Staying On Task when Working For Yourself

So you’ve done it. You’ve transitioned to location independent work that can be done from anywhere, and are making decent money from it. No more looking for seasonal jobs that are RVer friendly, this is the happily-ever-after you were searching for when it came to full-timing: absolute freedom to go where you want, when you want.

But wait, it’s not quite that easy. Now it’s imperative that you have a good internet connection. Taxes are about to change and potentially get more complicated. And there’s another problem too, something most travelers don’t think about until they’re confronted with it.

With all these wonderful new places you’re now free to explore, how do you find the willpower to get any work done? Or maybe you’re the opposite: Now that you’re 100% in charge of your own income and can’t rely on a steady paycheck for just showing up, how do you break away from work long enough to enjoy the location you’re staying at?

Those who don’t work remotely might laugh at such problems (β€œSimple, just make yourself work!/Make yourself take a break!”), but for the self-employed, the struggle is real.

You’re probably going to gag at the answer I give you, but I swear this is the best solution I’ve found and I’ve talked to other digital nomads who feel the same.

Make a schedule.

Ew, right? Who wants to live by a schedule, didn’t we go RVing to escape that nonsense? But hear me out, there’s a big difference between a work schedule devised by someone else and one you make yourself.

You get to decide how much time to work each day and when your days off are, and you’re free to change these numbers as circumstances dictate. It doesn’t need to be the set in stone, soul sucking kind of schedule that your whole world revolved around in your old life.

And I’m telling you from experience, it’s so easier to perform consistently with some sort of structure to the day.

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Becky on July 10, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I’m back from BC! I’m glad you all enjoyed this article and I thank you for contributing to this topic in the comments, I’ve read every single one of them.

  2. AZ_Kit on July 6, 2017 at 3:39 am

    It’s unlikely that I’ll ever work for myself, but I currently work 3 jobs with unconventional hours. I do some 12-hour overnight shifts, some 2-hour weekend shifts, that sort of thing. It’s nice to be able to do things on weekdays when the crowds aren’t around! Also, since I’m not tied to a full-time job, I can just give 2+ weeks notice to my agency and take a week or more off if I feel like going somewhere.

  3. Terri on July 5, 2017 at 5:41 am

    Hi Becky, sorry I have not been commenting in a while, but I’m still reading and keeping up with you! I finally got regular internet at my house so now I don’t have to sit and plan when I can get online and respond to things (I was using my phone as a hotspot which isn’t that hard, it was just one more step.)

    I always see you as incredibly responsible and disciplined enough to keep up with your work even when not having to be on a regular schedule. You inspire me so much with how you’ve been able to transition to a lifestyle where you don’t work most of the year in a traditional type of seasonal job. i was thinking a lot yesterday about the location independent work and what I want to start doing and have decided to put my money where my mouth is and put more effort into finding more side work with writing or transcription, etc.

    I’m so glad you are able to take this trip in BC too!
    Terri recently posted..My Money MindsetMy Profile

  4. raz on July 4, 2017 at 6:34 am

    you are self employed. you get, get, get, to work when you want, if you want, for who you want. if you don’t get to work you are in the wrong racket. i love what i do. i get to do it. if it becomes a have to, i change rackets. some days i work for free. get is the opportune word here. if you don’t love what you are doing, change. you gotta love it. if you won the lottery would you keep doing what you are doing? i would. i have we spent the money, thats what it’s for. mostly gave it away. i have been self employed since 1962.

    ice cream. raz

  5. Linda Sand on July 3, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Most of us, when working a “regular” job, worked 8 or 9 to 5 or 6 making about 40 hours a week. When working for yourself you might still need to work 40 hours a week but you can decide which hours of which days. Maybe you work 4 hours in the morning, spend the afternoon either doing household tasks or sightseeing then work another 3 hours in the evening. Maybe you work several long days so you can have more days off. Maybe your “weekend” becomes Tuesday and Wednesday so you can run your errands and go see the sights when most people are working. But you still need to be serious about how many hours you need to work and make some sort of plan for doing that.

  6. Kim on July 3, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Yes, the struggle exsists. It looks so easy on paper but … takes enormous self-discipline. As in 365 days a year.
    The challenge increases tenfold when you are also a nomad.

  7. Misty on July 3, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    The struggle is real indeed….

    I try not to think of it as a “schedule” and think of it instead as a “routine.” Schedules are gross and confining, and if you’re anything like me, once you get off the schedule, the whole day is a bust… But routines are just habits you get into. So even if I wake up half an hour later or earlier than I intended, I can still get started on my routine. πŸ™‚

    Here’s another thing that has really been helping me keep myself accountable lately:

    I just use the free version, and I love it. All I have to do is click “play” on a task, and then if I get pulled away, I can hit “pause.” This has really helped me make sure that I spend a minimum amount of time on the things that matter most for my business(es).

    You can apparently export your time into an Excel spreadsheet, which I think might be interesting in the long term, but I haven’t found time to figure out how to sort the information so that it’s useful for analyzing. πŸ™‚

    • Terri on July 5, 2017 at 5:38 am

      I’m going to have to look into that time tracker, thanks for the link!
      Terri recently posted..My Money MindsetMy Profile

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