Through images and content shared on social media, journalists – and the digital nomad community itself – frequently present an exclusively glamorous side to the nomadic lifestyle. No, we are not always working from the beach (I actually find it pretty difficult to handle the sun and sand on my laptop) and we are not only working four hours a week. In reality, I’m working much harder now that I used to in my corporate job. It’s just that now I have more freedom to work from anywhere and, hopefully, mostly on projects I actually like. But what does a day in the life of a digital nomad look like?
I guess there are as many answers as nomads, but here’s mine.
Get up, stand up…
Regardless of the place I find myself in when I open my eyes in the morning, I try and maintain my morning rituals. It could be a cliché, but it’s one that works for me. Even if I don’t get the chance to cover the whole list, I make sure to cover a few of the following:
- Exercise – when I had a full-time job I struggled to make time to go to the gym. Now I am mostly using the Seven app, which gets me moving as soon as I’ve brushed my teeth.
- Breakfast – without a healthy breakfast I can’t even start thinking of the day I have in front of me. It’s a habit I developed when I was a kid and I’ll probably keep it for the rest of my life.
- Meditation – 10-15 minutes of meditation make me feel more balanced.
- Morning walk – the best morning walks are on the beach. I love when I am in a place that has a beach just a few minutes away. When that happens, I meditate on the beach too.
- Success Journal – something similar to the Five-minute Journal but self-made on a notebook I bought when I was in Rio.
Once it looks like I have everything figured out, reality strikes. Did you know that making your own schedule is not as simple as it seems? Sometimes, I wish I had someone to prioritize tasks for me.
I love organized things and lists that make me focus on the important tasks, rather than thinking about what I need to do next. That’s why every daily list I’ve made over the past few years has had more than 10-15 bullet points and 12-14 hours of work.
After undergoing a small meltdown, I am now striving to make smaller lists and only focus on the most important task (MIT) in the morning. Once I’ve covered the most important part of my responsibilities, it gives me the confidence to complete the rest.
In the past, the first section of the day was assigned to completing clients’ work. Now I mostly take care of developing social media strategies for The smmile clients, while my team takes care of managing accounts and creating copy. I’ll need to learn to delegate better: as my businesses grow, new tasks appear weekly and I need to wear more hats than in the past.
Food for Thought
Although I’m not a self-confessed food lover, I take my meals very seriously. If my body could function without food, I would probably stop eating for good. But since this is an important fuel for my body, I always take a lunch break, sit at a table (I hate eating while standing) and enjoy my dedicated food time. No, I don’t read emails or check my social media accounts while eating. I take care of others so much, that I consider I deserve some “me time”.
Sometimes, I have lunch over a business meeting, but only when I am sure I enjoy the other person’s company. My food doesn’t go well with anger or stress. I’d much rather have it served with a side of peace and quiet.
Face the fears
If I have a stressless day (which, unfortunately, happens so rarely), I take some time to enjoy the place – regardless of where I am. Lately I have been traveling with my boyfriend, so we take advantage of this time and explore places together.
Usually, I’ll go back to work. This is also the time to check emails, talk to my team and take care of the next days most important tasks. This is generally the time I use to create a new blog article or interview people for the OFFice To Travel blog.
Food for the soul
This is probably my favourite part of the day. When I have the feeling I’ve already accomplished something, I can socialize and/or learn. If I am in my hometown, Bucharest, I may have a meetup with the community I am trying to grow – Digital Nomads in Romania or meet up with a friend, or a potential collaborator. If I am in a new place, that is the time to explore, meet locals or have a beer with other digital nomads.
However, if I don’t feel like going out, I take care of my professional and personal development through books and documentaries.
Get ready for a better tomorrow
I used to like working in the middle of the night – it’s quiet, no urgent emails, and nobody is there to restrain my inspiration. However, lately I have been working on getting up earlier, because it’s a hustle to fit my morning rituals into 20 minutes, while the phone rings and clients wait for my email replies.
So before checking out for the day, I prepare my list for the next day. After writing down all the important details, I take my Success Journal and think about what worked well for me today and what I could’ve done to make my day even better.