Consider These Four Hurdles Before You Quit Your Job for the Digital Nomad Life
We all dream of working from home and setting our own schedules. Or better yet, living as a Digital Nomad. It sounds like a fantasy: you spend your time working from your laptop at a fancy European café, and you send projects to clients from your phone while you’re on the train, headed to your next exotic destination.
But it’s not a fantasy. As a matter of fact, the Digital Nomad Life is as real as the office chair you’re sitting on.
As you sit there reading this article though, imagining how much easier life would be if you could work remotely, I’m here to tell you that it’s not as easy or as glamorous as it may seem.
I’m not a Digital Nomad in the nomadic sense of the term, but I’ve been working remotely, from home, since 2012. Yes, sometimes even from a fancy European café. And while I continue to swear up and down that I’ll never go back to a desk job, there actually are some perks to the 9-5.
So in case you feel like you’ve drawn the short straw, working for Desk Job America, Inc., consider these built-in advantages of your 9-5 before you quit your job for the Digital Nomad Life.
Some Advantages of a 9-5 Job:
There’s usually an existing action plan for each project; you know what to do, and when to do it.
You have set working hours every day, and are required by law to take breaks.
If you’re still in the middle of a project or task when your shift ends, you save your progress, and the work gets left at the office until tomorrow’s shift begins. In other words, there’s a very clear line separating your work from home life.
You’re not alone. It’s weird for me to write this because I prefer very much to work independently, but I do sometimes miss casual office banter. (While staying on task, of course!)
See? Things aren’t so bad for you, after all. [wink, wink]
Now let’s look at a remote-worker’s situation in comparison.
Some Challenges of Working from Home:
You must be able to prioritize and handle many projects and tasks, sometimes from more than one client at a time. If you’re not a time-management whiz, remote work isn’t for you.
You set your own hours, but they may change day-to-day depending on what else is going on in your life, and because your clients are probably in a completely different time-zone. You will forget to eat.
You’re not working in shifts. Even if you’re working on a block schedule (which I recommend), and have assigned specific chunks of time for each project, it is difficult to respect your own boundaries. You’re already working from home, so the separation between work and home life is hard to define. Your family and social life may suffer if you’re not intentional about defining your schedule.
You’re quite alone. There are work hubs and shared office spaces available for a price, if you need to work “with” people. But if you’re like me, and prefer to work at home, independently and without distraction, it will get lonely. (Insider Tip: Get yourself a couple of cats or dogs to keep you company.)
If you’re not prepared for the challenges of working remotely, the challenges will turn into great big hurdles.
But don’t lose hope. It is possible to have a remote job, or to work from home, or to become a full-fledged Digital Nomad, without losing your mind and isolating yourself from the rest of humanity.
In my next post I’m going to share some of my favorite productivity hacks to keep me on task with clearly-set boundaries, and I’ll show you how to create a comfortable work-and-life balance for yourself and your family.