This post is part of 30 Ways in 30 days to Redesign Your Life and Travel the World. This series seeks to give you the practical, real world steps you need to take to get from wherever you are, to exactly where you want to be– traveling the world and living the lifestyle you want.
There’s a little dirty little secret Tim Ferris doesn’t mention in the 4-Hour Workweek. And most digital-nomading-travel-the-world types are pretty loathe to actually bring it up. It’s a big fat problem and it only gets worse the further you travel.
The time difference.
You see, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We spend a lot of time talking about how working 100% remotely is not only possible but a better alternative to working in a cubicle. We convince you of that. You agree. Then we take you further down the primrose path and show you all the wonderful ways you can get free of the cubicle. You’re not sure if you can pull it off. We dance, we sing, we pull out the ponies and put on the whole show. For most of you, it’s not enough. The 4-Hour Workweek was a NY Times Bestseller, but how many people are actually quitting their jobs? It’s a tough sell. So we leave it at that.
But once you’re committed to becoming a digital nomad, you suddenly find the advice has dried up. One reader innocently asked me, “But wait, what about the time difference when you’re in Asia?”
Ah, that. Some would say you have three options:
- Get a job or client where you don’t have to be available via email or phone, during their business hours.
- Work all night. Sleep all day.
- Don’t go to Asia.
That’s true. But there are things you can do:
Negotiate the night shift. For some employers it would be a bonus to have someone working overnight on their projects. Need something turned around for the next day? Give it to our “overnight” person. Your overnight will be during the day so it works perfectly for everyone.
Unplug your client. If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, it’s possible to set expectations early. You’re available to talk at a certain time and everything else will be handle via email. If you’re clear from the beginning, it’ll minimize issues later.
Start weeding out your needy clients. If you know that you’ll be time shifting, say moving from 6 hours past their business hours to a full 12, begin putting everyone on a low contact diet. Those who complain, find replacement clients.
Consider starting a small business. The best way to own all of your time is to buy it back from the world in the form of working for yourself. Maybe this is a 2 year plan, but it’s never too soon to start planning what that would look like.
If it’s doable, time shift your life. If you’re living just 6 hours away from their business day, it’s still possible to make that traditional hours work. If it’s a US east coast company and you’re living in Spain, that means working from 3 PM until 11 PM… just in time for Spanish dinner.
What are your tips for dealing with the time shift?