As a traveling writer (not to be confused with a travel writer!), the realities faced working from a laptop in the world’s premiere vacation destinations do not escape me. I wouldn’t trade my white sand beaches and palm-blanketed mountains for anything, but working in paradise does present challenges that demand some perseverance.
Of course, the largest obstacle is finding enough of an extremely scarce commodity called concentration. Everyone you meet seems determined to party around the clock – they’re on vacation; can you blame them?
If I slaved away at a 9 to 5 and got two weeks off per year, I’d party like a rock star too.
But a perpetually-traveling writer moves at a different pace. We’re out to savor the world, get to know its many flavors…not just take a bite and dash back home. And so to keep the dream alive, staying focused takes precedence over everything else.
Let’s look at a few tactics you can use, shall we?
1. Split Your Attention
While it seems to counter the goal of staying focused, splitting your work time between two separate goals can actually lead to hyper-productivity. Let me explain.
I suggest two different paths for people who want to leverage writing for financial and location independence.
Freelancing serves as the first path-offering in-demand services provides a very substantial income these days. Another option is to spend your time creating content for your own business: building websites, driving traffic with your articles, and then referring information products (for which you claim a commission upon sales).
Both paths have their place. The first creates an income now, meaning you don’t have to wait to go live your travel dreams. The other path, meanwhile, builds a long-term asset that grows over time and continues making sales even when you step away from your work.
Back to this idea of splitting your attention – let’s bring this full circle.
Basically, I suggest you tackle both business models at once. Use half of your working hours to write for clients and use half of your hours to write for your own projects.
This approach motivates you to push forward because you make money now, but instead of solely building assets for other people, you build your own as well. And as your passive income streams grow, you can then take mini-vacations not only away from your country but away from your computer!
2. Take Afternoon Sabbaticals
Work hard to get things done, sure. But you didn’t start down the traveling writer path to work your life away, right? Instead of working straight through the day, take three or four hours off somewhere in the middle (I take my free time after my first or second focused block of work).
Hey, you live in paradise, so take the time to enjoy your surroundings. And blowing off some steam makes you that much more productive when you sit back down later.
During this time, I run errands if need be, but I usually try to do something active, even though I work out in the morning. People who work on a computer all day should get some activity in twice a day.
My typical activities include heading to the local sports center, going for a motorbike ride, bowling, checking out a local attraction, and scuba diving. Anything that gets me out of my room and moving around.
3. Punishments and Rewards
Struggling to meet your productivity goals? Set checks and balances in place. By creating negative consequences and positive rewards, you tip the scales in favor of success.
Here’s an example. If you want to obligate yourself to 5 days of work every week, tell a friend you will send them $20 via PayPal for every day you miss. And if you do get all 5 days of work in, treat yourself to dinner at a fancy restaurant at the end of the week.
Set up a similar system to obligate yourself to a morning workout. Be creative – what could motivate you to stick with a new habit?
4. Preserve Days Off
In addition to daily afternoon sabbaticals, take weekends off and stay away from the computer. If you can, make these completely offline days.
Time away from work gets you centered and recharges your drive.
Note that sometimes you’ll need to split up your off-days throughout the week rather than taking a whole weekend. For instance, sometimes a mad dash to the border to update my visa upsets my schedule.
Don’t worry too much when this happens, but stick with your set number of days off every week – believe it or not, your “vacation time” will increase the amount of work done each week, much like your afternoon sabbaticals.
And again, if living in paradise, you might as well enjoy the places you visit and live in. If you move around a lot, try staying in a new town for five days at a time, checking the place out while getting work done, and use the weekends for transit.
These are just a few of the simple, yet powerful lifestyle tips traveling writers can implement to become hyper-productive no matter what type of writing business they run. If you’re really set on being a successful writer on the road, don’t them for granted – trust me, they can make or break the dream lifestyle you’re trying to create…