4 practical tips for working freelance while travelling the world
The lure of the digital nomad lifestyle is a shining beacon for those who find the static day job hard to stomach. One of the major benefits of being in a location independent field is, obviously, that you can do it from anywhere – which makes it perfect for wanderlusters who love their work but would love it even more if they could do it in a beach hut with a mojito in hand.
As with so much in life though, the idea and the reality of the travelling freelance career don’t always align. For a start, there aren’t that many beach huts with WiFi, and after one too many mojitos things start getting a little blurry. The crux of the matter is: how do you actually get down to work when you’re constantly on the move? It can be done, as long as you keep focused and make the most of what you have.
1. Home is where the habit is
The constant newness of everything when you’re travelling – from your living arrangements to the temperature and what kinds of birds are calling outside your window – can make it difficult to stick to any kind of routine. Which is good! Routine is what you didn’t want in the first place, remember? But without an established road map to the point of sitting down and getting to it, it can be even harder than usual to have the discipline to do what you need to do.
As frustrating as it might be to have to dive head first into your to-do list rather than the sparkling blue sea, remind yourself that this nomadic life needs supporting somehow. Set yourself a daily minimum effort goal post that you have to get to, and stick to it. It’ll probably be hard at first, since there’s no one looking over your shoulder, but with great freedom comes great personal responsibility.
If you’re finding it particularly difficult to tear your thoughts away from great adventures, use the tried and tested reward method to bribe yourself into getting on with it. Finish the day’s tasks = an afternoon of sushi bar hopping, or whatever floats your boat.
2. Office away from office
So you know you need to work, but where do you go to do it? Your air-conditioned hotel room or peaceful Airbnb is as good a place as any, but what if you’re staying somewhere a bit more rustic and/or noisy, or you don’t even have a base to work from?
Coffee shops and cafés are often good options – they’re comfortable, and in many cases they’ll have WiFi. Starbucks is old reliable for emergency workplace needs.
If you want something a bit more professional, maybe for a face-to-face meeting or just a dedicated, work-oriented place to get stuff done, there are coworking spaces and day offices available in many cities and they provide an excellent setting optimised for productivity. Appointedd’s partner Alliance Business Centers have over 700 offices in 52 countries, and you can search for one near you here.
3. Where are you, WiFi?
The thing that made the digital nomad life/work style possible in the first place is the internet, so it’s sort of important that you have access to it on your travels. It’s fairly ubiquitous in urban areas, and even urbanish areas these days, but it’s still a good idea to scope out potential hotspots and be prepared for when you’re going into the great unknown.
There are some great, useful tools for finding a way into the world wide web. WiFi Finder is an app available for iOS or Android that not only finds WiFi nearby, but also lets you download lists of hotspots in an area so you can consult it offline.
4. Timezoning in
If you’ve never been bemused, baffled, or bewildered by timezones… then who the heck are you? Some kind of timezone jedi, clearly (or a liar). Thankfully, you can now manage your schedule – including any calls you need to make with clients overseas – in multiple timezones, with no need to grapple with BST, EST, GMT+7 etc. etc. Appointedd allows you to set your schedule to be in a different timezone for every day of the week if necessary, and you can change it at the drop of a hat. And because people can book with you online, 24/7, wherever you or they are, you can cut out lengthy email exchanges that go on for days because someone’s always asleep. It’s the first of its kind multi-timezone tech that’s simply made for digital nomads!