Ok, so I know you all have been dying to know how my experiment with the nomadic lifestyle went. Here’s Part One.
Spoiler alert; I still am gainfully employed and no I did not accidentally ‘miss my flight’. Trading the cubicle for a corner in a café or airplane tray table wasn’t all fun, but worth it! Some of the challenges were in fact not challenges at all, and other surprising things creeped in. If you are thinking about becoming a digital nomad, keep reading about my workcation experiment!
In between timezones: problematic or productive
As mentioned in part one of the digital nomad series, my workcation required availability during business hours. A five-hour time difference meant not beginning the work day until 2pm. As an early bird and productivity-hack nerd, I did fear that the working hours would become problematic.
The results contradicted the hypothesis on this one… with a small twist. My most lucrative hours for creativity are still between 6am and 10am. While those technically weren’t working hours, I did take an uninterrupted hour each morning to accomplish the most important task. The key is to logout of email, choose the task the night before, and just do it! I even had time for yoga classes mid-morning, but more about that later.
Communication digital nomad style
Another unexpected benefit is communication efficiency. Have you ever fallen victim to the meeting that could have been an email syndrome? The last thing I wanted to do was sit on a call for 3 hours over afternoon tea. As a user experience designer, I put my visual skills to the test. Using a program called Invision, I created mock-ups that could be shared with colleagues. This allowed for digital collaboration, which can happen regardless of what timezone you are in.
That being said, I did have to sit through a few painful meetings. The 2,000 miles between myself and a conference room helped me to realize how much time is spent meeting instead of getting sh*t done. The low point of my workcation involved an hour and a half staff meeting. The agenda consisted of each team member reading our project status off of an intranet site. I was fortunate to have a cocktail in hand for this one. I’m hopeful I will achieve the Tim Harris level of productivity and my days in senseless meetings are numbered.
The trials and tribulations of eating on the road
The struggle is real when it comes to eating. Having recently wrapped up a Whole 30 challenge, I hoped to transform what I learned into positive eating habits while abroad. My intentions were good, I even started off strong. Unfortunately after a long night at the pub, a kebab and chips was calling my name all the way from Clapham Common.
The truth is I love to eat. Trying foods that I normally would not be exposed to at home is one of the best ways to experience the local culture. As I learned in weight watchers, they key is not to let a slip turn into a slide.
Healthy habits adopted while abroad
What did I do right? Simply put, I drank plenty of water and fit in 5 servings of veggies each day. Frequent trips to the local supermarket allowed us to enjoy fresh oranges and plenty of salads in Tenerife.
One of the benefits to traveling is the built in exercise involved in walking tours. Anyone who knows me well understands my crush on Rick Steves. If you find yourself in Europe this summer, be sure to download his app and explore all the walking tours he offers.
Lastly, I find exercise is best done in groups. With the help of fellow travel nut and yogi Eileen, I did make it a point to practice yoga a few times during the trip. This comes in especially handy the morning after you binge on tapas and sangria.
Lurking temptations of the nomadic lifestyle
Last, and most certainly not least, did I actually work during my workcation? ABSOLUTELY. What I found is that all the temptation turned into motivation. When it was time to work, I developed laser focus and completed tasks in a fraction of the time. All of the historic architecture, breathtaking natural wonders, and delicious food served as a reward for all of the hard work.
Lesson learned, the nomadic lifestyle can work, you just have to put your mind to it! Have you ever considered working remotely?