The digital nomad lifestyle offers many advantages, but there are also some drawbacks. Staying focused is one issue you may have when working from home. According to a January 2016 study, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with telecommuting or working remotely. This figure doesn’t include the number of workers who have left their traditional 9-to-5 jobs to pursue small-business entrepreneurship from home. With more people choosing the digital nomad lifestyle, it’s important to balance work and home while remaining focused on the job.
Here are a few ways Spera recommends setting yourself up for success.
Claim the Digital Nomad Lifestyle, Starting With Your Space
The digital nomad lifestyle is tough, especially if you’re trying to work from home while staring at a pile of dishes in the sink, or listening to your children watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the 100th time. As a work-from-home entrepreneur, it’s important to claim a space for your business. Designate an area of your home that is off limits to other members of your household where you can work uninterrupted. But take it a step further than that. Don’t just throw your desk in a corner and surround yourself with piles of paperwork and books, take the time to make it a pleasant space. You will spend countless hours occupying this space, and it will not serve you to work somewhere that is cluttered or dreary. Inspiration starts with your surroundings, so decorate your workspace in a way that is bright, comfortable and organized. And don’t forget the sunlight – try to avoid working in a space that has no windows. It’s easy to forget to take a few minutes to get out in the world and enjoy the sunshine when you work from home, so natural light is important for your well being and mood, and improves your ability to focus.
Dress For Success
While it seems as if going to work in your pajamas would be a considerable advantage to the digital nomad lifestyle, it is actually quite the opposite. Staying in your pajamas can make it harder to force yourself out of bed and into your home office. Sticking to a morning routine, which includes getting dressed, prepares your mind and body to work. It is a simple change in your routine that could make all the difference in keeping you focused, especially first thing in the morning.
Stick To A Schedule
Set a schedule for yourself, and stick to it. Clearly communicate with your clients about the hours during which you will be available for business correspondence and work. If they contact you outside of those hours, they will understand if you don’t return their call or email until business hours the next day. It’s important to also communicate your schedule with your family and friends so that they know you are unavailable to chat during certain hours of the day. It will limit the amount of interruptions that ruin your ability to focus and get work done. Living the digital nomad lifestyle means that your personal life collides with your business life. So, if you don’t mandate a rigid schedule, there is no way to prevent your work brain from taking over during personal time or vice versa.
Take A Break
This has to be non-negotiable for anyone who lives a digital nomad lifestyle. Sitting for extended periods of time is not only bad for your health, but it interferes with your ability to focus as your mind wanders the longer you are sitting. Try taking a 10-15 minute break every hour. Get up, stretch, go get a glass of water, or hop on the treadmill to walk for a bit. The activity will give you a boost of energy and, while many people are worried about interrupting their work flow, a break will actually help you stay focused.
Avoid Social Media
How many times have you sat down at your computer to complete a task and a Facebook notification pops up? Chances are it distracts your attention from your work and leads to you spending 45 minutes scrolling through a random friend’s photos. During work hours, social media is the enemy and it cannot be allowed to draw your focus away from the tasks at hand. Turn off all notifications from each of your social media platforms during your work day, and give yourself a chance to work uninterrupted.
Start each day by prioritizing your tasks. Categorize them by “Must Do,” “Should Do,” and “Could Do.” A “Must Do” is your top priority and must be finished that day, a “Should Do” might refer to something with an approaching deadline but is not due that day, and a “Could Do” refers to any leftover tasks that would be great to finish if you have extra time at the end of the day but that are not time-sensitive. Categorizing your tasks in this way will help you block time in your schedule to ensure that you set aside enough for everything that is a top priority. Without these priorities, it’s very easy to lose your focus as your mind wanders to all your unscheduled tasks while you’re trying to work on one specific project.
In addition to staying organized, these tips will help you stay on track with your workload, while also ensuring that your personal time isn’t intruded upon. Your time is valuable, so it’s important to create an environment and routine for yourself that keeps you focused and utilizes your time efficiently.
Are you ready to enter the digital nomad lifestyle? Get a head start by exploring our project management tools today.