There’s nothing like making a living from the comfort of your own home. Unless, of course, you’re working on the patio of your hotel room while soaking up the sun.
For today’s digital nomad, freelancing is not limited to your home office. Location-independent freelancers have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world.
While professional and consistent work can be scheduled in between worldwide adventures, staying motivated and productive while traveling can be the greatest challenge of many freelancers. Continue reading 15 tips that remote freelancers can apply to stay productive while traveling.
1. Have a plan
Scuba diving with the dolphins can be so much more enjoyable when deadlines are not weighing heavily on your mind. Before leaving home on your holiday, create a few lists in order to stay productive and effective.
First of all, write down all of your deadlines in order to prioritize your tasks. Are there emails to return? Any phone calls to make? When are the projects due? It’s important to write a list of tasks and time frames in order to stay worry-free, productive and organized amid your travels.
Be sure to write the list of deadlines in your calendar, and create a workable plan (either written or online) that will fit into your schedule. Starting your trip with a solid plan is the key to creating a stress-free and constructive remote work environment.
2. Online vs. offline tasks
Instead of feeling limited to working only with WiFi access, make a plan to be productive during times you will be offline. Plenty of work can be accomplished during a flight or when staying at a remote location without WiFi.
Prior to sitting down to these offline tasks, it’s important to have your online research done so that you can let the creative juices flow. Often, it’s a matter of copying, pasting and re-creating the researched content while giving it your unique spin. What better time to tackle these tasks than on a long flight or while sipping your coffee on the patio of your remote getaway?
3. Keep in communication with clients
If you’re going off the grid, be sure to let your clients know you will not have access to regular communication. That said, be sure to let them know when to expect a response once you’ve reached a WiFi-friendly location.
In addition, set a deadline and stick to it. Be sure to stay in touch regularly with your clients in order to keep them posted on your planned deadlines, and to stay in touch should any questions or issues arise while working on any given project.
4. Stay organized
There’s nothing worse than leaving everything to the last minute. When deadlines are hanging over your head, the stress can keep you up at night – even in those cozy of hotel rooms. Aren’t you supposed to be working on your tan and taking in the sights?
As a digital nomad, it’s key to stay organized while traveling. Productivity and standout performance is not limited to location, so why not have some fun while freelancing? If you’ve created lists, done the preparation, plugged away at tasks while offline and kept in touch with clients, your work can gain a lot of momentum.
Working on your projects a little bit every day can help ease stress and help you stay on task. Be sure to carve out some time each day to help you stay organized and productive so that you’re not scrambling to get everything done at the last minute.
5. Find a system that works for you
Maintaining a successful freelance career while traveling the world is a real possibility to those of us willing to make it work.
Not only is it important to do the necessary preparations before leaving the house, but it’s also key to keep working amid your travels. While organization is key, it’s also important to find a system that works for you. Everything from backing up and saving your work to organizing your time and meeting deadlines must be considered when working and traveling at the same time.
The freedom of freelancing is not only desirable, but it’s also possible for those of us who also love to travel. Finding a system that works for you, and keeping consistent at it, is key when working toward a successful freelance career.
6. Set up your mobile internet right from the get-go
One of the downsides of working on the go is the unexpected internet speeds you can run into. If you want to stay productive while traveling, having decent internet speed is essential.
Let’s face it, WiFi connections at resorts and guesthouses aren’t the most reliable, especially in other countries. To avoid getting into the same trouble all over again, be sure to take care of your mobile internet needs right from the beginning.
As soon as you land, get yourself a local SIM and buy local bandwidth so you don’t have to rely on your resort’s WiFi connection.
Not only will you be saving yourself from all the trouble, but it will also allow you to get your rhythm going. With no speed issues, you’ll definitely get more work done.
7. Choose your workspace wisely
The great thing about being a digital nomad is that you can choose where you want to work. Just because a place has an internet connection, however, it doesn’t automatically qualify as a conducive work environment.
Local internet cafes may sound like a good idea, but if you really think about it, the place comes with a lot of distractions that may keep you from being productive. You’ve got multiple conversations happening all around, loud music playing in the background, and the overpowering voice of the counter guys calling out orders.
Though some have the unique ability to work through these distractions, it simply won’t work when you’re trying to beat a deadline. This will also be difficult for content creators or writers who rely on their creative juices for ideas.
Another problem with internet cafes is that some owners aren’t too excited to see people spending the entire day there while only ordering fries and a coffee.
To continue to stay productive while traveling, look for a place that’s not too crowded. Find one that has a decent internet connection as well as friendly and welcoming owners who won’t mind you working there.
8. Consider Coworking Spaces
If finding a work-friendly place is proving to be difficult, a coworking space may just be what you’re looking for. Coworking spaces have been on the rise in recent years with the gig economy gaining momentum.
The best thing about coworking spaces is that they’re custom made for freelancers and remote contractors. They’ve got good internet speeds, free water and coffee (at least some of them), and you get to work alongside like-minded individuals.
Working in a coworking space is also a great way to get to know the locals as well as other location-independent individuals. It’s a good way to expand your network and stave off the loneliness that can come along with working remotely.
9. Find the Courage to Say No
Traveling the world exposes you to a lot of people, and many of them are not digital nomads but vacationers out to enjoy the sights and sounds. It’s easy to get tempted to join their “non-work” activities, especially when you’re the only one in the group who’s doing something different.
They may simply be browsing the internet or watching videos on YouTube while you work. There will also be times when they’ll invite you for a swim or a round of bar-hopping while you’re busy trying to beat a deadline.
It is in these situations where your ability to resist temptation will be put to the test. Right from the get-go, you need to get used to the fact that you won’t be able to join them in every activity they have planned.
At the end of the day, your business should still be the priority because your clients depend on you. You wouldn’t want to ruin the trust they gave you.
10. Create a Productive Morning Routine
One of the perks of being a freelancer is having command of your own time. You’re pretty much in charge of your own schedule and this freedom gives you a lot of room to be creative.
Taking advantage of the early hours of the morning is a sure-fire way to stay productive while traveling. With most of the people still soundly asleep, you’ll have a quieter work environment at your disposal. You’ll also have a faster internet connection due to low usage and cool weather to keep you company.
Having a great morning routine will not only help you get more work done early, but it will also give you more time to spend on other activities in the afternoon, without worrying about what you need to do later.
11. Always Have a Notebook Handy
Great ideas come when you least expect them. They can suddenly pop up while you’re at the airport, on the bus, or in front of the campfire. You certainly wouldn’t want to miss these moments.
If you want to stay productive while traveling, keeping a small notebook with you will go a long way. It will help you put these ideas down in writing so you can come back to them when you’re back online or have more time to focus on them. As much as we would like to trust our memories, ideas like these can easily be forgotten.
This is also a good way to maximize idle time, especially when you have several destinations on your itinerary.
Being on the road doesn’t necessarily mean that you can no longer be productive. In fact, you can use this time to clear your inbox by taking care of emails that require shorter responses.
Using your phone, you can easily remove these emails from your to-do list. This will also allow you to take care of the emails that require longer responses once you’re back in your workspace.
If you can contact the recipient by calling them, do so because it’s easier, faster, and leaves little room for miscommunication. Just like the emails, you can leave the longer calls for later when you have a more stable internet connection or if you’re worried about noise.
13. Charge Up
When you’re always on the move, you’ll be relying a lot on your mobile and portable devices to get work done. More often than not, you’ll be working on your laptop, tablet, or even your phone.
With that being said, it’s only logical that you make the necessary preparations. Make sure your devices are fully charged before you get on the road. Bring extra batteries and power banks as a backup just in case. And don’t forget to bring your chargers!
It’s important to always have a Plan B if you want to stay productive while traveling.
14. Download Important Apps to Your Phone
Another way to ensure work continuity is to download mobile versions of the apps you’re using to perform your tasks. This is a precautionary measure in case your laptop battery runs out while you’re in the middle of a task.
By having these backup apps installed on your phone, you can continue working and communicating with your clients. You can also at least inform them of your situation if you have no recourse and keep them posted if deadlines will be moved. This will allow you to continue to work on your project at a later time without casting doubt on your honesty or commitment.
More than being a total life-saver, doing this will keep you productive despite the circumstances mentioned above.
15. Figure out what work time suits you
Traveling puts you in a position where you may experience working at different time zones. While it may be ideal for you to stick to a 9-to-5 schedule, it may not be possible all the time due to the time difference and everything you’ve got going on. If you want to stay productive while traveling, you need to establish a work schedule that fits you in this new situation.
The best way to find a schedule that works for you is to monitor your sleep patterns. Find out when you naturally sleep and wake up and get a sense of what works for you. By keeping track of all these things, you’ll be able to plan accordingly and continue to stay productive while traveling.
This is crucial for people who love hopping from one country to another. This is because timezone changes can disrupt your rhythm. By figuring out the best time of the day to work, you’ll be able to get more things done. It won’t even matter which part of the world you are in!
Feeling ready to embrace a workday at the beach? It might be time to put your skills to the test. Signing up as a freelancer on a reputable marketplace like FreeeUp gives you the opportunity to find new clients, set up new projects and optimize your freelance earnings no matter where you are.
FreeeUp is a marketplace that connects pre-vetted freelancers with online businesses. Once you’re accepted into the network, you’ll have the ability to see the daily project requests, which offers you the opportunity to increase your freelancing hours without extensive interviews.
Noel Rosos is a personal development writer, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and founder of Life’s How You Live It, a personal development blog dedicated to helping people live the life they’ve always dreamed of. He is also a writer/contributor for Arianna Huffington’s wellness site, Thrive Global. He is an affiliate marketer, a full-time husband and father, and a self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST.