As we settle into our new life in Las Palmas, one of the things we have been thinking about quite a lot (and that we know many other digital nomads think about too) is how to get our work-life balance right.
When the beach is close (perhaps 3 mins away in our case); the wine is cheap (our record for a bottle so far is less than 1 Euro); the sun is, well, sunny; plus the whole culture here is a lot more ‘outdoorsy’ than we are used to- how can you make yourself focus on your work and shut yourself away for a few hours?
Well, there are three main points I’d like to make:
1- What is this work-life balance, anyway?
This may not be a very popular view, but I’m not really a person who believes in a work-life balance. I believe in everyone following their own path as much as they possibly can. If someone wants to work all the time and it truly makes them happy then good luck to them. If another person wants to lounge about all the time and has the means to do it, good luck to them too. The critical thing for me is that each person chooses it. Of course there are many people who due to family or financial situations have to work in certain ways. Many people though, have choices that they don’t realise. Plus, if you are able to find work that is meaningful to you, it doesn’t feel like work anyway. I’m very interested in the concept of flow and want to find more of it.
2- You need to keep your eyes on the prize
Firstly, if you are living in a nice place with lots of temptations it just means that you have great things to do when you have time off. Here, if I want a break I can walk along the beach or stroll along a street that I have never seen before. In addition, if you are working towards the sort of life you want, it can sustain you through the slog. For example we would like to be in a situation where we know that we can sustain ourselves in any country in the world, as long as we have an internet connection. That might take a long time or our goal might change, but for the moment it is a very positive thing to work towards.
3- Life is for living
One of the things that makes me so happy, so far, about us deciding to move out here is that I want to get better at living in the moment. I have had a very lucky life but sometimes I feel like I am always looking for the next thing on the horizon. Being an ambitious person, I never want to entirely give that up but I think being a digital nomad will help me get better at appreciating what I have. Beyond the obvious points about travel (and especially living in another country) broadening the mind, I just want to take time to reflect on my life and at the same time build some special memories with my lovely wife.
It hasn’t always been easy to explain to people what we are doing. Some people have assumed we are here for a holiday- an extended one, I assume. However I try to bear in mind that: I don’t actually know many things about other people’s jobs, so I shouldn’t expect them to understand mine; digital nomadism is a pretty new thing and an idea that will spread; hopefully in our own small way our example will help more people (at least our friends and family) learn what it is about.