One of the challenges posed by digital nomading is keeping up your focus while traveling. When you spend a lot of time in airports, finding a cozy room to live and enjoying the pleasure of wanderlust, it’s easy to lose your focus and procrastinate about work. Before you know it, your wallet is empty and your work life is gone. To avoid this desperate situation, here are tips on how to increase your focus when you work on the road.
Pick up ideas while they’re fresh
Don’t let your ideas wait for you to write them down – you are the one who needs to wait for ideas to come. As soon as you have an idea or you visualize the project you are working on, put it on a piece of paper. Write a draft on the spot, then check it and adjust it later. Usually, genius ideas come in the most unexpected situations, so make sure you have a recorder with you or a piece of paper.
Having tight deadlines is a real nightmare when you work in an office, but when you are a digital nomad on the road, you might find deadlines to be your best friends. This is because a deadline acts as a motivation to start and finish a task. Another secret used by many freelancers is telling as many people as possible about the latest project. The fact a lot of people know you have to deliver a book cover or a website at a specific date is going to make you more responsible. No one wants to be known as the digital nomad who misses his deadlines, especially when this can become a gossip topic among your friends.
The point only writers will understand
All writers hit a dead end from time to time, known as the point where you can’t produce any work at all, regardless what you do and how much you try. Luckily, there is an easy way to increase your focus when you work on the road and get out of this funk: change your location. Ok, I know digital nomads are always changing locations, but that’s not what I am talking about. To come out of a writing block change the cafe where you spend your working hours, change the place where you work. A small change can go a long way, so take advantage of it and your freedom!
If you don’t have a boss to exploit you anymore, do it yourself! Identify the most productive hours in a day and make the most out of them. Some digital nomads perform better when they wake up early, like really early, at 5-6AM and focus on work couple of hours. Others, like me, wake up their inner creative genius after 7PM. Find your most productive part of the day and take advantage of it!
But make sure you also get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, otherwise you will become a tired, grumpy nomad who is nothing but productive.
Multitasking? No way!
Many remote workers try to multitask, which is a great way to backfire your entire workflow. Never multitask! Like really never! Human brain is made to focus on one task at a time and there are thousand studies which prove that. There are couple of people around the world which can effectively multitask, but 99% of the population is just fooling themselves into this concept promoted by corporations for ages. Want more proof? A team of researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, studied 1000 employees and found multitasking lead to a significant decrease in IQ, up to 10 units!
The take-away: if you want to increase your focus and be productive, forget multitasking!
Find your working style
When it comes to methods on how to increase your focus when you work on the road each digital nomad has at least one. You also need to find your own method and stick with it. In fact, you have to find the combo of conditions which makes your productivity skyrocket.
For example, there are people who enjoy listening to background music when they work; others love to work away from their living room, which is not hard for a digital nomad. Meanwhile, there are people who work best when they are sitting in their own hammock, listening to the sea or the birds singing. Find your working style and stick to it!
Use apps to manage your tasks
If you have to work with your team, it’s essential to have great management apps, which can help you with each task and maintain the communication between you and the other team members. Slack or Buffer are such tools, which can change the way you work and channel your focus on the really important things.
Among the biggest perks of a digital nomad life is your freedom to organize your life. But this is also your biggest enemy, as you can easily follow a chaotic lifestyle and blow out your productivity and focus. To avoid this, you can simply organize everything in your life. Use an agenda, an online organizer or anything which works for you to organize tasks and prioritize them. When you have a clear view on the tasks you have to accomplish at the end of the day, you are more likely to succeed. Plan, plan and them plan some more to avoid burnouts, which are making you prone to diseases and procrastination. You can use the best rule ever for conquering work and become a winner: the divide and conquer. Divide large projects and tasks into smaller ones and then follow them step by step. This way you will boost your focus and you will be able to work smarter, not harder.
Knowing what you have to do all the time, is going to keep you alert and active.
Erase meetings from your schedule
It’s not possible to completely erase meetings from your schedule, but you can cut them down as much as possible. Do the same with emails and phone calls, which are the biggest enemies of focus. Keep the meetings and other additional tasks, which are not work, at the minimum – you need to find that level of engagement which allows you to work without being distracted, yet stay in touch with your partners. When you do have to attend a meeting online, make sure there is a detailed agenda, which helps reduce the dead time and ensures everyone focuses on the important issues.
All digital nomads are connected 24/7, which is a great thing, but comes with a huge drawback: you are never actually relaxed. To be able to relax and leave work completely, just disconnect for couple of hours each day. Unplug and go out. Enjoy the nature, enjoy the people and the place where you are. No phones, no tasks, no work. Even 15 minutes per day of complete disconnection can increase your focus when you work on the road and help you deliver better projects.