How to Stay Productive While You Travel

I’ve spent the last six months traveling a lot, especially around here in Asia. Singapore is one of the world’s most important air travel hubs with flights to basically everywhere in the world, so it’s easy to travel from here. We also have the world’s most luxurious airport, which is a nice plus. In the last half year, I’ve visited Korea, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia. In the next few months I want to spend at least a few days in Australia, which is a surprisingly short flight away from here.

One of the hardest parts of traveling is staying productive. When I’m on the road, I always love to go and see the sights and experience my destination. Pulling out my laptop can be really tough! But staying productive is an important part of being a digital nomad, so some discipline is required. I’ve spent the last six months struggling to motivate myself, but these days I mostly have it under control.

How? It’s simple – set rules for yourself, and make yourself follow them. Here are the three rules I’ve set for myself that I force myself to follow every day I’m traveling, even if it’s the weekend:

  • At least two hours of head down, focused work
  • At least 15 minutes of writing and reviewing my day
  • Reach Inbox Zero by the end of every two-hour work period

As you can see, my rules aren’t particularly challenging or difficult. This is intentional. If I made them hard to achieve, I would give up without even trying them. Even though I only make myself work for two hours, I often spend 3-4 hours or more in coffee shops and coworking spaces when I’m on the road. The key is to keep things simple and overachieve, not to push yourself and fail.

How do you work when you travel? Do you have a specific set of rules, or do you improvise? I’ve noticed a huge increase in my ability to focus and get work done just by setting simple rules for myself to follow and holding myself accountable for my decisions.