Whether you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or you work remotely for a company, working while you travel can feel like the ultimate dream. But working remotely can also feel isolating and overwhelming as you navigate new cities, experience occasional loneliness, and try to keep your productivity on track.
Here are four remote work tips to help digital nomads stay happy and thrive while traveling:
1. Prevent loneliness before it strikes.
Dr. Dean Ornish famously said “The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.” And it’s true!
Community is a crucial part of human existence, but when you work remotely, community doesn’t just magically fall into your lap: you need to go out and find it.
While the internet has made us more connected in some ways, no number of Facebook likes will ever replace the power of in-person interactions. Make a goal to talk to 3 new people every day when traveling —whether it’s someone staying at your hostel, your bus driver, or a fellow digital nomad that you meet along the way.
2. Work from a coworking space.
Coworking is more than just a passing trend: between 2015-2018 alone, the number of coworking spaces doubled worldwide.
I stepped into a coworking space for the first time when I was a freelance designer in Denver. At first the concept felt strange to me: why would I pay to work at a coworking space when I already have a desk at home?
But as I stared out the window of my apartment, buried in client work and wondering “Hmmm, when is the last time I had a conversation with someone other than my cats?” I knew it was time to give coworking a try.
I immediately noticed how much more productive I was without the distractions of home, spotty hotel internet, or obligatory purchases every few hours at a coffee shop. And it’s not just me – 74% of coworkers report being more productive.
Working from coworking spaces while you travel is a great way to grow your network, combat loneliness, and gain the best off-the-beaten-path travel recommendations from locals.
3. Use technology to your advantage.
When you’re living the digital nomad life, technology is your friend.
Some of my favorite software tools to keep everything organized while working remotely are Trello to keep track of team projects, Acuity to eliminate the back and forth “What time works for you? Wait, what time zone are you in?” scheduling emails, and Toggl to track billable hours and stay on task.
Because your clients and coworkers may be online at different times of day, it helps to communicate everything in writing so you can review what was discussed after the fact. In your emails, be extremely clear about what you’re asking for: are you sharing your opinion, or are you directing someone to take action? When specifically would you like to have a certain task completed?
Even though it can feel strange to be so direct, the truth is that it’s easy to miscommunicate with your clients or team when you’re not all sitting in an office together. Developing the habit of being upfront and asking for what you need will save massive headaches and time in the long run.
4. Have a plan to manage stress.
The laptop lifestyle seems glamorous from afar, but there will be stressful moments when you wondered why you got into this.
You will leave your laptop charger in another country. You will get a time zone wrong and miss a client meeting as a result. You will try to navigate a language barrier while feeling sleep-deprived and flustered.
Rather than letting these moments knock you down, develop a self-care plan in advance that will help you weather any storms. For you that might look like coming up with a mantra to repeat, packing your favorite stress-relieving essential oils, or committing to physical exercises like jogging or yoga while you travel.
When in doubt, reflect on the reasons why you became a digital nomad in the first place.
You used to dream of working from home, of seeing the world while getting paid, of having the flexibility to hop between cities and explore your surroundings at 2 PM on a Tuesday. Don’t get so caught up in the whirlwind of your job that you forget to enjoy the lifestyle you worked so hard to create!
When your travels bring you to Austin Texas, we would love to work with you here at MELD Coworking! Work productively from our shared workspace, leave your distractions at the door, and become part of our friendly community of remote workers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and fellow digital nomads.
About the Author
Kady Sandel is the founder of MELD Coworking, a shared workspace for remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs in Austin, Texas. She was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Austin Business Owners Networking Group, and when she isn’t coworking you can find her drinking coffee and supporting her brand strategy clients at Aventive Studio.