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A guide on how to avoid distractions easily while travelling | Travel | work and travel | distractions whilst working


How to Easily Avoid Distractions while Travelling

When I started this around the world travelling gig, I thought it would be easy to work on my blog and to write. I mean, why wouldn’t it be easy? I had previously fit in a 50 hour work week, working weekends and still managed to write all the time, so why should it be any different when travelling?

The truth of it is I was completely unprepared for just how difficult it would be while travelling to find time to work.

But why?

Many would say I just lack discipline. ‘You just need to knuckle down and get to work’.

Those people may be right, but if you’ve ever travelled you’ll know in every new country, there is so much going on that it’s impossible to ignore the possibilities.

With that in mind, in this article I’ll go through all the kinds of distractions you can find while travelling and how best to avoid them.

Understanding the Difference Between Travellers & Workers

One of the best things about travel is the people that you meet. One of the best places to meet these types of people for sure is Hostels. Offering cheap accommodation and with the chance to meet other travellers in the same boat as you.

One of the significant challenges you will face however with Hostels is that the people who are travelling are generally on a holiday/gap year. These travellers have an interest in going out and experiencing what the country has to offer.

Grouping up like this can be great for you as well, but the challenge comes when you need to work. One thing I didn’t realise would be that when travelling, it can be hard to go against the trend.

If you’ve just met a group of amazing people, but you need to get some work done, it can be a hard deciding what to do. If the whole team you’re friends with is taking a day trip out to a floating market, for example, you can get the feeling that you are missing out.

How to Tackle FOMO; the Fear of Missing Out

Fear of missing out is one of the most significant challenges for me personally that I need to overcome. After two weeks in Thailand, I’ve already found myself falling behind schedule, and it’s down to FOMO.

From my experience, the challenges you can have is that people don’t necessarily understand that you have to put aside ‘work-time’. Many people will just not know why you don’t want to come out for drinks in the evening, want to come on day trips or only have time in a coffee shop.

[clickToTweet tweet=”One of my favourite statistics ever is that hangovers cost over $250 billion to the US economy.” quote=”Waking up with a hangover is 100% the most significant contributor to a day of no work. One of my favourite statistics ever is that hangovers cost over $250 billion to the US economy.” theme=”style3″]

One of my favourite statistics ever is that hangovers cost over $250 billion to the US economy.

How to Easily Avoid Distractions Whilst Travelling
One of the more hungover days dragged around an island tour

 

Simply put, when you’re hungover, you’re not worth shit to your company. I remember many days crashed out on a sofa at work while ‘trying to work’ but secretly hoping no customers spoke to me, give me a holla in the comments if you can relate!

The same challenges ring true for you if you want to work while travelling, one of the approaches I recommend is saving certain days for going all out and then reserve other days for work days.

I’ve found that instead of not going out altogether, I still go out but just don’t drink on days where I’m going to be working the next day. This gives me the added motivation since I haven’t drunk the evening before, actually to get up and do some work the next day.

Other Ways to Avoid Distractions

Another technique to avoiding distractions like partying and days out while travelling is to indulge in early morning activities. This suggestion is for two reasons:

  1. By getting up early, you start the day productive, refreshed and give yourself more time for the whole day.
  2. People you socialise with at these activities will usually be early risers, less likely to party late and FOMO with these people means missing out on waking up early and being productive.

This has been one of the things to have saved me on Koh Lanta, Thailand. I moved away from the party area of Ao Nang in Krabi where every morning was a hungover start, followed by everybody getting involved in an island tour or Kayak event and when everybody got home a bar crawl with free vodka at the bar to get you started.

Safe to say, in my five days in Ao Nang, I got 0% work done.

How to Easily Avoid Distractions Whilst Travelling
Good news, we won that game of flip cup

In Koh Lanta, the atmosphere is much more relaxed; people wake up early to stroll to the beach. There are Yoga activities that start at 9 am about 30 minutes walk from the central hostel area, so you need to get up at 7:45 am to get breakfast and then make your way across.

By the time you’ve completed this activity, you’ve only just reached 10:30 am (wherein Ao Nang I’d still be in bed for another hour and a half), and yet you feel like you’ve had a hugely productive morning. After this I then set myself up in a sweet coffee shop, blast out a few hours work and then call lunch.

Once that’s done, it’s only 1 pm and I give the whole afternoon to myself.

Build a Lifestyle That’s Sustainable for Work

The trick to all of this is knowing what you want to achieve. Yes, five days partying is probably not the best thing for my productivity, and I posted a blog post five days late, but in reality, it’s not the end of the world.

Nobody died, and I still had an awesome time. The trick to travelling and work is to know when to enjoy yourself and when to work. If you can find the best places in south-east Asia to relax and unwind, you’re on to a winner.

There will be so many people out there who will punish themselves while travelling if they slip up and go out and get drunk and do not work. Remember the reason that you are travelling in the first place, to enjoy the places you go, the sites you see and to live your life.

Remember to give yourself time off, have a break, take a moment to put down your laptop and just go and dive into the sea. But also remember when to give yourself time to get some work done.

After all, if you don’t work, you may just end up back in that 9-5 job that we all love so much.

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Author

Jamie is a freelance writer and sales coach who has over 10 years of experience in retail and sales. He is now taking his experience on the road and is on a mission to help other entrepreneurs achieve their potential.

11 Comments

  1. Fantastic Post Jaimie! I know what you mean about getting distracted. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to do between work and play, gym or eating local delicacies, etc. It took me a while to balance everything myself while traveling. I know how you felt in Ao Nang, I had the same struggle trying to be productive in Boracay! The good news is once you’ve figured it all out, its a beautiful thing to enjoy your life and be productive while getting to know the world and yourself in the process! Good stuff!

  2. Great advice, Jamie! I suffer pretty badly from FOMO. It used to be debilitating. These days it’s not quite as bad. I think it has more to do with getting older rather than self-discipline and getting organized, though. We’ve been doing long-term travel for a while now but this is the first year we’ve done it as digital nomads. It’s been an adjustment to say the least. Your photos are making me miss Southeast Asia sooo freaking bad! After spending so much time there, my husband and I made a rule that we have to see more of the world before we go back. I know, such a tough rule to have to make #firstworldproblems
    Keep the awesome posts coming!

    • haha I love your #firstworldproblems, it’s so right! There’s just so much of the world to see, how can you stick to just one place, right?

  3. Sharon Pacini Reply

    Great post Jamie – it sounds like paradise where you are – well done on your discipline ? – Merry Christmas ?

  4. I love how you brought it around to it not being the end of the world when you slip up. That is something we could all stand to remember!

    I used to live in Panama City Beach Florida, one of the party hotspots in the U.S. Working at a bar, I met a ton of people who were in town to party for a week. It was easy to get caught up in hanging with each group of new friends, because you knew you would never see them after they left. But they didn’t have a job and a real life to deal with each day, and I did!

    Fortunately, I don’t drink much these days, and I have adopted the early riser strategy, so it is much less of a struggle for me than it once was.

    • For sure, when you slip up it’s a learning. Mistakes are what help us grow.

      Logan, that sounds tough but it sounds like you learnt from it!
      I really need to become that early riser.

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