I know that I am really lucky to be able to have a lifestyle where I can disappear to the sun for a month and not have to worry about holiday days or planning out my work schedule. It’s a huge benefit to running your own business online. It can be both a curse and a blessing, I admit, as you can never really switch off, but I absolutely love the life that I have created for myself and I work hard now because I don’t want to ever give up the freedom of flexibility of my working life. At the time of writing this, I just spent a month travelling in London – Johannesburg – Kruger Park – Cape Town – London. I have since been to Helsinki – Bangkok – Koh Lipe – Birmingham (with a few places in between). Each time I travel, I manage to stay on top of my client work and inbox at All Things Social and created a lot of blog content for upcoming posts.
Here are my 7 tips for working and travelling:
1. Stay Organised.
In order to have a good work-life balance when travelling, the best thing to do is to stay organised. Keep on top of everything that is going on and never just abandon a task mid-way through, without making a note of where you got to. When taken away from your usual environment – your desk, office, dining table or wherever you usually work, you can sometimes lose your trail of thought, so it’s imperative to make sure that you find a way to stay organised. Trello* is my best friend here. I stay completely and utterly organised with client work and editorial calendars, as well as up-to-date with my team. We have a place for everything. We can communicate easily on both desktop and the mobile app and I am just a massive fan.
2. Stick To a To Do list.
One of the best ways to stay organised to is to write everything down. Even though I work online in a more technical world, I actually work well with a pen and paper – I find it to be the best way to empty my mind before doing anything else. I recently started Morning Pages – where you just empty your whole head onto paper first thing in the morning. I also really love my Productivity Planner and my Bullet Journal. Want a post on these things? Tell me in the comments below!
3. Be Realistic
You aren’t going to work a full week’s worth of work so don’t expect to. I am far more realistic with my To Do list than when I am at home in my office. I’m an overplanner – and always expect more of myself that I could ever achieve, which incidentally always makes me feel unproductive because I can’t possibly cross everything off. But somehow, when I travel, my expectations are lowered and I enjoy my balanced lifestyle, so I am also far more efficient and therefore productive. Maybe it’s the life that I am supposed to have?!
4. Plan Your Days
We like to take longer trips so we don’t feel like we are wasting our “holiday” time on those days when we need to bash out a few emails or tasks. I also find it useful to wake up early, get a load of emails done and then spend the afternoon wine-tasting in the sunshine (not a bad life, eh?!). I also love to take advantage of the time difference. At the time of year I visit, South Africa is two hours ahead of us, meaning that getting up at 6am and working until 10am in Cape Town, means that you are working 4-8am in the UK. That is four hours of totally uninterrupted work time, where no-one will be in my inbox. It feels like such a blessing. Then I can pop out for a run or for brunch (or both!) and jump back in with easy replies when in the car later on in the day.
5. Manage Expectations
I like to pre-warn my clients that I am travelling – firstly to make sure that they are aware that my Instagram might start getting a little more exciting, but also to reassure them that I will be available on email and still keeping an eye on social pages etc.
6. Stick to Your Word.
If you say you are working and available when you are travelling, you need make sure that you are! For me, the easiest way to deal with that is that I make it really easy for myself. I set myself a simple budget for allowing myself to have my data on when abroad. I am on Vodafone UK, which means that I can use my full phone contract for £6/day when travelling. For me, I don’t mind paying that if it means that I can get things done on long car journeys: emails, Instagrams, Trello check-ins, team chats etc – and then I also use my phone that day for ubering around and exploring, so it’s not all work!
7. Enjoy Yourself!
This is really important, I hate leaving a place thinking that I could have just been at home. This is why I like to wake up early to either get in a hike up a mountain at sunrise, or to clear my inbox so that I can go out for lunch without feeling a pull back to my laptop. It’s all about that work-life balance.
Got more questions about work life balance? Ask away below!