It has been 9 months since I’ve been working remotely as part of Vectr‘s team. Vectr has got a unique working culture which combines remote work and in-person collaboration: we work from home most of the time, having a team meeting at a cafeteria every Tuesday and additional small meetings if there’s a need throughout the week.

vectr working culture

Before that, I’d spent three months running my own small marketing and sales consultancy working in between of a couple of cities, and prior to that – being a member of the two-person business team working from the coworking space of Google Campus Warsaw. My first job was the closest to what you call an office – a large cubicle where could fit 7 out of 8 employees of a startup. Do you even call that an office? In total it’s been around 2 years since I’ve been used to working from anywhere: mostly coffee places, but also parks, trains, airports.

And you know what – it has been awesome! Digital nomading kind of a work- and lifestyle has plenty of benefits and advantages to offer, only if you can handle the downsides of course.

Digital Nomading

That sounds really fancy – digital nomad. As if you were some medieval warrior, nomading coffee places and then when all the coffee and croissants are gone – you resettle together with your backpack and laptop charger.  As funny as it is – it’s kind of true. Normally the life of digital nomads is pretty much different than of other professionals.

My morning has always begun with a breakfast (“digital breakfast” to maintain the sense of coolness). Warsaw or Taipei: here’s me entering the nice breakfast shop with my laptop sometime in between of 7.30 and 8.30 am. The waitress knows me of course – that dude comes here at least a couple of times per week if not daily sometimes. In Warsaw’s Charlotte last summer they brought me cappuccino even before I ordered one.

Going through the news waiting for the breakfast to come. Then eating while going through BCC and Nuzzel app on my smartphone. Afterwards, if the place allows – checking up with emails and what happened overnight on my laptop.

Then relocating – a coffee place usually or some place where they also serve lunch, I know I’ll get hungry soon. Recently in Taipei I’ve been working from home oftentimes too. Working until the lunch, then working while eating lunch if it’s busy, and again hustling until the evening. Then gym or dinner with someone somewhere. Working until the late evening.

Soon I realized that I know most of the good coffee places in the city, started paying attention to where the coffee comes from and noticed that I’m carrying a whole workstation with myself: two pairs of headphones, chargers for laptop and smartphone, mouse if necessary.

Working on a couch isn’t an option anymore – normally it’s bad for the back and neck – so I end up picking coffee places to work even depending on the height of the tables there and the comfortableness of chairs.

Productivity is something that doesn’t sound like a joke. RescueTime offers a great tool for measuring your effectiveness and controlling the split of activities throughout the day and week.

rescue time screenshot

Lifestyle Or Workstyle?

Maybe it’s just me – but lifestyle and workstyle are highly related. If I was asked what are my workstyle and lifestyle the answers would certainly intersect a lot. And even though it may sound like my work-life balance suffers a lot due to that: that’s actually not true. My work-life balance these days is actually utterly amazing. Being located in Taipei has been helping a lot too since the city infrastructure is very developed and convenient.

Normally I manage to have a meeting with someone throughout the day for lunch or dinner, go to the gym or play soccer, and still spend around 10 hours working or reading. At the end having a good 7-8 hour sleep. How many people would be able to boast of the same?

I’ve realized that working remotely saves me at least 2 hours of time every day commuting to the office, and probably another hour of time chatting with coworkers over coffee. Or having meetings – duhhh, who does that even? Slack is all you need 99% of the time.

Working by myself is highly compensated with the time for social life I’ve got to spare. Overall productivity is increased due to the fact that I’ve been able to balance work, sports, and leisure as works best for me. 

Keeping Up The Balance & Useful Tips

The success in life and work largely depends on the ability to keep up the balance. The balance between working and socializing, balance on how you eat and how much you exercise, balance in how you plan up your day. If you happen to be a digital nomad because of your job or life preferences: make sure you nail both the work- and life- parts of it.

# 1.Work In Coffee Places That Offer Free Drinking Water

We can’t function only on coffee. Well, at least not every day. Pick the coffee places that offer free drinking water as much as you need, and pick a habit of taking like at least a liter of it – and finishing it by the end of your working session.

# 2. Use Community Help When Picking Places

WorkHardAnywhere is a great app for finding great places to work. You can also use look blogs or just ask creatives / digital people in your city. Anyway – using community is the fastest way to discovering best places to work. And remember, it’s quite serious – since if you mess up and end up traveling around the city for 2 hours searching for stable WiFi connection – it’s 2 hours of work lost.

Work-Hard-Anywhere-Nimblechapps

# 3. Never Drink Too Much Coffee

Working productivity isn’t about coffee. It’s all individual indeed, but staying in a coffee place for the whole day it’s quite easy drinking a couple of cups at least. Never drink too much – better drink more water and have a better sleep.

# 4. Sleep Enough / Sleep More

Sleeping is super important, especially if you are dealing with highly demanding or creative work. Just doing work isn’t enough, you must be awesome and think sharpest you can while doing it. Sleeping healthy 7-8 hours per day really does help a lot here.

# 5. Use Productivity Apps

No, it’s not hipster/silly. There are some awesome productivity apps to save you plenty of time accomplishing small things faster. Just browse Mac / Windows store productivity category, google some blog posts – apps like Alfred, ToDoIst, Evernote or MiniNote are awesome helpers in your digital work. Slack is the king of online communication indeed – if your team still uses emails or FB – stop. Now.

Bottom Line

The digital nomading life has been awesome and very benefiting. It has helped and pushed me a lot to define clearly the priorities in life and work with razer-like sharpness. I could still imagine myself going to the big office someday – but that would be probably in a managerial role and I am surely going to bring the vibe of flexibility, coolness and productivity to the place.