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.
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.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.Click To Tweet
One of my favourite statistics ever is that hangovers cost over $250 billion to the US economy.
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:
- By getting up early, you start the day productive, refreshed and give yourself more time for the whole day.
- 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.
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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