They’re part myth, part truth and all intrigue, the so-called digital nomads. These are the brave souls who’ve decided enough is enough as far as societal conventions go, respectfully declining the position and path society has laid out for them and living out a life of earning their living while on the go. As someone who naturally seeks to explore as many corners of this world as I possibly can (and get a taste for the local beer, of course), I had the rather eye-opening experience of having a digital nomad tag along on one of my trips.
She wasn’t with us for too long, but I can honestly say that I got a proper look into what the life of a digital nomad is all about. I’ll tell you right away, it’s not the picture-perfect life that it’s made out to be by a lot of pretenders to the digital nomad lifestyle who want nothing more than to sell you some programme, seminar, course, etc. Lots of serious hard work goes on behind the scenes and if one simply isn’t disciplined, they’ll very quickly fall into that category of failed digital nomads who ultimately give the very idea of this revolutionary movement a bad name.
Stability in Chaos
Because she’s affiliated with a specific brand, our digital nomad friend shall remain nameless for now, but she really manages to make this digital nomad life work by being able to find some form of stability in what can be a seriously chaotic life. Between delayed flights, missed flights and long airport layovers, her laptop seems to always be on and she somehow finds a way to get some work done.
From what I gathered the best environment to work in is that of having arrived at your place of accommodation, settled in and then either working from your hotel room or making an ideally short commute to something like a co-working space where other digital nomads can motivate you by merely going about their own work. It’s a serious challenge getting work done while on the move, whether you’re on a long flight or if you’re simply grabbing a bite to eat on the way back to your hotel.
Focus on the Money and Not on the Deadlines
So our digital nomad friend shared with us her secret to success, which she said is to focus on the outcomes of the project (spelt “money”) instead of looking at it as a deadline. That way, she can quantify just how much work she needs to get through by a certain time as that relates directly to some of the elements which will sustain her chosen digital nomadic life, such as being able to pay for a few more weeks to stay in a warmer southeast Asian location and have enough money to eat well too.
So from an outsider’s point of view, I’d say that it’s all about self-discipline. All you need to do is finish what needs to be done and then after that go out and play as hard as you’ve been working!