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4 Survival Tips for the “Digital Nomad”

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By Barbara Beauregard   |    May 1, 2017   |    9:39 AM


These days, there's a lot of hype surrounding the digital nomad lifestyle, and understandably so. Who wouldn't want to see the world while still having the means to make a living? Unfortunately, in real life, it's not always easy to balance work with travel.

To telecommute better and make the most of your freedom, learn how to thrive as a digital nomad.

What Is a Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is anyone who leverages digital and mobile technology to work from various environments. Whether they work from home, Starbucks or a hotel in Bermuda, digital nomads all have at least one thing in common: they aren't tied down by traditional brick-and-mortar offices.

Despite this enviable freedom, the average digital nomad also faces unique challenges that can hamper productivity. Many of these can be solved using the following strategies:

  1. Target comfortable work areas. While it may sound like a dream, working alone can actually dampen your mood and sap your productivity. These days, more and more digital nomads are turning to co-working spaces, which provide all the tools they need to succeed, along with invaluable networking opportunities. Just make sure you investigate the space to make sure it's the type of environment that will inspire rather than stifle and distract.

  2. Analyze your tendencies. The freedom to make your own schedule affords valuable opportunities to create better work balance in your life. To stay productive, however, you will need to structure your day in a way that suits your strengths and tendencies. Try to determine when you work best and frontload important tasks during that time. If you travel abroad in hot environments, consider adjusting your schedule so you won't have to grind through the heat of the day. Whether it's first thing in morning or late into the evening, we all have a time when it's easier to get into a flow. Adjust your personal schedule in a practical way that suits your unique strengths and preferences.

  3. Watch your time zones. Some digital nomads can find themselves zipping from one timezone to another. Since they don't live this particular lifestyle, most of your clients won't be happy about you contacting them too early in the morning or late in the evening. Likewise, some people might expect you to be available according to their timezones, when you are actually fast asleep. Make sure to be considerate of other people's timezones and make them aware of when you will and won't be available.

  4. Have a back-up plan. Ideally, you will never need to veer from your standard habits and routines. That said, it's always best to insure against specific eventualities. What will you do if your technology fails or is stolen? Do you have enough room on your credit cards to pay for unexpected problems related to transportation and accommodations? While mobility opens the door to new possibilities and fresh experiences, it can also lead to unexpected problems. Make sure you consider everything that could go wrong, especially if you are subject to strict deadlines.

Remember Why You Chose a Nomadic Lifestyle

It’s easy to get bogged down in work responsibilities and forget why you became nomadic in the first place. If your intention was to live in a place that's always warm and sunny, make sure to give yourself time to enjoy the weather. If you left your home country because you wanted to see the world, leverage your nomadic freedom to see this goal through.

Whatever their circumstances, it's important for digital nomads to create an effective balance between work and real life. Traveling can be exhausting, and it's not always easy to live and work without a constant home base. By remembering why you chose your nomadic lifestyle, you can live a more authentic life that fuels productivity while leaving room for new experiences.

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