03 Feb How to Freelance While Traveling
People think it’s glamorous and easy. It isn’t. Freelancing is difficult enough to begin with and traveling while you do it makes it all the more problematic. It can be challenging to juggle projects and deadlines, changing scenery and schedules, and most of all to remain calm during what can feel like a high-powered storm. Here are my favorite tips and tricks to keep you sane and successful.
Decipher your work style
Keeping a routine is obviously easier when you’re at home. We naturally fall into a pattern that works for us because we have more control – we know our surroundings and what to expect from a typical day; we know if we tend to prefer morning hours or late nights and what types of interruptions generally befall us.
While different people work better in different environments and at different times of day, all of that can be turned on its head when you’re out on the road. First things first – figure out when and where you work best. You can’t make a plan without having clarity on the times of day and types of environments that foster productivity for you.
Make a schedule
Next, make a schedule. Travel is unpredictable and that can make this step complicated, but if you have a sense of your best work conditions you can consciously try to cultivate them. Do you work best in the morning? Try to reserve that time to chip away at projects before you hit the road. More of a night owl? Try to get off the road by a certain hour so you can be set up to work. Do you like to work in the middle of the day? Try to break up travel plans so you can have some quiet time to accomplish your tasks.
There’s nothing worse than sitting down to work and not knowing where to start; it can cause stress and stall productivity. Worse, how terrible is it to realize that you’ve missed a deadline or haven’t completed an important assignment? Both of these scenarios can be prevented by utilizing good organization skills. Things like prioritizing clients/projects, utilizing checklists, deadline reminders, and the use of a detailed calendar can make a big difference. I really like to use a traditional planner and write out my lists by hand. However, when it comes to digital reminders I’m a huge fan! They help me stay on track even when the world is flying by my window.
Use productivity apps
So, apart from a digital calendar (I use google to send me deadline reminders), I recommend finding productivity apps that help you stay on track and accomplish your work more efficiently and easily. Depending on your profession, different apps can help you stay on track. Some of my personal faves include Toggl, Hootsuite, IFTTT and Evernote. Toggl is an app designed to gauge the amount of time spent on different projects and for different clients. Hootsuite is a scheduler used to create posts in advance and plan the date and time of their release over a variety of social networks. IFTTT creates helpful automated formulas to send notifications, repost material and a host of other activities. Evernote collects article URLs and notes while researching. I also killed my Facebook Newsfeed because it was too distracting.
The apps that work for me may not be the ones that work for you – it really depends on what you do and what you need. None of these apps have sponsored my recommendation; they’re just the ones that I use.
The more slowly we travel, the more time we can spend completing our work. If you stop along the way, taking time to work on and complete projects before moving on, you’ll experience less stress and complete more work.
This is one of those great lessons I’m only beginning to comprehend. When I hit the road I want to go pedal to the metal, but then suddenly I find myself stressing and wondering where the time has gone and how I’ve fallen behind. The solution is pretty simple though. When I travel more slowly, I can set aside ample time to nurture healthy work habits that keep me efficient and happy… not to mention I have more time to savor the place I’m in.
Separate work time from me time
As a freelancer, it’s easy to fall into the workaholic routine – we are the boss of our own business and so, we want to do our best. But problems arise because any time can be justifiable work time and the line between your personal activities and obligations can blur, causing anxiety and a withdrawing from the things that make you happy. By separating the two, defining time for work and time for play, you’ll find increased productivity and focus while working and increased joy over all. Take time to de-stress, to set work aside, to really be present and do whatever makes you happy.