Finding the motivation and focus to work, even on a project you love, is a struggle that we all go through. There are so many distractions in every day life and, I would argue that, those distractions are 100x worse when you are working remotely or as a digital nomad.
Throughout my nearly 3 years of traveling and working while being a backpacker (nomadism as low to the ground as you can get,) I’ve had to learn how to find the focus to get done what needs to be done in ever-changing environments.
Traveling or not, focusing and finding motivation comes from creating an ideal work ‘zone’.
Your ‘zone’ is the environment that you work best in. It’s what you require in order to get your best work done in the shortest amount of time possible. It’s where you are not distracted, where you can focus, and the space you need to accomplish work that you are proud of.
For me, below is an example of where I do not work best.
Are you a coffee shop person? A bar table beer sipper? A 24-person hostel dorm room bed cross-legged-can-work-anywhere person? An AirBnB rental with a big proper kitchen table to sit and work at? Or a co-working space seeker who needs the traditional desk/work environment? This is going to take some experimentation of each possible option to find out what you can work with.
Your ideal zone can change over time, especially as your desire to experience new countries and cultures overtakes what you consider to be your work comfort zone. There will not always be Wi-Fi (so you will prepare in advance) or even a table (in the middle of the Borneo jungle.) Adapt!
Once you discover the bare minimum of what you need, seek that out when you have work to do. For me, if I’m working longer than a half-day, I need a proper table and chair and a place where others won’t bother me. In a cafe, bar, restaurant, hostel, or hotel, I’ll pick a quiet corner with a table or desk and face away from the room (ideally at a wall or window). Almost always I’ll wear headphones and won’t be listening to anything, but headphones deter anyone from coming over to talk to me…usually.
Unlike being in an office, no one cares how long you’re at the office showing your face. I’ll often think about projects or ideas while exploring and having fun with people, and when I sit down at my computer, I’m then ready to actually work. I rarely putter around thinking while sitting at my computer. When I sit down to work, I work. I close all other computer windows, I keep my phone in my bag, and I work. It’s ideal for myself and for my clients that I can be efficient when available online.
When you leave your zone, leave your work behind. Just like you would at an office environment. Remember, don’t be afraid to take vacations. Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to a few weeks off working too.
I structure my work around my life, not my life around my work.
Sometimes finding the balance of a zone to work in with my desire for travel can be a pain, but it is possible. Figure out how to eliminate your distractions, work when you have found your zone, and then go enjoy what you love to do most: Travel.
If you’re doubting you can do it, the only way you’ll know is to try and fail, not be too hard on yourself, and try again. If it’s your dream to travel and work simultaneously, you’ll find a way.
I hope my experience helps and if you have any of your own advice or what you require in your zone, leave them in the comments below!
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