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Digital Nomads: 3 Tips for Holiday Health in Business and Life

Digital Nomads: 3 Tips for Holiday Health in Business and Life

The digital nomad lifestyle has exploded in recent years. Young professionals are discovering the freedom that comes with working for themselves through online businesses. This kind of work requires nothing but an internet connection. It allows digital nomads, also known as location-independent entrepreneurs, to work from anywhere—well, almost anywhere, as long as a high-speed internet connection is available.

Digital nomads have several things to think about as winter sets in. Aside from weather, you need to make sure your records are in order for the end of the year (if your fiscal year ends on December 31).

Luckily, preparing yourself (and your business) for the New Year is easier than you might think. Read on!

Take care of yourself

Winter weather can be tough, especially if you’re in a cold climate. As a location-independent entrepreneur, you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. That means preparing for winter weather.

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Option 1: Leave for a warmer location

If your current belongings don’t include winter clothes, it may be simpler (and just plain more adventurous) to head somewhere new for the winter. If you’ve been staying in a northern Russian city, why not move south to India or Nepal? You can enjoy a new location, new culture, new people—and, depending on where you go, you may not have to deal with snow and ice.

If you want to avoid the snow in a northern location, check the weather ahead of time and get a sense for when the really bad weather will hit. Give yourself plenty of time to plan your relocation.

If you’re a US-based digital nomad, avoiding snow is especially easy. You don’t have to cross any borders to reach warmer climates—just head south! If you’re living and working out of an RV, driving south is a great idea. You’ll avoid dealing with freezing temperatures in your RV, which can be difficult.

Option 2: Settle down for the winter

Though it may sound like the antithesis of the digital nomad lifestyle, many nomads find that winter is a great time to settle in and rest—whether in a cold climate or a warm one. If you’re traveling in an RV, and you plan to settle down for a while in a hotel, Airbnb, or other lodging, you MUST winterize your RV properly. If you don’t, your RV plumbing could explode when it freezes with water in it.

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If you plan to keep living out of your RV in freezing temperatures, you will need to take special precautions, such as flushing your toilet with RV antifreeze rather than water. Here are more tips on RV camping in winter from Reserve America.

Settling down is especially easy in a warm climate. You can park your RV and live out of it, or park your RV and live somewhere else—no worries about pipes bursting, and no special precautions necessary either way.

Whichever route you choose, make sure you have plenty of high-speed wifi all around you!

Take care of your business

If your fiscal year ends December 31, then it’s time to make sure you have all your records ready for tax season. There’s nothing worse than going to file your taxes and realizing that your paperwork isn’t in order. If you prepare now, you’ll be ready to go when tax season hits.

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Every digital nomad’s situation is different. You need to educate yourself on the tax laws that apply to you. You may owe taxes in more than one country. Andrew Henderson has some advice on digital nomad taxes over at Nomad Capitalist.

If you run an ecommerce business, it’s worth remembering that sales will likely plummet after Christmas. As you’re enjoying the holiday rush boosting your sales, remember that you need to budget intelligently for the lean months ahead. Your sales will probably be down for at least a month after Christmas.

Take care of friends and family

I’ll tell you a secret: this tip is actually the same as the first one! When you make time to check in on friends and family, especially for the holidays, you’ll actually be taking care of yourself, too. Remember to balance your time well.

You could even surprise friends and family with a sudden trip home for the holidays—or plan it now if they aren’t the surprise type.

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The digital nomad lifestyle is fantastic, but it does tend to isolate us. Make sure you take time to spend the holidays with friends and family, wherever and whoever they are.

The Bottom Line

The holidays can be crazy, even for digital nomads. With these three tips, though, you’ll be ready to take care of your business and yourself. Common sense is often your best guide. Now get out there and enjoy the holidays!

Featured photo credit: Photo courtesy of Steven Zwerink. Licensed under Creative Commons. via creativecommons.org

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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