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Adventure-Work Balance for Digital Nomads

Did you just recently start living the digital nomad dream? You know: traveling around the world, solo or with other nomads, sightseeing, going on adventures, meeting people, and…working just enough to finish by the deadlines.

Or maybe you are the opposite, a workaholic always skipping adventures because there’s work to do. I think most digital nomads will find themselves in one of these extremes at some point. They might even migrate from one to the other, always oscillating between too much work and too many fun things missed, or barely finishing work, always being tired and never truly efficient.

I know I’ve been there. But don’t worry, there is a way to find balance! Here are a few tips that have helped me finish all my work without being stressed without missing out on adventures.

Create a thorough list of the projects you are working on

But don’t stop there. Write down how much you have already completed, how many hours you estimate you still need to finish and the deadlines. I also like to rate projects with regards to how much I like working on them. If you are like me, you might find that the ones you enjoy less, might actually need an extra hour to complete. I find that this helps me prioritize work.

Furthermore, it helps me know when I’ve taken on too many projects. Many freelancers are tempted to accept all the projects that come their way, especially at the beginning of their journey as digital nomads. This can be extremely detrimental, not only to their health but also to their long-term success in their career. You won’t find success faster if you drive yourself to complete exhaustion.

Write down the places you MUST visit

Once you know what you have to do for work, make a list of the places you absolutely want to visit. Again, figure out how long it will take you to visit each of them. See which ones can be visited in the morning or in the evening after work, or during a lunch break and which ones require an entire day or a weekend trip. There will always be some unpredicted adventure, but it will help to know what you don’t want to miss and have a plan in place.

Create a daily routine

I know what you’re thinking: “create routine” and “digital nomad” in the same article?! Isn’t the whole point of being a digital nomad NOT having a strict routine?! Don’t panic, I won’t tell you to go back to 9-5 style.

I find that in order to be more efficient and properly balance work and life, I need to know how many hours a day I’m gonna be working. It doesn’t have to be 8 hours a day. Some days I’ll just work for 4 hours while others I might work 12 to compensate. Some days I’ll work in the morning, others in the evening. You are going to have to find your balance. Maybe you can switch it up as I do. Or maybe you need a normal 8 hours work day.

The point is, figure out how many hours you’ll be working and when. And then, STOP. Go on adventures, workout, go on a walk, but don’t work. In other words, you are creating space for an unplanned adventure so that when an opportunity arises you don’t have to say no because of work. You can consider it part of your me-time, the time off you scheduled for each day.

FOMO vs JOMO

FOMO – short for Fear of Missing Out – is something we all experience from time to time, digital nomads or not. When you are traveling, FOMO pretty much turns into this challenge for yourself to do everything all the time. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. While extroverts might have an easier time than introverts living a FOMO lifestyle, both sides are at huge risk of burnout.

We’re not really meant to do all the things all the time. Sometimes we just need time off; yes, even from going on adventures. Mindfulness comes in handy here, just like enjoying the present moment with gratitude without constantly wishing we were doing something else.

So here comes a term I have learned for myself last year while on a co-living experience. JOMO – Joy of Missing Out (to do something else). Sometimes you just can’t do it all. Personally, I am an introvert. I love being with other people, but sometimes I just need the space to recharge my batteries; on my own.

So after weeks of being on this co-living experience, having fun and going on amazing adventures, I came to this point when I knew I need time off. So I decided to go on my own little adventure. I took a walk around town and discovered some amazing little gems, that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Yes, I might have missed out on that weekend’s adventure with the group. But I discovered some gorgeous sights, I replenished my energy, and I was ready to take on the world the following day.

Self-care over FOMO

So next time you feel like you could use some time off, but FOMO won’t let you think about the things you will be able to do if you sit this one out. Think about alternative places to visit and ultimately, think about how much better you’ll feel once you are rested, once you’ve taken care of yourself. Find a balance in both your work and your life and traveling. Once you achieve this, merging the two together will be so easy!

The digital nomad lifestyle can truly be beneficial for anyone. But we have to realize, just like a 9-5 routine can get us into an unhealthy setting, so can this lifestyle. Your problems will not be instantly fixed when you become a nomad. And while traveling is an amazing medicine for so many issues, balance and mindfulness will always be key.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Great post, adventure-work balance is a cool concept and something I’m interested in. I find being a digital nomad that the daily routine is so key to stay healthy and productive while living and traveling abroad.

  2. I’m compiling a similar piece on routine and came across this lovely post. Love the FOMO vs JOMO bit – so true! 🙂 I’ll link to you when we publish.

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