your first remote work gig and are about to drive into the sunset towards new, mysterious lands, this article will give you a couple of ideas about how to have fun and get some work done at the same time.
What do you need to know before working while traveling and how to survive and thrive while doing it?
- You need to get organized
Working remotely has its own particularities. Even if you aren’t a freelancer, and are actually employed by a company to do the job you do, there’s still a lot of organizing that goes into working remotely.
Time passes very fast when you’re exploring new places. The surge of dopamine makes it harder to keep track of the hours, and it can seem that 2 weeks just flew in a heartbeat.
I am not a fan of the 8-hour workday — it’s just an outdated concept fewer and fewer hold on to, but I do believe in a certain degree of consistency. Setting a few hours every day to work on whatever it is you want to work on is guaranteed to give you enough space to reduce your tendencies to procrastinate and make progress on your goals.
The first step is the hardest. Just take the pen in your hand, or sit down in front of the computer. In time, when you’ll develop a process that works for you, you’ll find that you can get more work done in 3 hours every day than you were in days before.
If you don’t spend a few hours every day working (and I do mean a few — basically, just two or three), it’s easy to wake up one day a month later and realize you did nothing.
Consistency is key. Give yourself the chance for inspiration to strike. Be present for it when it might come. It’s easy to get distracted with everything happening around us even when we’re not traveling, and much easier when we travel and everything around us is new. We have natural tendencies to take in information and adjust constantly when we are in new settings.
Keeping yourself a bit consistent and organized like that will also reduce stress. if you’re not setting a bit of time every day to work on what matters to you, it will always gnaw at you in the background whatever you do, like a shadow over your tropical beaches. This is actually a thing — the brain remembers much easier tasks that are still pending.
2. Do your work first thing after you wake up
People have different rhythms, but it’s worth giving a shot working first thing in the morning.
First of all because it’s a “sure” thing — once you leave and start doing different things during the day, you might never know when you will be back and how tired you will be after a whole day of exploring. Besides, working in the morning reduces the stress of feeling like you have an incomplete task ahead of you the whole day.
Working in the morning also gives you a sense of accomplishment that will add a bit of glow to your whole day. Soon enough you will start looking forward to your little morning work-bites.
You don’t need to set an alarm for this — to hell with alarms. Let’s support our bodies in finding their own grooves.
3. Make sure you do spend enough time enjoying the new place as well
It goes without saying to have fun on your trip, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by being in a new place and having to juggle a few responsibilities, and that can make you miss out.
Make sure you plan an idea or two of things you could do every day while traveling. It would be a huge let down to feel like you wasted your trip not doing things you wanted to do because you didn’t manage your time even a little bit.
You don’t necessarily need to fully stick to the plan you come up with — simply having a basic idea of what you want to do will help.
At the same time, it’s ok if you just feel like relaxing — it’s all about what you would personally enjoy doing on your trip, and not others’ ideas of fun.
4.Figure out your best working conditions
There is so much variety between us all. Sometimes it feels like there is infinite variety between our tastes and traits and what makes us happy or sad. And that’s great! We have night owls, and morning birds, people who need silence to focus and those who need music, and/or bits of human contact while they work.
The most important thing to remember when you are trying to find and/or do the work you love is that we’re talking here about what matters to YOU personally and what works for you.
While there are things that are generally helpful, there are also a lot of nuances between us.
Make sure you know what your needs are. It’s your responsibility to fulfill them, in the end. Sometimes with the help of others. The point is, however, that you need to figure out what you need and make sure you give that to yourself in a timely manner. If you need a bit of alone time, try not to wait until you feel like strangling everyone around you.
5. Keep your eyes on your goal
Know what you are doing and why. If your purpose is to write a book, keep that in your mind in your daily work. If your purpose is to earn some money to be able to travel more, be aware of that when you organize your work.
If, however, you are traveling and find that all your interest is taken by rowing on lakes in that area, or feeding horses, or meeting new people, it might do you a world of good to reconsider your job.
I firmly believe that anyone has something they love doing and from which they could earn money. Self-discovery, hell, life is a process, and there’s nothing wrong with exploring different things and settings you are interested in. Do you like traveling more than anything, or is travel an addition to other things you like, something you enjoy every now and then?
If travel is your big love, it can feel frustrating having to work while you want to explore a new place. Another job might be more suitable — either freelancing and working only parts of the year, or there might be something else related to travel that you would like doing — you could write your own guides to places you visit, take photos, document your experiences.
When we answer the question “what do I love about traveling?” we get a wealth of insights and clues about ourselves, clues that can point to our needs, but also to the next step we need to take.