Most of you know by know that I quit my job as social media manager for a large company earlier this year for many reasons. One of those reasons was my desire to travel whenever, wherever, and as much as possible. Balancing work while traveling is something I have learned a lot about during this trip.
The journey towards where I am now has been incredibly eye-opening, painful, and full of growth. I’ve had to learn about all the new things about myself I need to work on: not sleeping in “just because I can.” Having to make the choice to work vs. go out and play, “just because I can.”
My personal discipline has changed the most. It’s one of the hardest things in the world of me to sit and continue working on a project when I know it’s a beautiful day outside, and I could just go enjoy it. Prioritizing the way I spend my time has been crucial in order to be successful at balancing work while traveling.
One of the agencies I work for sent out a newsletter to all our clients this week, and I assume that many of them did not even know I am trekking around Europe until it was mentioned in that newsletter. In order to balance work and play, my goal during this trip has been to continue offering the same (or better) quality of work so that my clients cannot tell the difference on their end.
I want to share a few things I have learned and how I’m making it all work over here.
1. Timezones are my friend.
I have been working about 8 hours ahead of everyone back in The States, and this has given me a huge advantage when it comes to getting things done on time. It also helps that when I am waking up around 7am in Berlin, it’s 11pm in Denver, where most of my clients currently are. I am able to jump on email, see what needs to be addressed for the upcoming day, and by the time my clients wake up the next day, they have emails in their inboxes if necessary, and I already have the work done for that day.
2. I give myself permission to take a day off – of traveling.
You might be thinking, “you mean, you stay in a cafe or hotel all day when you’re in a city like Prague?!” Yes – I need the rest mentally, physically, and also need the time to slowly catch up and make sure my client work remains at the high standard I have promised to deliver.
I got sick in Helsinki, which lasted about 4 days, and I think part of it was because I was going, going, going and not giving myself the chance to just rest or relax. This trip is completely exhausting in an entirely new way for me, and I am learning that I simply must give myself a day or two per week where I don’t do anything. Usually I camp out in a cafe working, writing and getting organized for the next leg of my adventures.
3. I recognize that my client work pays the bills & funds travel.
…and this will often help motivate me when I am faced with the decision to work or play. My client work funds my travel and pays my bills. I cannot be irresponsible if there is work to be done! Plain and simple.
I am sure there are many people who have already figured this stuff out and it may be quite obvious – but I am learning all of this as I go, and have never been one to take what others tell me and apply it to my life. I always have to find out for myself!
Are you a “digital nomad?” How are you balancing work while traveling the world?