I often get asked, how is it that you travel so much?
Do you even work?
To which I often reply: sometimes… 😉
The truth is I work 70-80 hours a week and am a self-proclaimed workaholic.
So I thought it would be interesting to write a post on how I meticulously set up my personal and business schedule to accommodate both travel and work — because to me there’s nothing greater than being able to work and travel simultaneously. While the concept of “workcation” may seem like a pipedream to many, here are 5 ways I learned to work 70-80 hours a week and travel extensively.
Build A Career That Allows You To Work Remotely
As a starting point, to work remotely and set your own schedule you’ll need to have ultimate flexibility in your work life. When I first started my career as an internet marketer I worked a 9-5 job for a full year before I considered launching my own agency. I quickly learned that working 8 hours in the office consisted of a slew of unnecessary meetings, tons of coffee breaks and extended lunches.
Our best estimates — and these are pretty educated — are there are 11 million formal meetings every day in the United States. That tallies up to about four billion a year. Over half of the people surveyed say about half the meetings they attend are unproductive. – Nancy Koehn (Harvard Business School)
Launching an agency — while scary at first — gave me the opportunity to set my own hours, minimize workplace distractions and work remotely. While this worked out well for me, I understand it may not be the ideal situation for many others. Working for yourself comes with a lot of added stress. You are ultimately responsible for maintaining a healthy client roster and putting food on your own table. Some strive in that environment while others prefer to be less uncertain with their job security.
For those of you not ready to make the leap, a lot of companies allow their employees to work from home as long as they clock in and out at certain hours. While not ideal, this technically qualifies as working remotely.
Here are some careers to consider if you want to work remotely:
- Internet Marketing
- Web Design
- Web Based Entrepreneurship
Stick To A Strict Schedule
Traveling and constantly being on the go requires a certain level of discipline and sacrifice. Adding work to the equation only makes it more vital to be very meticulous in how you carry out your day to day. I found out very early on that working through holidays and 7 days a week is how I like to get things done. I am pretty OCD about inbox-management and always respond to emails and messages ASAP.
Things to Keep In Mind When Traveling:
- Focus on time zones & try not to stray outside of your time zone too often. Save international trips for slow work seasons and travel domestically (or within a reasonable time zone) during busier work months.
- Be present and treat your computer or workstation as if it were your desk or couch at home. Don’t skimp on work because you are in a different locale, you should put in just as many hours as you would if you were at home.
- If you’re traveling abroad and your time zone is warped make sure you are most productive during the hours of your personal time zone – even if that means staying up late or getting up early.
Choose A Workspace Wisely & Do Your Research
Choosing the right workplace is one of the most important things to consider when traveling. Minimizing distractions can be the difference between having a productive day or failing miserably, trust me – I know. Years ago I decided it would be a great idea to spend a week in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I did little to no research and headed off to NOLA with laptop in hand. Not only did the hotel have horrible internet – it was situated right next to one of the busiest parade routes. Getting work done in the lobby was virtually impossible. Luckily, I combed the city and found a local coffee shop off the main thoroughfare – but I definitely lost some hours of productivity and added some gray hairs to my head.
That experience allowed me to define certain boundaries and create the ideal workplace. Now when I travel I do extensive research on the status of the internet connection and surrounding areas.
The best way to increase productivity while saving time & money is to make friends in different cities so that you can be confident in the comfort and reliability of your workplace. It also saves you a lot of dough if stay with them 😉 . Whatever your strategy your goal should be to minimize distractions.
Good morning, Seattle! pic.twitter.com/WZm2iiD9CL
— DHAVAL (@DhavaliLama) June 4, 2015
Make Sure Your Clients & Colleagues Use Online Collaboration Tools
Before considering any travel, whether short or extended, make sure your clients have the ability to access key files or information without your assistance. In an ideal situation your client or colleague shouldn’t even feel or know that you are traveling. Making your travel and work life as seamless as possible should be your goal.
Here are some tools I find particularly useful while traveling:
- Trello : Great for project management and file sharing. It’s a great tool for process oriented projects.
- Google Docs: By far the most extensively used product for project management and file sharing. It integrates with many other apps as well.
- Skype: The best way to communicate with clients and colleagues without paying exorbitant telephone fees.
Learn To Say NO
Workcation > Vacation
If you want to maximize your time on the road you have to learn to say NO. Foregoing short term enjoyment in exchange for long-term freedom requires discipline. Realizing that you can’t enjoy every activity and indulge in every new experience while on your trip will allow you take many more trips. If you are into partying and taking in the night life of a new city it’s also important to party smart: Save the late nights for the weekend and treat your travel weekdays like your weeknights at home.
Learning to say no also applies to minimizing frivolous costs. When I travel I keep my budget lean — I don’t spend money on gifts or souvenirs because a penny saved is a penny earned and can be used for future travel.
Traveling smart and having a schedule can be a gateway to immense personal freedom. Here are just a few tips I have learned over the last couple of years.
If you have any others please share in the comments below.