Hard at work on my laptop, my eyes managed to sneak a peek at the time, and I was shocked for more than a minute.
“Wow, it’s 6 pm already!”
Now, this statement can mean anything depending on where you are in the world and what you were doing at that moment. For me, who had just worked for nine straight hours (sounds impossible, I know) surrounded by beautiful blue waters and endless sunshine, that meant I had worked non-stop like a maniac. There I was, cooped up in my apartment in some sort of mini prison I had created for myself. Except this prison had unlimited Wi-Fi, decent cell service, and ten pages of words.
That’s the world of remote work.
When I first began the Remote Work life, I envisioned all the fun things I would have time to do, how I would own my time and enjoy much more freedom than a 9-5 would ever give me. But there are some things to know.
After working in my home office for a bit and getting used to my little neighborhood, I start to get that urge for that change of scenery.
Like the chance to close my laptop and walk to a fabulous beach where I can enjoy some sunshine. Orworking with my feet buried deep in sand and occasionally sipping my bubbling glass of champagne. I had been thinking about it for months, and one day, I realized that I was ready to move on to a different location and work in one of the many countries I daydreamed about a lot. And so, I packed my bags and headed for Australia, thinking of all the wonderful stories I had heard about Canberra.
Of course, that’s where I would put down roots for the next several months. And sure, I had already made all the necessary arrangements for my stay. Got a superb Airbnb apartment, and my host was happy to see me. I quickly sorted out my internet connection. Because, of course, you know that’s the holy grail of remote work. Soon, I was settled and ready to begin my exciting life.
So, why was I locked away in my apartment for the fourth day in a row in my room doing nothing but working and munching on home-delivered food? Well, I would call it fear… But what exactly was I afraid of?
The challenge of remote work: opening up your mind
Back at home, in my safe zone, I already had a routine that I had established for years. I knew how I spent my money and since this was where I had lived most of my life, getting around was super easy. If I wanted to get some cheap entertainment as a quick break from work, I immediately knew where to go. This was my neighborhood where I was familiar with everyone.
And then, there’s Australia. We can all admit that it can be pretty expensive, especially when you’re new in the city and still finding your feet. I felt I had done enough research with the hours I spent reading every guide I could find online. But nothing really prepared me for my personal experience, and that was that nagging fear.
“What if I can’t fund this lifestyle after only a few weeks?”
“What if one of my big clients decides to pull the plug for whatever reason?”
Even though I had saved enough money to tide me over for at least the first few months, I felt that the amount left was much smaller than it actually was by the time I was done with my few settling-down expenses. So, the only solution that came to my mind was to keep working for at least a few weeks to keep my finances at the top.
And while I was sucked in this loop, the beautiful city of Canberra was waiting out there, completely unexplored. I kept thinking, “just a few hours more, and I would have enough.” But how much was actually enough? Thankfully, my host was able to pull me out of this, and my time in Australia wasn’t a total waste (I took a lot of weekend walks and every meal was better than the last).
In all these, I realized that only very few people talk about that momentary lapse where you’re not so sure of yourself as a remote worker. That moment where you start to doubt your decision despite knowing deep in your heart that it was an amazing one. That’s why I decided to start this story from the top.
The ultimate hack to settling down in a new city
Yes, that fear would always be there, but it doesn’t have to kill your chances of enjoying a new environment. So, I started with working outdoors. I found one of the many outstanding cafes in Canberra where I would visit at 8 am each morning and work until noon. Here are some amazing tips for you:
Write out your schedule and stick with it, no matter what. First, you have to sort out your tasks by order of preference. Which ones are the most urgent? Which ones can wait a few days more? It’s okay to set an 8-2 work schedule while you leave out the rest for relaxation and fun time.
Be sure to check out the outdoors when working. What’s the point of being in a new city if you don’t get to see it at all? While working at the café, I still got to see the bubbling city around me as people hurried along. So, spend some time walking around the city to find at least 3-4 beautiful spots for work. Rotate around these few places for the first week and see how you settle in.
So, what about the fear of not being able to fund the remote life? Well, I would say that you’re good enough to keep your clients, just as I was. Open up your mind to working in a more relaxing environment, and you’ll see how much it boosts your productivity. And since I didn’t lose any of them, I’m optimistic that you’ll do just fine too.