There is probably nothing in the world that currently captures the spirit of the digital revolution and people wanting to travel better than the life of a Digital Nomad. For the most part, that means doing their work digitally is fundamental to their livelihood, and if they want it to continue, it has to be successful.
So what remote working skills help digital nomads the most? You basically must be skillful working with a mobile office, and this means:
-Figure out the technical side of remote working
-Figure out the productivity side remote working
-Learn how to work while traveling
-Know how to find the perfect workplace to do deep work
REMOTE WORKING BASICS IN PLACE
One gets the basics in place by:
Getting your equipment and shape for remote working – this means that your computer, your external hard drive, and even your mobile data subscription is in good working shape. There is nothing worse than getting ready to work remotely and then finding out that something is not working the way it should be and your deep work session to make progress on your project has to be delayed.
Get your mindset for working in focus – by this, I mean, be ready to do the work. Cut off all distractions so that you can seriously focus. Your mindset should be one that is active, energized, and prepared to tackle the job at hand.
Know the places you can work in the area that you are living right now – if you have your favorite café or your ideal startup incubator workspace that you can take for a few hours. Or if you’re one to feel comfortable working at the beach or a beach café, then know where these places are and the suitable times that you can do deep work there. For some great ideas, check out my article The Best Workspaces (Office, Co-Working, Café) for the Digital Nomad Entrepreneur. You can use these ideas to determine what works best for you.
Have a handle on the length of time you will need to do project work quietly, and the times you need to talk to people – in time management, they call this concentration blocks of time. Usually, the length of time is about 1.5 hours, or you can use the Pomodoro technique in which the work time is 25 minutes and then a short break of five minutes. Either way, the important thing is to know how much time you will need to concentrate on making progress on your project.
Also, project work is different from having a meeting or trying to discuss the best approach to take the project forward with someone. Personal communication skills often take longer because you have to listen to the other person and consider their points of view.
Being a digital nomad entrepreneur takes a lot of focused effort. For some, it will be more difficult to master than others. I wrote a detailed article The Effective Worker Side of the Digital Nomad Entrepreneur which will give you some great ideas and lay out many of the things you need to consider and eventually master.
TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR REMOTE WORKING
WLAN – getting to understand how to find and connect to WLAN is most of the time easy, but there are times when you need to find a way to configure the network and also there are threats of hacking and virus that you need to be aware of. In my book, you always need to have a backup, which leads me to our next point.
Mobile data – there will be many that think it is too expensive to have a mobile data subscription with them at all times. But these days the cost of the subscription is considerably inexpensive, and on many occasions, I have been able to work in a café or some corner of a restaurant for the simple reason that I had mobile data. Consider mobile data for good backup or, like me, use it as your main connectivity for your remote working.
Electrical outlets – if you are working in a country where you did not buy most of your equipment like a computer, and the likelihood is that you need to have some electric plug adapters. Additionally, if you are working remotely in a café or other place, either you have to know how much battery life you have or situate yourself to sit right next to the electric outlet.
Cloud conductivity, storage, and synchronization – these days, it’s common that projects are uploaded to the cloud and additionally that you have the option to store your work on the cloud. Cloud services like Dropbox, Google drive, and others provide a great way to save your work on the cloud. However, you should know a little bit about how your work is synchronized and organize on the cloud so that if something goes wrong, you’ll be able to troubleshoot.
Computer backups – this one is vital to your work — back up your computer on the cloud or an external hard disk.
External hard disk usage – when I worked as an ex-pat in China, I knew many people who always connected an external hard drive to the computer whenever they worked. I caught that habit too, and it is helped me a lot and not being so dependent on which computer I’m using. And, if your laptop breaks down, you have all of your work stored not on your computer but on an external hard drive which makes it easier to use another computer while your broken computer is being fixed.
PRODUCTIVITY CONSIDERATIONS FOR REMOTE WORKING
Time management – we have several articles on this website that describe time management practices and tips that can help the digital nomad entrepreneur. When it comes to remote working, time management can help you keep on track and make progress in your business. There are tons of books with different perspectives on how to organize your time. Make use of this.
Energy management – I’m one of those people who start to believe that managing your energy is almost as important as managing your time. When my energy is high, and I am fully rested, I can make double or even triple times the amount of progress on a project than when I am sleepy and tired. Energy management is not so difficult, and it has a lot to do with knowing when and how to restore your energy and to take advantage of those times in your day when you are most energetic. It is related a lot to diet and exercise, so you can impact your energy level by doing some smart activities. For more information and ideas on energy management, check out my articles Digital Nomad Lifestyle – A Guide to Managing Your Energy and 13 Ways to Re-Energize Your Life as a Digital Nomad.
Getting things done on time – as you were building your business, if you are working as a freelancer or designer or someone who gets paid by project work, is necessary to make sure you have a reputation for getting things done on time. Keeping your project deadlines can be the key to repeat business, and further, it is just a smart way to build your business. Keep your deadlines.
You are using your calendar as your lifeline for your business – there is a trend in time management and productivity that states that you should not leave your to-do list or lists of things that must be done separately from your calendar. The thinking goes is that whenever you have something that you need to do, immediately put it in your schedule. In this way, you have already set a specific time for it and can plan other things around your focus items.
Balance – although I know life as an entrepreneur and even more so as a digital nomad entrepreneur often feels like you have no balance, is a worthy objective. When you have balance in your day, and you have the right amount of work, in which you can get things done and have a feeling of accomplishment. Also, other activities are at social or time for exercise or just time for adventure travel, your experience, and satisfaction with your life will improve when you have this balance. For a lot of people, balance is very personal. So defining the best you can and no how much you want to work and how much other activities you want to put in your life and then strive for it to happen every day. I wrote an article on balancing work and travel How to Balance Work and Travel as a Digital Nomad Entrepreneur? which will give you some great tips. Check it out.
EXTRA CONSIDERATIONS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS- TRAVELING WHILE WORKING
If you are working remotely while traveling it means that you need to be a kind of mobile road warrior who can pack up a mobile office, fly to another place, find a suitable place to work and unpack your whole office ready to work some hours after arriving.
Being a digital nomad means that unlike people who work remotely for a company with a home base, they might not have the stable technology (WLAN, electricity) and conditions (desks, tables, working space) in international locations. You have to build your skills to become good at this.
Another crucial issue is that of finding that perfect workplace for deep work. On this website, I wrote a post about finding the perfect café. It is worth considering some of those elements here because the ability to do deep work will significantly affect your ability to make progress on projects for your business. Additionally in my article The Best Workspaces (Office, Co-Working, Café) for the Digital Nomad Entrepreneur, it will give you greater insight to the options and considerations you have with workspaces.
You need to find places with the right conditions – the proper lighting, the right noise level, all the requirements that are necessary for you to be able to concentrate is vital to do deep work.
You can always change locations depending on your tastes and moods and the type of work you are doing if you have places in which to choose to do work. If the café you are working at fills up at lunchtime, and go to another site which is not as busy or which has tables that are spaced out and you can concentrate.
People think being a Digital Nomad is non-stop fun, that it is a permanent vacation, but the harsh reality is that this lifestyle choice has its advantages and disadvantages and usually they are polarized, which means that the benefits are tremendous and are offset by significant and severe disadvantages.
Being good at remote working will help you immensely if you are willing to learn how to do it well. If you are not adequately equipped to become a digital nomad, you will be found seriously wanting before you can say relocation. I wrote two articles – 9 Problems Digital Nomads Have When Working Remotely and Top 11 Remote Working Mistakes to Avoid as a Digital Nomad which will give you further information on remote working and help guide you in avoiding common mistakes and problems.
In the big picture, remote working as a digital nomad entrepreneur is not too different from remote workers who work for a company or who have a home base and are building their business. But there are some unique things about the digital nomad lifestyle which makes some of the practical things a bit more complicated. I’ve tried to outline many of those in this article.
I’m the owner of Digital Nomad Explorer. I’ve traveled to over 50 countries and been an expat in Scotland, Finland, and China. I was a digital nomad while having my own robotics company and traveled throughout Europe and China working remotely. Currently, I’m location independent with a home base in Kirkkonummi, Finland.