7 Tips for Working On the Road
Want to get out of the office for a while? Want to get out of the office permanently? Want to pick up your belongings and travel the world, but need to make money somehow? In the age of high-speed internet and the digital nomad, working remotely has never been so popular. The opportunity to do so can be a great way to improve your productivity, understand your work habits and travel all at once. Here’s a few tips to get you on the right track.
Find a comfortable workspace
Yes, it's tempting to bring your computer with you to the beach or find that perfect view in a city-center cafe to get work done. But remember to be practical. Regardless of where you are in the world, you need to be comfortable and free from as many unnecessary distractions as possible. Most bars and cafés have WiFi these days, thus they are popular places to work from. Check out the local selection before you decide on the best. Some may have comfortable chairs but be noisy while others may have fast internet but be expensive. Snag an indoor seat to keep you focused on the work, and not the many people strolling by. Co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular, with many purposely designed for the freelancing crowd. Places like WeWork have locations around the world where you can check in during your travels. If you are the type to get slowed down by monotony then mix your workspaces up. This could be going to a different place each day or doing shifts between cafés and co-working offices.
Discover how and when you work best
One of the biggest benefits and draws of remote working is the ability to set your own schedules. It goes without saying that some of us work better than others at different times of the day. So experiment by getting up early one day and working late the next. Make a note of how productive you are during each period. Are you best when setting hours and pushing through until you are done? Or do you need regular breaks? Do you get distracted when sitting by a window? Try working with and without music. Similarly, listen to different types of music. Do you find yourself losing focus because you are singing along to your favorite tune? The more you understand your own work habits, the better you will be able to plan your days.
Figure out a plan for your internet connection
These days it’s harder to find a place that doesn’t have internet connection than one that does. But there could be an occasion when you do find the one place that doesn’t when you need to make a call or send a mail. Consider purchasing a SIM card with data included as a backup for such a situation. Not all countries have the purchase-a-coffee-and-sit-for-four-hours culture either. If this is the case then you’ll be wise to reserve a desk at a co-working space or look for a hotel that welcomes non-staying guests. Carrying a notebook — the old-fashioned paper kind — with you can also be a savior when ideas come into your head during non-connected times. Finally, if finding reliable wifi on the road becomes too much of a hassle, consider investing in a portable or mobile wifi device.
Be mindful of and flexible with time zones
Credit: Paul Bradbury/iStock
If you find yourself moving around a lot then it’s important to keep track of time zones. The last thing you want to do is call a client at 4am or have them calling you when you are fast asleep. Prevent this by informing anyone that you have regular contact with what your new time zone will be. And should a client schedule a meeting at an unsociable hour, do your best to attend if you can’t rearrange it; you were the one who chose this lifestyle after all. Time management apps can help you to log the current time of colleagues and employers.
Be prepared to work hard
Wake up, join a yoga class, work for a few hours then hit the beach for the rest of the day. Sound good? Of course it does, and there are some out there who can achieve it. The rest of us, however, need to work as much as we did before going remote. If you’ve brought your job with you then maybe you’ll only need to worry about getting your tasks done. But if you are starting fresh then you’ll need unpaid time to send job proposals, pitch ideas and make new contacts.
Take advantage of a flexible schedule
Despite developing a solid work ethic you should still make time to enjoy your new found freedom. Visit the major tourist attractions of your new locale on Monday or Tuesday and get work on Saturdays and Sundays when the museums and historic sites fill up. If you fancy that walk in the park or along the beach before getting down to business then go for it. If you want an afternoon off to play with the kids then it is all yours. After all, you are no longer dictated or judged by set hours. Your mission now is to meet deadlines that you have arranged. Can you get a week’s worth of work finished in three days? If yes then you can buy yourself a four-day weekend.
Give yourself time to succeed
It is going to take time to find your rhythm and comfort zone on this new nomadic adventure. Be patient and accept that there will be moments when you want to give up. Take a step back and let things occur naturally rather than trying to force them. Be recklessly brave and try new things. Pick yourself up after a defeat and give yourself a celebratory hug after a victory. Finally, reassure yourself of all of the reasons why this is the right lifestyle choice for you.
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