How to be Productive While Living in Beautiful Places Around the World
Finding the balance of work and play as a Digital Nomad
“Don’t you get distracted and tempted to skip work while living in these beautiful destinations?” I get this question a lot when I talk to people about living the Digital Nomad lifestyle.
To start with yes, I do get tempted to skip out on work and go play instead! Especially when it is a beautiful day outside and those around me are out playing instead of working. But there is a big difference between temptation and action. I don’t want the fear of not being able to be productive or the inability to concentrate keep you from exploring this lifestyle. So, to help you overcome this FOMO paralysis, here are the few questions that motivate me to balance my work and play that you might consider when you are feeling this serious FOMO.
1. Remind yourself- why you are traveling as a digital nomad and not as a vacationer?
Like Simon Sinek says your “why” is the most critical and pivotal part of your existence. Not to get dramatic here, but it’s true, and remembering it can be very powerful. So, ask yourself, why are you traveling as a working Digital Nomad instead of as a vacationer? Your answer might be because it allows you to travel all year long which in-tern allows you to have epic vacations, weekends, and afternoon experiences you wouldn’t otherwise have if you were living at home. Remembering this helps make that one beach day, BBQ, or hike not seem so important. Because in the grand scheme of things you are able to experience a whole bunch of beach days, BBQs, and hikes around the whole world due to the fact that you are working.
(By the way, if you haven’t watched Simon Sinek’s TED talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” I highly recommend)
2. Is this something you can do on the weekend, or work your schedule around?
This question helps put that FOMO inducing activity into perspective. Are you able to do this activity this afternoon once your work is done? Or maybe this weekend? The bright side is because you are a digital nomad, you most likely have quite a bit of control over your schedule. So, if this activity is pretty exciting to see if you can fit it into your schedule and maybe work late that night to make up for it. In the end, it’s all about balance and you have the autonomy to make those decisions.
3. When’s the last time you took a vacation and had more than two days in a row off to unplug and unwind?
Maybe the reason you are feeling FOMO in the first place is that you haven’t given yourself enough time to enjoy where you are. This is a common problem with digital nomads because people back home assume you are on vacation mode 24/7 so digital nomads either 1) feel guilty asking for vacation time or 2) are afraid of the dirty looks they will get because of that vacation mode assumption. But you are still a working human that still requires breaks too! Burn out and overwork are still part of a digital nomad’s life, and it is really important to give yourself permission to take breaks and vacations to enjoy where you are. Otherwise, what’s the point in being a digital nomad in the first place?
4. Do you use your time off to do fun things?
This goes hand in hand with number 3, do you use your weekends and nights to go do fun things? Or do you use them to catch up on more work, or zombie out in front of the TV because you are emotionally and mentally drained from your week? If you are more towards the latter, then maybe now is a good time to consider taking some work-related items off your plate so you can balance work and fun a bit more. Some solutions for this might be hiring a VA (virtual assistant) to take over the time-consuming tasks you don’t need to do. Or maybe working smarter not harder, and carving out time to create some much-needed efficiencies in your workflow to allow for more output with less input.
5. Are you surrounding yourself with driven motivated people?
This is a big one, I have found it to be much more difficult to stay motivated and work hard towards my goals when I am surrounded by people on vacation mode. First, I want to say there is nothing wrong with being on vacation mode, in fact, I highly recommend making that mode part of your standard of your three-month cycle. BUT if you are continuously surrounded by people on vacation mode, working part-time, minimal hours, or who aren’t committed to their careers or projects… the FOMO is likely to be a lot stronger and more consistent. This is because those people are more likely to go do those fun things during hours that you need to be working. A wise person once said “you are the sum of those around you” and if those around you don’t add up to the successful, action-taking, mover and shaker you are trying to be, well you might need to consider some other options.
Overall, yes being a digital nomad does come with its unique set of problems to overcome such as balancing work and play. And sometimes making those decisions can be hard, stressful, and downright shitty. But if you work through the questions above, I have faith that you will come to the decision that is best for you and thrive living the lifestyle of your dreams!