Are Digital Nomads and Routines Compatible?

When I started to work remote, I fell right into the stereotype. Scanning travel sites every week, booking flights, packing my bags every time I could. Working from pretty uncomfortable places (train station floors, tiny-over-crowded co-workings …Starbucks.) And at the most unhealthy hours (as in 24/7 availability). I mean, we’ve all done it. If you have worked remote for a while, you most likely know what I’m talking about. If you recently started out, you’re probably going through this right now.

I did the “digital nomad” thing for a while, but then a routine started to evolve. We’re humans, right? We dig routines by nature. After all, everything around us is in cycles: days, weeks, months, football seasons, Grammys, Oscars… Wait, are routines healthy or dead boring? I’m sharing my thoughts here, but it would be really cool to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

Three things, two patterns.

My life’s all about three things: work, food, and bikes. Not to mention both Mar (my partner) and I are from-home workers in creative fields, so we spend like 80–90% of our time together. But that’s another topic for another time.

My weekdays go, alternatively, like this:

Pattern A: Wash leftover dishes with a podcast. Cook breakfast. exercise (7-minute workouts or some trekking these days.) Watch the news. Run errands. Lunch. Work. Coffee. Play guitar/random hobby. Work. Make dinner. Watch TV. Work another bit. Sleep.

Pattern B: Kit up (i.e. putting on cycling kit.) Coffee. Training on the bike. Breakfast. Dishes with a podcast. Work. Cook lunch. Work. Work. Errands or hobbies. Work. Make dinner. TV. Maybe work again. Sleep.

There are variations and exceptions, and weekends are a completely different monster. But most weekdays fall into either of these.

So, has there been any gains?

At first, I fought the patterns. I was scared it would make things boring again. As they were back in what I now call “the office days.” You know? A surprise-less life. Who wants that? But after a few weeks, I started noticing ideas coming up easier and faster. A major win considering most of my work is about figuring stuff out. (Therefore, a “geek of all trades” according to my business cards.)

I also noticed that the routines brought a ton of peace of mind. And a de facto better time organization. Leaving more time to be shared, harnessed or simply wasted. You know? A lot more control. Which is awesome.

And why put this in a blog post?

I thought this was a good lesson and a valid contrast point to all the multi-location relentless nomad stories out there. I mean, this isn’t meant to disprove that. Traveling around to see new places, new cultures, learn from that and apply that to your work is a priceless, huge advantage. I still pack my bags pretty often (Averaging 13 times a year, according to the last recount Mar and I did.)

I just mean to say that Locationless Work’s biggest gain is the freedom. Choosing chaos or routine is up to you. Mix them up or switch around whenever you want. Do whatever makes you better. More productive. A better you. That’s something you can only do with an absolute control over your time. No commutes. No waiting forever to clock out. Only you, your responsibilities, your skills, your fails and all your wins.