Why Is Time Management Necessary For Digital Nomads?
One of the chief reasons for becoming a digital nomad is freedom. Freedom to do what you want, when you want. Freedom from the ever-increasing demands within a structured working environment. Freedom to see the world and absorb its culture, tough to do when restricted to only holidays.
Given that, you must be asking why would I then recommend time management. That belongs to the world of offices and companies, the world we have left. Unfortunately, that is not true, while you have stepped outside that arena as an individual your work and payments come from them. Trying to manage a free lifestyle with being productive is hard. So, a compromise has to be made otherwise you become like the proverbial White Rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, always trying to catch up on deadlines and running yourself ragged looking for work and chasing payments.
As digital nomads, we are on the move, sometimes daily and that makes it hard to manage time effectively, but it is not impossible. Spur of the moment decisions are part of that freedom we embrace, but that does not give us a license to be irresponsible. Think for a moment and consider some of the repercussions that will result from not taking on board some time management skills.
- Missing deadlines, if you do, then you must examine the implications of not meeting them. Maybe a financial one, if the contact you have stipulates a penalty if late.
- Reputation, as digital nomads, our reputation is so important in keeping work and finding work. Being known as the freelancer who is always late is not something you want to be attached to you as it will certainly influence work from that client, not only that, the potential for networking via them is very much reduced.
- The knock-on effect of other work then being put back, which is a clear sign of the ‘White Rabbit Syndrome’.
- The Stress that accompanies being late and not doing the job well as you have to rush it to meet a deadline.
What Is Time Management
Simply put it is having the right time set aside for a given task and applies all aspects of our lives. How can you enjoy your freedom if you can’t manage your workload effectively, mixing your work and pleasure might seem like a good idea, but in practice, it is not functioning? Fancy the idea of sitting on a beach typing away?
What about other people sharing that, space, causing you a disruption just because they are there to have fun? Beaches rarely have private networks, so the risk to your device is higher. Could you honestly finish the piece of work you are doing to a deadline with the sea or the slopes or the photo opportunities beckoning? Time management for Digital Nomads is about making time for the things you love to do and making space for the commitments you have to make to sustain it. Personal time management is different from an office based one by one major factor, you decide, and you implement it; so, it can be adjusted according to your needs. Decide how productive you want or need to be, then organise how you can achieve this. Time management includes both psychological and physical aspects; both need to be taken on board to make managing your time more effective
How Can Digital Nomads Introduce Time Management Into Their Lifestyle?
Tips For Managing Your Time:
1) Understand your motivation
What is it that drives you on, that you feel passionate about? What do you want to achieve? These answers are all individual to you; only you can identify your goals and break them down into achievable objectives. Take the time to do this, and you are already starting to manage your time. A practical off shoot of this is to spend at least 5 minutes at the start of your day and consider what you want to achieve in that day. Prioritise them, and this does not mean just work objectives’ you might be meeting a friend or going shopping. Create a strategy for your day. For some, it works to write these down. If the lower priority ones are not achieved, no worries, re-evaluate them the next day. By writing them down, I mean use pen and paper as it has been identified our brains recognise this method and retain the information better than when using our digital tech. After saying that scheduling in the main events in a day on your smartphone, with an alarm, can be useful as a reminder to keep to your day’s plan.
2) Stop Procrastinating:
We are all guilty of this at some time or another. Coming up with excuses for our behaviour is a waste of time when we are our own bosses! So, stop it! Decide on a course of action, keep to it as much as possible. Try these hacks to help:
- Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you should do today; it will only be more demanding the longer you leave it.
- Do the hardest thing first before your energy dips.
- Work with time, consider using the Pomodoro technique. This is where a period to work is set by the timer, which when it rings signals a 5-minute break.
3) Stop trying to do all everything at once:
Multi-tasking is not always the best way to manage your work as you can end up doing only a little of everything and never finishing one project. It has also been found to have a negative effect on your health and productivity by reducing your focus on the task at hand. The brain does not like rapidly switching from one thing to another and when it does the focus is reduced making the quality less.
4) Look after yourself.
Sounds a given but if you want to be a digital nomad for the long haul you must remember to take care of yourself. Time management goes a long way in achieving this. Enjoying your chosen lifestyle and being free to embrace it means organising yourself. That includes eating, sleeping, immersing yourself in the culture and having fun as well as working. With a little expanded effort, you can be more productive to fund your lifestyle and still have plenty of time to enjoy it.
Hacks For Planning Your Day.
– Prioritise your tasks and keep to them. A plan is only as good as how you implement it. Tackle your most important task first then work through you ‘To Do’ list.
– Ensure you have all that is needed to work, functioning device, fully charged. Backup batteries or charger to hand.
– Access to the internet, if using a lot of public networks ensure your firewalls and security is top notch. Being hacked severely impacts your productivity.
– Decide the best time of day to work that suits you and the environment you are in.
– Avoid distractions, if you have to use a public network choose a time of day or place that has ‘quiet times’. Do a little homework re this before arriving, if not possible ask! Internet café, free WIFI zones, libraries, etc. will know when those times are. Seat yourself in a quiet corner and put your headphones on. Don’t have to be connected to anything but wearing them sends a message to others, ‘do not disturb’.
– Don’t forget the self-inflicted distractions, such as social media pings and messages. These contribute to losing focus, and it’s incredible how much time is lost to following up on IM’s and emails. Plan into your day when you are going to do these. I recommend not doing them in your 5-minute break as you can easily lose an hour! Read emails no more than twice a day, set your social media notifications to silent, off or do not disturb.
– If you are travelling, it is often easy to think, ‘I will use that time to work’, but it can also be a nightmare with plenty of distractions. Poor internet, bad travelling conditions, thinking old buses, uncomfortable seats and chatty neighbours, as well as turbulence, bad drivers’, cows on the road and so on! Try not to rely on travelling as your work period. Use it to supplement if conditions are right but not as your first choice. This is where being flexible but having a plan helps.
Time is precious; it is always on the move even if you are not. Utilise it as the powerful tool it is to establish the freedom you want. Time Management = Freedom.
Guest article written by: Georgi Todorov is an independent digital marketer, specializing in Outreach strategies and International SEO. Besides his passion about digital marketing, he has graduated from university with a bachelor degree in Cultural Anthropology which makes him extremely curious about anything “foreign” and “international”. He is always happy to talk with new people and you can reach him at his Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. He has recently started his own blog about digital marketing. Georgi is also a partner at FortuneLords.