We had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Melissa Mesku, Founding Editor of New Worker Magazine. As an advocate...
Ask an aspiring digital nomad how they’re feeling about their imminent life change and you’ll likely hear about a range of emotions, spanning from delirious excitement to full-on anxiety. It’s a tricky transition to navigate, especially if you don’t know anyone who’s done it before. That’s why we’ve put together this two-part series, a summary of great tips and tricks we’ve received from ShareDesk’s very own digital nomad community on how to get started.
Sometimes, preparing is the hardest part. That’s where we began in Part I of the series. There, we shared advice on what you can do to prepare–both mentally and physically–for the transition. But what happens after you take the leap? How do you level out and create a lifestyle that rides that fine line between fulfilling and sustainable? ShareDesk’s digital nomads weigh in with their answers below.
“Get plenty of rest. You need all of your energy to keep focused, to remain confident when odds are stacked against you, and to always be learning new skills and listening to others. It’s easy to make mistakes or miss opportunity when you’re not rested.”
–Eric Gould, Mobile Web Developer (born in USA, currently working in USA)
It may seem like basic advice, until you’re in the thick of a project with a looming deadline. Sleep is often the first thing we find ourselves ready to sacrifice for the sake of completing our work. This is a dangerous habit. If you’re not taking care of yourself and your needs, you won’t be able to create great work for your clients.
“It’s important to set clear boundaries around your work so that it doesn’t take over your life.”
-Tyler LePard, Communications & Digital Strategy Consultant (born in USA, currently working in USA)
Creating work/life balance as a digital nomad is invaluable, yet can be hard to come by. You’ll be juggling conversations with clients in different time zones, maintaining friendships both physically and digitally, and finding time to get work done and land new projects. Without a bit of planning and boundary-setting, it can be easy to burnout. Finding ways to improve productivity becomes the name of the game while creating a digital nomad lifestyle you can easily maintain. Figure out what time of day you’re most productive, and remove unnecessary distractions. Communicate to your clients when you’ll be available for phone calls or emails. Take time to yourself to recharge. Create a routine that works for you, and watch every area of your life improve dramatically.
“Properly track your working time – it makes you value your work more, especially when first starting out as a freelancer, gives you information for future about how long things actually take you, and it’s also a tiny trick at the end of the day that you have to justify yourself to yourself. Maybe you only did 30 minutes of useful work today. I find that using Harvest keeps me on track to hit a set number of productive hours per day that I’m happy with. And I can see long-term patterns as well, so if it’s dropping off over a few weeks I know to change my setup.”
–Rachel Cruickshank, Freelance Scientific Project & Events Manager (born in UK, currently working in Spain)
Personal responsibility can take many forms. What motivates you? Perhaps it’s tracking your time with a tool like Harvest, as Rachel advises. Maybe it’s finding a fellow digital nomad in your coworking space who you can have a meeting with daily to share what you accomplished. Figure out what will keep you motivated and on track to hit your professional goals. However, it’s also important to not be too hard on yourself. It can be easy to fixate on everything you’d like to accomplish, at the cost of celebrating what you manage to achieve.
“The digital nomad’s life doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Find a community to plug into early on to enrich the experience of working remotely.”
–Jonathan Kurten, Product Designer & Founder of Foundry Coworking (born in South Africa, currently working in USA)
When you’re settling into the digital nomad lifestyle, it’s easy to cloister yourself away without even realizing you’re doing so. Joining a physical community fulfills an intrinsically human need and will greatly impact your happiness. What kind of community should you look for? It helps to know something about yourself and your specific needs. Define what will make you feel grounded. Perhaps it’s connecting specifically with other digital nomads. Perhaps it’s finding your perfect coworking space, where you can surround yourself with inspiring workers or engaging community events. Maybe it’s befriending locals, who will help open your eyes to the wonders of the neighborhood you’re calling “home” for this week. Building community is a wonderful tool, and will go a long way to making you feel less alone in a lifestyle full of unpredictability.
Do you have questions you’d like to pose to our digital nomad community? Share them with us here, and they might end up in a future ShareDesk blog post!