Learning to work location independently
By Matt Preston
I had an interesting conversation on twitter the other day regarding location independence and the “working week“. It’s a great topic for us as we’re currently trying to get our heads around the new location independent lifestyle and the structure (or lack of) that it affords us.
A little history lesson
Like many I started my working life doing a 9-5 Monday to Friday job and I actually enjoyed the structure that gave me. Friday drinks after work, Saturday BBQs and parties in summer. Sunday roasts with family and friends in cosy English pubs. Doesn’t sound so bad eh? The start of my freelance career happened to coincide with the start of my more adventurous travels, working on various projects while I travelled around New Zealand for 4 months. Naturally I took the working structure from my earlier career and simply applied it to what I was doing. It suited me at the time as I was living with a family who shared the same weekly routine. It would have been foolish to work when they had time off and vice versa.
Are flexible working hours a good thing?
When I’ve been self employed and living in the UK, I, like many freelancers, have the freedom to pick my own hours, take time off when I want and yes, work in my Pyjamas if I really wanted to. That flexibility is one real freedom to being a professional blogger. Especially a travel blogger, as a weekly structure seems to have less relevance while on the road. So what structure do I have these days now that Deborah and I are full time travel bloggers and location independent? Well funnily enough we still love our 9-5 lifestyle. We still like working Monday to Friday too and taking time off on weekends. So why with so much freedom to take time off whenever we like, do we choose to do this? Well there are some core reasons. The biggest two are these:-
1) Our local friends and colleagues work during the week.
Sure we could take a couple of days off and work during a normal weekend but we’d be totally out of sync with our friends in our current location. Where ever that happens to be. If we’re off when they work we’d never see them! We’d also not get a chance to experience a proper weekend in the town or city we happen to be in. It’s good to share local habits and routines and living a life out of sync with that would be an unusual way to view a country. Very few people tend to start early either, you’re more likely to sleep in and start later (wouldn’t everyone given half a chance?) But then to get enough work done in a day can mean working late, missing out on the post-work vibe that so many cities and towns have. It’s a great time to people watch, go for a walk, watch the sun set and get involved, who wants to miss out on that if you’re location independent?
2) We have a lot of work on!
Its not bragging or moaning either. Just a fact and personally if I had no weekend structure then I could easily work 7 days a week. I need someone to tell me to have time off and enjoy myself. I enjoy my work but I love the feeling of a weekend too. Knowing its 2 days devoted to pleasure rather than business. A chance to shut down the mind and do something else. If I took off a Tuesday and then worked until Saturday I’d have a very broken time-off structure. I’d feel like I had less time off even if it was still 2 full days. So taking off the proper weekend is a great psychological boost for me.
I have the right to change my mind
So for now we still work Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. Ish.. We occasionally take an afternoon off, we sometimes change the location of where we work, but generally we stick to that structure. This is easier if you’re in one place for a month or so. If you’re moving every week then no doubt it’s very different. As it happens we’ll be travelling through Malaysia for the next month so this working week structure could go out the proverbial window! I can fully understand how working all week when you’re travelling can feel like you’re really missing out on all the touristy stuff you should be seeing!
How do you work?
I’m not saying my way is right and all others are wrong. Just that this structure works best for me at the moment. In the next few days we’ll also be posting some in-depth opinions of Location independence, weekly working structures and what suits some highly respected travel bloggers & writers. Keep an eye out for those! What working structure suits you? If you’re self employed, freelancing or just blogging whole travelling, post a comment below and tell us your opinions.
We asked some professional bloggers, location independent experts and freelancers to give us their opinions on weekly working structure and their advice for living location independently.