With the power and innovation of the internet, many people are taking the opportunity to work in more scenic and cultural unique locations. Whether it’s through self-employed or a very understanding company, many people are advancing in their chosen career while also living in a new country.
In fact, working abroad is becoming increasingly popular with today’s younger generations. Of course, this presents a whole new series of challenges. Not least of all is the task of separating your holiday and work mind-sets. When there are beaches to enjoy, culture to soak up and an entire country to explore, it can be difficult to stick to your professional duties.
Yet you should always remember that it is your work that supports your ability to enjoy your travels, not the other way around. Maintaining my productivity has been a vital part of my ability to travel frequently. I can see places I want to explore, yet my clients know I still deliver the best results regardless of my location. Here are 5 of the best ways I know to stay professional and productive while abroad.
Travel At a Slower Pace
When you’re on a work-free holiday, it’s easy to explore the stunning area as quickly as possible, regardless of how much time you will actually have to spend moving around. However, you will quickly find this isn’t useful when you need to work. When you’re constantly packing, unpacking and finding somewhere to stay, there’s little time to sit down and focus on work – even after you find a new wifi-spot.
A slower travelling pace is more ideal, as you can get into your stride. I’ve found staying in one place for at least for 4 or 5 days at the minimum. This gives me the chance to get into a regular working habit before I need to move again.
You should also remember that embracing a new culture requires time to acclimatise and adapt. A slower travel pace gives you more time to do this without interrupting your workflow.
This was the most useful when I journeyed between Turkey and the United Kingdom on a regular basis. I would spend months at a time in Turkey, with small periods in the UK. It was these transitional periods, however, that vastly disrupted my productivity.
As an added bonus, travelling at a slower rate means you don’t run out of new places very easily. Even if big countries such as Turkey, constantly moving means you can explore entire regions quicker than you might imagine.
Always Know Your Internet Options
As nice as it might sound to enjoy the natural views in a rural village, have you considered the availability of internet access? Wherever you go, you should always make this a priority. How else can you get any work done?
Take a lesson from one of my mistakes. When I first explored Turkey, I would venture to quieter, rural areas, only to find little to no internet connections at all. Not everywhere has coffee shops or wi-fi hotspots like the big cities do!
I always recommend doing your research first. Don’t just count on your hotel or local residence, as there may be limits or costs to this usage. If you want to have the safest, most reliable option, sign up for a mobile data plan so you can connect to the internet anywhere you can get a signal.
Find and Use Coworking Spaces
Sometimes, even when abroad, a professional environment can really drive you to get the work done. If you’re in a big city, it’s likely you can find some coworking space available. These offer a great space to get some work done, while also meeting like-minded professionals (and the occasional nomad, like yourself).
Other than helping you maintain a professional mind-set, working alongside others allows you to bounce ideas or even do a little networking. These spaces are typically friendly to all walks of life, so you can experience an interesting blend of fellow foreigners and local freelancers.
Get Into a Morning Habit
Professional workers get up in the morning, holiday makers do not. When you’re travelling abroad, remember that you are in the former category. While it may feel like a vacation, you also need to earn your keep. Wherever you are, do what the locals do in the morning and prepare as if you had to be in the office by 8.00 am sharp.
This includes taking time to exercise and eat breakfast before you sit down with your laptop. I find this greatly improves productivity and, come lunchtime, I’ve usually got a lot of my work done. This way, I can explore and have fun in the afternoons, knowing I don’t need to stop and get back to work.
As an added benefit, this gives me plenty of time away from work and discover some new inspiration. Personally, I’ve found an afternoon stroll through the local streets gives me plenty of new and creative ideas for Muslim dresses, but this wouldn’t happen if my mind was still preoccupied with an unfinished assignment.
Find the Right Friends
Travelling abroad is an excellent way to befriend unique and interesting individuals, but you still need to choose your friends wisely. You may find fellow travellers but not all of them will also be working, like you. As such, you need to be able to turn down their offers for mid-week parties and weekend adventures.
While there is nothing wrong with this company, it’s better to find people who work and travel as well. I’ve always found these people to be more understanding of your own needs, encouraging your productivity rather than infringing on it. These people always understand your situation and are a great way to swap ideas, skills and networking opportunities. If that’s not enough, they can also help you enjoy your free time, since they also won’t be looking to stay up until 4.00 am.
Ultimately, working away from home gives you a unique and fantastic opportunity to explore the world without the restrictions of the typical 9 to 5. Yet your ability to work is your means to keep on travelling and living abroad, so don’t throw this chance away due to a lack of productivity. These tips may not be the easiest to adopt, but they will become a worthwhile habit in no time.