Hey guys, I hope everyone’s year is going well. I can’t quite believe that we are already in April- where has the time gone?! Today I wanted to talk about a topic that I mentioned on the blog recently and that is, balancing travel with remote work.
Being a ‘digital nomad’ is something that’s fairly new to me (I only started my first fully freelance role in December of last year). Having worked either in offices or in hospitality roles before, I am loving the freedom and flexibility of life as a freelance editor. The biggest benefit is that I am able to combine work with travel, meaning that I have been able to move to Australia for a few months this year. However, all jobs come with their own set of challenges and I thought that I’d write about some of those and how I balance travel with remote work.
Firstly, I wanted to talk about my work environment. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; working from home isn’t always easy. For all of the benefits, there are plenty of drawbacks. The biggest issue I find is motivation (or lack of it at times.) At present, I am renting a room in a sharehouse in Melbourne. It’s often the case that I’ll be the only one at home and that means it can be tough to focus on work, particularly on a sunny day when all I want to do if go outside. Therefore, in order to stay motivated, I try to switch up my work environment, from my room to my living room to local cafes and libraries.
Week planning and setting a routine
With full flexibility around my work schedule, productive procrastination is all too easy. Need to answer emails? I’ll put the washing on. Need to get an article live? I’ll go to the gym. Therefore, planning my week and trying to stick to a routine is incredibly important. I aim to set an alarm for the same time every day and schedule exercise in and activities with friends so I have a balanced week.
Dealing with time difference: late-night meetings, scheduling posts and emails
Another drawback of working freelance in another country is the time difference. Australia is 11 hours ahead of the UK and while I can generally work whenever sometimes I need to be on UK time to have meetings and answer urgent emails. Therefore, I have had to get used to having meetings at midnight and shifting my work schedule to the evening- it’s not an easy task for a morning person. When I know I’m going to have to have a late-night, I try to leave my laptop alone during the day and do something fun (otherwise it feels like I am working all the time!) I’ve also found that scheduling emails and articles on WordPress is incredibly useful because no one wants to be receiving a message from you at 3 in the morning their time.
As I mentioned previously, staying motivated can be tough. Here are a few ways I keep focused when remote working.
–Working in one-hour blocks.
-Staying hydrated and avoiding too much caffeine/ alcohol (or trying to!)
–Taking myself out for a walk and making the most of days with nice weather
-I try to really get the most out of my days off with plenty of relaxing/ socializing.
-Keeping active every day
Allowing myself to go to events that I want to
One of the biggest benefits of being freelance is flexibility. When I used to work in hospitality, I would miss so many events because I couldn’t get the time off. So, if there’s an event coming up these days I make sure to go (and adjust my work schedule accordingly.) This way, when I’m finding working from home hard, it’s easy to think about all of the benefits that it gives me instead.
Lastly, freelance roles tend to pay less or have fewer hours available and mine is no exception. Money is a little tight, particularly as I am on a UK wage while living in Australia (a country that is notoriously expensive unless you’re earning here- the wages in OZ are fantastic.) Therefore, I have to be a little bit more careful with my money. Some of my tips are:
–Slow travel: moving around to a new destination every few days is exciting but so expensive. If you have the time, spend longer in a place (perhaps a month or so.) That way you can save money on hotels/ hostels by subletting a place and cooking your own food. Slow travel is also so much more fun as you get way more of a feel for a place.
–Skip public transport: Depending on where you are staying, do your best to walk! Walking or cycling pretty much everywhere has saved me loads of money in Melbourne and it’s good to keep active as I am sitting down for work anyway.
–Buy everything second hand: When moving around, it can be really frustrating as you continually have to purchase essential items that you can’t take with you. These range from things like bedsheets, bedside lamps and cooking equipment to bigger items like bed bases and desks. Therefore, do your bit for the planet and wallet and get as much off this second hand. Facebook Marketplace and charity shops are the best places to look. Depending on how big your network is, you could even just ask around; most people have items they are desperate to offload!
Getting to earn an income while I travel is something that I am grateful for every day. For all of the drawbacks that the pandemic gave us, increasing flexibility with work is a change that I think many of us are grateful for. Are you a freelancer or someone who hopes to transition to remote work? Share your thoughts in the comments.