Living in different parts of the world sounds like a dream for many people. But, compared to regular summer holidays, living the life of a perpetual traveler or digital nomad is an entirely different story - routine-wise.
You must set specific rules and start developing habits that help you stay productive and find the motivation to reach your goals. Being a digital nomad for over two years, finding the proper routine is one of the hardest things to achieve.
In this article, I will share some tips and tricks Leo and I use for balancing work and travel.
The Power of Planning Ahead
Before setting off to a new location, invest time in thorough research to gather crucial information about local resources. This will become a routine for you after doing it a couple of times. Planning includes:
- Identifying suitable coworking spaces.
- Ensuring reliable internet connectivity.
- Securing appropriate accommodations with a dedicated workspace and strong internet connection.
Having a clear plan around infrastructure will allow you to hit the ground running and focus on your work without distractions.
Establish a Dedicated Workspace
Whether it's a coffee shop, coworking space, or a quiet corner in your accommodation, having a consistent and clutter-free environment helps signal your brain that it's time to work. I remember how many times I was working from bed, which is terrible on many different levels. Make sure you have a proper table and a comfortable chair for a couple of hours of work.
When choosing my next rental apartment, I ensure I have enough space to work. When living and working means being in the same environment, you should make sure that you create a place that will inspire you and motivate you to work.
To avoid working from the apartment, I like to choose more central locations for an apartment, so it doesn't get boring, and you have a better choice of coffee shops and coworking places.
Stay Motivated and Set Goals
Establish clear and attainable goals that align with your long-term vision. We are using OKRs to set our goals, and until now, this has worked the best. A good structure is one of the most important things that help you move forward.
OKRs help you break goals into actionable steps to make them more manageable. It's important to regularly review your progress, acknowledge your achievements, and make any necessary adjustments along the way. I visualize the progress and plan my days using our custom OKR Notion template. The template helps me to stay on top of my plan and motivates me through the weeks with an easy-to-use dashboard.
It works great with the daily to-do's and main goals to achieve. If you are determined to improve this part of your life, you can, with persistence, reach the point where OKRs become part of your life. You don't need to overdo it.
Prioritize Tasks with To-Do Lists
To maintain organization and focus, start your day with a to-do list. Create a comprehensive outline of the tasks that must be completed, and prioritize them according to their significance and deadlines.
By breaking down larger projects into smaller tasks, you can effectively reduce feelings of overwhelm and enhance your overall productivity.
We like to follow the "Eat the biggest frog" concept. It's a productivity hack that advises tackling the most challenging or important task first thing in the day to increase efficiency and productivity. This helps you to avoid procrastination and experience a sense of accomplishment early in the day.
Implement Time-Blocking Techniques
Time blocking is a method that involves assigning specific time blocks for various tasks or activities. This technique helps you manage your time effectively and prevents multitasking, which can lead to decreased productivity.
This helps you to establish a clear structure that enhances your ability to concentrate and accomplish tasks more efficiently.
Leverage Productivity Apps and Tools
You can also choose from many productivity apps and tools designed to optimize your work processes. The most known project management platforms are Trello and Asana, or you can build a personal management system in Notion. Besides that, you can onboard time-tracking apps like RescueTime, and Harvest, which will help you effectively organize your tasks, meet deadlines, plan your day, and collaborate with teammates when working remotely.
Create a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is like a well-balanced diet for your soul! It's important to set boundaries between work and personal life and avoid overworking or burnout. You don't need to complicate it; schedule some leisure activities in the nature, explore new places, and connect with other like-minded nomads along the way.
It isn't just about feeling good—it's the key to staying productive and keeping that happy nomad spirit alive!
Practicing Mindfulness and Minimizing Distractions
Staying focused as a digital nomad can be tricky, so embracing mindfulness techniques is the key to success. It's enough to take a few minutes daily to meditate or do deep breathing exercises. If doing it in the morning as part of your morning routine, this simple practice will sharpen your focus for the whole day.
When noisy surroundings threaten to derail your workflow, invest in noise-canceling headphones. For all the social media distractions - use the apps that'll keep them at bay so you can stay on track.
Take Breaks and Don't Forget About Physical Activity
Making time for breaks and staying active is key to staying on top of your game. Regular breaks help you stay productive and avoid burnout. It can be simple as a stretch or even get moving with some physical bigger activity.
This will boost your energy, sharpen your mind, and add a healthy dose of creativity to your day. And since you are most probably in some exciting new place, you can explore the local surroundings and see what fun outdoor activities or fitness classes you can dive into.
Find the Optimal Work Schedule
If you are not working as a remote worker with fixed hours, you've got the freedom to experiment with different routines until you find the one that clicks with your peak productivity hours. Maybe you're a morning person, ready to deal with the day and tasks ahead with the sunrise, or perhaps you're a night owl, firing up your creativity when the stars come out.
It's all about listening to your body's natural rhythm and crafting a workday that suits you. Until you can choose, you should listen to your body and mind.
Learn, Learn, Learn
As a digital nomad, the ever-learning and adapting to new environments and technologies is the secret to leveling up professionally and personally. Set aside time to broaden your skill set, whether enrolling in online courses, attending workshops, or connecting with like-minded communities.
Learning new skills makes you a more valuable professional and keeps your mind buzzing with inspiration and motivation.
Build a Supportive Network
To make your journey more pleasant and fulfilling, seek out online and offline communities and connect with fellow nomads who get your unique journey. Share experiences, swap knowledge, and help others with your knowledge and expertise.
Engaging with like-minded individuals who understand the ups and downs of the nomadic lifestyle will light up your inspiration, keep you motivated, and make you feel right at home, no matter where you roam!
Manage Effective Communication and Collaboration
Nailing communication and collaboration is a remote work/freelancing must-do. Since you can be thousands of miles away from your team or clients, keep the team spirit alive by using handy digital tools like Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams to stay in touch.
Be clear about how and when to reach out so everyone's on the same page. And to keep the teamwork flowing, don't forget to schedule regular check-ins, virtual meetings, or daily stand-ups to share updates and get in touch with your team or clients.
Optimize Travel and Accommodation
Traveling and finding the perfect accommodation can be a real productivity game-changer. For us, reliable internet, essential amenities, and a comfortable work environment are on our priority list.
We usually look for accommodations with dedicated workspaces or check out local coworking spaces and coffee shops to use them as our remote office hubs. And before you hit the road, do a little research on transportation options to make getting around a breeze. Remember, the more comfortable you make it for yourself, the more time you will have to focus on your work.
Our digital nomad lifestyle is a fantastic adventure filled with personal growth, cultural exploration, and professional fulfillment. We hope our tips will help you to enhance your workflow, stay focused, and achieve a fulfilling work-life balance.
We always embrace any challenges with adaptability and view them as stepping stones to growth, which helps us to develop the resilience to conquer uncertainties. Add a bit of curiosity, flexibility, and resourcefulness, and you'll thrive as a digital nomad.
Are you ready to learn more about creating a sustainable daily routine as a digital nomad? Check out my online course, "Digital Nomad 101: How to Work and Travel Anywhere," for in-depth guidance and strategies."