How Frequent Travel Can Make You More Productive (at Work and in Life)


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I love sharing with people about what its like to travel frequently. I am usually away from my home in the United States for at least a third of the year, sometimes much more.

Sometimes when I tell people about my lifestyle, they look at me like I’m off having this 365-day-a-year vacation. It’s simply not true! It’s just that I (and a growing number of other people) have been able to integrate paid work seamlessly into my life alongside travel.

Consider this: the number of remote workers around the world is increasing each year. Many more people are taking advantage of “unlimited travel” policies at their jobs too. Are all of these people just slacking off? Absolutely not. Can you actually be productive and do meaningful work while traveling? Absolutely. In fact, I would argue that frequent travel can make you much more productive in many ways.

If you’re thinking of traveling more but worrying you won’t be able to get any work done, or you’re wanting to travel but not give up other passions of yours, here is some reassurance that travel can make you oh-so-much-more productive, focused, and motivated.

You Don’t Have Any Time to Lose When Traveling and Working

In the time that I’ve been traveling and working remotely, it has been crucial to optimize my time both on and off the job. I continue to have a full-time career as a freelance writer, and run a blog, and write music, and do a number of other things while also traveling a significant portion of the year. And rather than being a hindrance, in many ways, travel has actually been helpful.

One reason is that, when you’re traveling, you’ve got no time to lose! When you’re at an amazing new location, and you only have, say, 3 days there to explore, you want to make the most of that time as possible. Trust that if you have a work project due during that time, you’re not going to sit there for 4 hours procrastinating or deliberating the best way to get something done. You’re going to sit down with a plan for how to accomplish your work as quickly as possible. You develop a laser focus on what needs to be done.

Personally, when I’m traveling, I don’t sit down to work unless I know exactly what I would do with that time. That may mean that I mull over work problems while I’m out sightseeing, and then I come back to my workspace with a solution so that I can sit down and get the job done. Every moment is precious, so I don’t work unless I know I’ll be super productive and have clear actions to take.

You Learn to Optimize Everything

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Traveling takes up a big chunk of your time, and so does work, and everything else in life. So when you’re traveling a lot and also juggling the other things in life, you end up making each part as efficient as it can be. You start to optimize your workflow by figuring out the best system for accomplishing things quickly. You optimize your travel routes so that you waste less time on logistics and more time sightseeing. You learn to overlap work and travel by working on buses, on the plane, in the airport. You systemize and automate all parts of your life so that you spend less time on logistics and more on the fun stuff!

Side note: I’ve learned to love working on planes. If you’ve got an 8 hour or longer flight, instead of just sitting there watching movies and playing Sudoku, you can easily knock out a full day of work. When you get to your destination, you can focus more on enjoying the sights rather than trying to squeeze work in.

You Cut As Many Hours Off of Your Job As Possible

One of the biggest things I’ve learned from traveling and working at the same time is that it doesn’t actually take 40 hours per week to do my job. The difference is night and day compared to when I worked full time at an office. Much of the standard workday is spent chatting, planning, procrastinating, and generally doing things other than producing valuable results. But when you are working by yourself and you’re the only person holding yourself accountable for your workday, that all changes. Notably, I’ve found that if you’re not expected to spend 40 hours per week with your butt in a desk chair, you’re motivated to get your work done much faster. Especially if the reward is more time spent sightseeing.

You can still accomplish the same work by the end of the week, but you’re able to cut out all of the fluff time. If you could sit down to work only when you were ready to be productive, would you need 40 hours to do your work? Maybe not. What could you do with that extra time?

You could spend that time traveling. If your “office” for the day were, say, a coffee shop in Paris, instead of doing work interspersed with chatting with a coworker or checking Facebook or making another cup of tea, you could power through your work and then use the rest of your day to go see the Eiffel tower. Wouldn’t that motivate you to get your work done faster?

What You Learn By Traveling and Working Makes You Permanently More Efficient

Travel is a motivator for figuring out how to work faster and optimize how you spend your time. But what happens when you get back home? You will have learned how to optimize your life and accomplish things more quickly, and why would you want to go back? This is the permanent benefit of spending time traveling and working at the same time: you learn what you can accomplish in an hour if you’re motivated to do it.

Who Wrote This?

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I’m Renee Hyde and I’ve been a digital nomad freelance writer since 2012. So far I’ve visited 60+ countries and counting! On this blog I share tips about dreamy travel destinations, travel hacks, ways to work remotely and travel, and advice for living your best nomadic life!

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