The Plight of The Digital Nomad

Steve Phillips - Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Content provided by Steve Phillips of UrbanShield

The Plight of The Digital Nomad

Working alone, without the stress of office politics, that boss that needs to be taken for a long walk down a dark alley, the incessant need to attend meeting after meeting, or the time-sucking requests from colleagues, seems like it would produce unparalleled productivity. Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. Working from home has undeniable appeal to most people, but it can also have some serious drawbacks.
People who work alone at home can put themselves at risk for depression and anxiety. The very nature of the work is a perfect prelude for “creating crazy”. We work insane hours, our brains never turn off, and we tend to neglect basic necessities. (It's 10 p.m. and I haven't eaten dinner. Or showered, um yeah… I should probably do that).
As long as you can make yourself aware of the risks of working alone, here are some ideas to help you along the way:

Plan and Keep to a Structured Day

When I first started building businesses from home, I would always plan my day the evening before, and with great satisfaction kick-start my day, with the execution of the “Stuff I Gotta Do List”. I soon realised that what I hadn’t taken into account was the efficiency gains by planning when I was most productive, and what tasks I should slot into those periods. A good read for those of you that are interested in a “less hours, more productive business strategy’, is The 4 Hour Work Week by educational activist and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss.

Avoid Distractions

One challenge of working from home is accountability. With no colleagues or partners nearby, it’s easy to become distracted. Stay focused on work throughout the day to maintain consistent productivity. Avoid online distractions as well. Limit the time spent on email, social media and websites unrelated to work. Chris Mudge from HBBN said something to me recently that made a lot of sense. His email/texts or voicemail messages only get checked at a certain time each day, and he has artfully retrained his colleagues and friends not to expect instant responses from the various communication channels. Bev Barnfather from The Ladybird Group also passed comment at a catch up this morning, that her email is set on all her devices to download or notify her, only once per hour. Smart thinking? I think so.

Take Regular Breaks

Schedule time for frequent breaks throughout the day. Rise from your desk, stretch or walk around the house or down to the local shops. Take a lunch break or go out to lunch with friends or clients. A major advantage to working from home is having flexibility. If fitness is important to you, a quick trip to the gym can reinvigorate you and make for a productive afternoon.

Dress to Impress

With the ease at which we blur boundaries between home and work, it is enticing it is to stay in pyjamas all day, however this is not necessarily the best work habit! The way you dress affects you psychologically, and dressing into smart work clothes to shift into work mode can make you feel more confident will help you transition smoothly between home and office - even if they’re in the same place.

Designated Work Space

Much to my wife’s annoyance, when we re-modelled our downstairs living area, I shifted a wall and created a large, separate office, and added a door! This was the best decision I ever made. I surround myself with things that inspire me and make me feel comfortable, including a wall of books pictures and plants. Make your workspace a place you enjoy going to each day, an area where you can focus and do your best work.

“Whether you think you can, or can’t – you’re right" Henry Ford 


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