Updated: Apr 19, 2022
In the past year, remote work has become very common. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans now works from home. This has allowed many employees to transition away from the typical 9-to-5 office workday to a more flexible schedule and a better work/life balance. And, in some cases, workers are going all in to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle.
I started working for myself in 2020 as a freelance digital marketer, which gave me the freedom and flexibility to work whenever and wherever I want. As somebody who can truly work from anywhere, here’s what it’s like for me.
A traveler’s dream come true
I’ve always loved traveling, but with a full-time, 9-to-5 office job, I could only spend a long weekend or a few PTO days visiting new cities. I would try to pack three months’ worth of sightseeing and local activities into three days, which just left me stressed out and longing to go back for more.
Now that I work remotely, I’m spending months in major cities across the U.S. so that I can truly immerse myself in the culture and experience as much as possible. Thanks to Landing, I can easily hop from furnished apartment to furnished apartment.
At this pace, it allows me to take my time exploring and not feel pressured to see and do everything in just a matter of days. If I want to just work from the couch or have a lazy night in, I can. The city will still be there tomorrow!
The benefit of living and working in a city means there are endless coffee shops, libraries, and coworking spaces to work from. Every day brings a new opportunity for a new “office” space.
As a digital nomad—and especially as a freelancer—it can be difficult to stay focused on work during the day, especially when there’s a fun, thriving city just outside.
I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck while I sit in the company’s cubicle. Instead, I’m the one responsible for the number of hours I put into work each day, and I decide when to start, take a break, and stop.
It sounds great, doesn’t it? Most of the time, it is!
But then there are days when I decide to go grocery shopping in the early afternoon because, well, I can. And then I end up making dinner from scratch, which takes a couple of hours. After working so hard on my dinner, I take my time to appreciate it while I watch a few episodes of “Beat Bobby Flay.” And then the projects I had planned for that afternoon get pushed back to that evening, and I end up working until 10 p.m. to get everything done.
Not so fun.
Personally, I find it much better (and less stressful) to get my work done earlier in the day so that I can breathe easier and enjoy my evening without having to worry about work.
Flexibility is great (if you can keep it under control)
To keep myself on track so that I don’t end up working late into the night, I “clock in” around 9 a.m. I start by checking in on my clients and reviewing the projects I have planned for the day.
The Landing apartment I’m staying at has a home desk, which is a huge bonus for my work-from-home life. I usually work there in the morning so that I can be hyper-focused and have a strong start to the day.
By the afternoon, I get antsy for a change of scenery, so I typically go to a coffee shop. I’m currently in Nashville, which has more coffee shops than I could ever visit. I have a few go-to spots that I return to several times a week. They have free Wi-Fi and cozy vibes, and allow me to sit and work for hours for only the price of a coffee.
I could go to a new shop to work every day, but as much as I love variety, I also like the comfort of a familiar place. If I choose to work from a new space, it means investing the time to find the location online, get there, find a comfortable spot, and of course, asking the dreaded question “What’s your W-Fi password?” Because of this, I reserve one or two times per week to venture out and find a new place to work from.
There are also days when I’m content just working from home or I’m feeling lazy and want to work from the couch!
It’s fun to do this every once in a while, but it’s important to not lose track of time here or take a nap—which can be easier said than done. Coffee definitely helps!
How to stay motivated as a digital nomad
As I said before, I am fully responsible for accomplishing my work and getting it to my clients on time. This means I’m also responsible for staying motivated.
Some days, it can be hard to push myself to work six hours straight without having coworkers to enjoy banter with or a break room to chill out in. And, coffee can only get me so far.
One thing that helps boost my motivation is chatting with my clients. With my job, I love that I’m able to work directly with small-business owners to help their company grow. It’s an exciting opportunity for me and them both! So, when we chat about projects and goals, we both get energized and motivated to see the company succeed. Having a quick phone call or zoom meeting with a client will always boost my motivation and inspire me to work even harder that day.
When I do feel a lack in my motivation or when my concentration starts to slip, I change things up. Physically, I’ll get up and take a walk or head to a new working space. Getting my body moving helps to reset my mind and allow me to come back to my project with a fresh perspective. Mentally, I’ll change the kind of project that I’m working on. If I’m not in the mood to write, then I’ll choose to work on a project that uses a different skill, like design work or data analysis.
If I really need to get a project done but don’t have the motivation, then I give myself a block of time to commit to that project. By simply telling myself “Okay, for the next hour, I’m only going to focus on writing this article,” then it feels much more doable. After all, it’s only an hour! By the end of the hour, the words are usually flowing, and I feel determined to finish my work.
Don’t forget to take time for yourself
As a freelancer, it can be tricky to take time off. But when I need a break, I make sure to take it. As much as I love my job, and as important as my career is, mental health is even more important. So, if you’re feeling burnt out or overwhelmed, make sure to take some time to focus on you and get back to a healthy state of mind.
How to work from anywhere with Landing
By living with Landing, digital nomads are able to work from anywhere in the U.S., whether they want to get their work done at their at-home office setup, at a nearby coffee shop, or a local coworking space. At the end of the day, you’ll have a furnished apartment to come home to, all with flexible lease terms that make it easy to move in and out when the time is right for you.
Check out Landing’s fully furnished apartments today!