Let’s talk productivity today, girls! It’s a topic I see discussed in the Digital Nomad world A LOT. I think it’s safe to say that balancing your own business or freelancing career while travelling the world is challenging. I have yet to meet a single nomad who hasn’t struggled with this.
And yet, the nomadic lifestyle makes being productive both trickier and more important than ever at the same time. After all, you want to spend time on the things that matter to you most, right?
But before you download yet another productivity app or hack, there are some underlying principles and a few simple habits that can improve your productivity like crazy.
We covered Productivity inside the DNG Inner Circle this month and I invited productivity coach and digital nomad Jo Bendle, who shared her favourite SIMPLE productivity habits with us. I’m going to sum them up for you here to help you get your productivity going.
But before we start…
Let’s talk mindset!
What makes productivity especially tricky for digital nomads is our constant striving for ultimate freedom. Often we struggle to combine routines, habits, systems and plans – all the ingredients needed to become truly productive – with our desire to be as flexible, spontaneous, and free as possible. The last thing we want is some productivity guru forcing a routine and structure on us, as it feels like it’s threatening our freedom.
That’s why mindset is the first thing to get to grips with when we talk about Productivity, and realising that
“It takes discipline to be a free spirit.
It’s ok to set boundaries, use a calendar and even have set office hours (gasp). These won’t hinder your freedom, they will enable it.
So, the sooner we get over the notion that systems and structure are boring and don’t conform with our freedom lifestyle, the sooner we can embrace them as tools to create even more freedom for ourselves. And try to have fun with them!
We need get disciplined
I feel strongly that discipline deserves to be mentioned much more when productivity is discussed.
Let’s face it, it’s hard work to be productive. Especially in the beginning when you are still setting up your systems and settling into routines that work for you. It takes dedication, trial and error and beating bad habits.
I know it sounds easier to try out the latest productivity ‘hack’ that promises to ramp up your productivity 10-fold, than trying to becoming disciplined, right?
But how often do these hacks actually solve our productivity problems? For me personally, never. At least not by themselves, only if they’re part of my overall system.
Thankfully, our productivity expert Jo has some simple and free(!) tips for us to staying productive as a digital nomad girls:
Goals & Focus
Before you can start working on your productivity, you have to know what you’re actually trying to achieve.
There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive and you can only be productive if you’re working towards a specific goal. Whether you set your goals, annually, quarterly, monthly or weekly (or ideally all of these!), goal-setting has to become part of your productivity routine.
Jo recommends setting your daily goals the day before and aligning them with your weekly and monthly goals.
Once you’ve set your goals it’s crucial to keep focused on them. Shiny object syndrome is real, yo. Entrepreneurs and freelancers are usually creative people and you’ll have tonnes of great (and some not so great) ideas that you’d love to follow up on.
But if you want to be successful and productive you have to stay focused on your big goals. No matter what others are doing, or how awesome this great new business opportunity sounds. Stay focused and remember:
“You can do anything but not everything.”
Inside the DNG Inner Circle we have monthly goal setting sessions to help us stay on track and focused on our big goals. Check it out here > >
Of course, goal setting is only the beginning, once you’ve set them, it’s time to take massive action.
Especially in the beginning of your freelance career or of your online business it can feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail, reacting to requests and clients, and not really working ON your business.
A great way to make sure you are working towards your big business goals, while also taking care of the day to day tasks is by setting aside a set amount of time every day. It doesn’t matter if you can only spare 30, it’s better than nothing and will add up.
Switch off all your notifications, tell clients you’re out of office, and work on 1-3 tasks that will get you closer to your big goal.
These tasks don’t have to be massive, ideally they’re small and achievable. Maybe your big goal is to launch an online course this year. One small task can be to pick a name for your course, or draft the outline of the different chapters.
Taking consistent action like this daily will get you to your goals, even if it feels slow in the beginning. Remember:
“A little progress each day, adds up to big results”
And in addition, you’ll feel great for working towards your big goal and like you’re accomplishing something which will keep you motivated.
Review, Tweak & Improve
The last step towards greater productivity is checking in with your progress regularly. Jo has a quote she loves which says:
“High performers self-monitor more than underperformers”
Review your goals regularly and often, ideally daily (seriously!) to make sure you’re on track and not wasting your time.
Jo recommends doing an End of Day Review as well as Weekly reviews in addition to your monthly, quarterly and annual reviews and goal sessions.
Reviewing doesn’t have to be dull, you can make it fun and even turn it into a little ritual you actually look forward to. Write down everything you’ve achieved that day (or week) and take a moment to celebrate your achievement.
Then write down what worked, what didn’t work and what you could improve, before setting your goals for the day or week ahead.
It’s really that simple.
Start by committing to take 5 minutes every day to review what you did and plan your 3 important tasks for the next day. Then block off 30 minutes of time the next day (ideally as early as possible in your work day) and focus only on those 3 tasks that will drive your business forward.
We’ve been implementing these simple habits into our daily and weekly routines this month in the DNG Inner Circle and I’ve been getting great feedback from the girls.
And as always, don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon for a few days (or weeks, or months). You can always start again and get back on track.
I hope these tips are helpful and you’ll try implementing them one by one. Let me know how it goes and comment below!