Freedom & Discipline: The Digital Nomad Conundrum - Deepstash
Freedom & Discipline: The Digital Nomad Conundrum

Freedom & Discipline: The Digital Nomad Conundrum


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Freedom & Discipline: The Digital Nomad Conundrum

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The Digital Nomad Lifestyle

The digital nomad lifestyle is often one characterized by freedom. We have the freedom to manage our time in the way that we wish, and we have the freedom to build our lives wherever we wish.

The digital nomad lifestyle is often characterized by throwing off the time and place restrictions associated with most typical jobs until recent years.

There is no need to commute in to work to arrive at a certain hour and stay until the end of the day watching the clock run down even if there is nothing to do.


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The Allure Of Freedom

The digital nomad lifestyle is often characterized by freedom.

It offers some freedoms that are virtually impossible in traditional 9-5, location-based jobs.  No need to struggle to find decent and affordable housing within reasonable commute distance of where you want to work or be subject to the high cost of living.

However, for digital nomads, the lines between work and leisure disappear, as they tend to work hard, play hard and earn more.

This combination can lead to burnout.


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Defining A Digital Nomad

Digital nomads are people who attempt to gain freedom by travelling while working. This clearly distinguishes between them from business travellers who travel for work and tourists.

Many digital nomads work for clients or companies in a way that is very similar to other more sedentary workers. However, digital nomads are more likely to have an entrepreneurial attitude.

Digital nomads tend to think that they need to be “switched on” to work opportunities all the time.


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With Great Freedom Comes Die-Hard Discipline: Mobile Adaptability

To make a success of a digital nomad lifestyle, and not fall into this trap, digital nomads have to develop a variety of disciplines.

It takes a minimum of three days to find healthy routines again when relocating to a new place.

The most successful digital nomads have practices in place that help them to kickstart their preferred routine when they arrive at a new location, and rituals to help them delineate their new space and time.


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Discipline: Device Choice

A vast majority of digital nomads rely on two devices, a laptop and a smartphone.

But many digital nomads choose to differentiate between these devices, using their laptop for work, and their smartphone for leisure.

Most digital nomads say that they do this because their smartphone has too many social apps on it which can be a major distraction from their work.

This choice of device also helps delineate work and leisure space, much like remote workers do with a home office.


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Discipline: Co-Working

A space that is set up for work, with ergonomic chairs and power sockets in the right place, plus being surrounded by others who at least appear to be working can be essential for getting into the working headspace.

Being able to draw a line under work and walk away also helps digital nomads avoid letting work eat up too much of their leisure time.


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Discipline: Self-Imposed Deadlines

  • In the absence of line management accountability in traditional workplaces, many digital nomads become interested in self-imposed deadlines and performance tracking.
  • Digital nomads tend to do better when they choose to impose their own, self-defined deadlines.
  • When these don't make sense, they can often be replaced with performance tracking approaches.
  • When your work schedule is your own, choosing the best working hours in terms of productivity can be challenging.


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Discipline: Social Commitments

 digital nomad couples tend to have an easier time maintaining the lines between work and leisure than singles. This is because their commitment to spend time together and focus on one another makes it easier for them to allocate time as either work or leisure. They can also hold one another accountable.

The most successful digital nomads will often create social commitments, whether they be calls with loved ones, catching up on Netflix, or taking themselves out to explore the local area, to try and bring that rhythm and accountability to their life from day-one of arriving in a new place.


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Discipline: Time-Management & Process Strategies

Digital professions of digital nomads, combined with the pressure on them to manage their time and wellbeing, makes digital nomads very likely to be interested in applications and tools that help them better maintain their schedules and processes.

Almost all the digital nomads that he interviewed were significant users of applications for time management and task tracking within their work, but also for things such as monitoring habits, evaluating their sleep, meditating, and so forth.


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The Bottom Line

We choose the digital nomad lifestyle because we are looking for freedom. We want to be able to control our own lifestyle without the restrictions imposed on us by needing to be in a certain place at a certain time in order to work.

Traditional jobs often provide the structure necessary both to promote productivity, and to clearly delineate between time spent working, and time spent on leisure.

When we remove ourselves from that structure, we must rely on our own self-discipline both to be productive, and to ensure that our self-directed workload does not hinder our work-life balance.


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