As a multipotentialite and location independent entrepreneur, I like to take on the digital nomad lifestyle. It fits my anachronistic beatnik, bohemian demeanor; traveling from place to place with the soles of my wandering shoes and my wanderlust soul. Outsiders could call this confusion, but not all who wander are lost and I’ve never been so sure of myself until now; a little older and (hopefully) a little wiser.
The fact is, I’m restless. I thrive in the unknown and the uncomfortable. Complacency is my prison. Routine makes me feel stuck. This is the essence of what translates into a love for travel. This is what makes me question whether I will ever “settle down” and play nice with someone, or how that could look differently given my particular tendencies.
I’ve got to keep on moving, and maybe you can relate too. Whether it manifests as travel or switching locations and never being rooted to one place, or switching from one interest to the next and never being rooted to a particular passion, or even going from one relationship to the next, never being satisfied with one person, my restlessness has no bounds.
Some could call this an affliction. It depends on which way the pendulum swings. You can take on a healthy, or unhealthy view of restlessness and let it affect you in either life-affirming or self-destructive ways. You can either work against it or embrace it. The choice is yours.
If you have a natural inclination towards restlessness, acknowledge it. Don’t fight it. Be your authentic self and let it shine. Don’t change because it would be convenient for society or your friends and family. Just be who you are. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
Flip restlessness from a weakness to a strength
If restlessness has been a shortcoming in your life, look for ways you can work around it so that it works for you.
The insatiable yearning for new, different, more can help fuel your life towards innovation, discovery, exploration and gives you a natural inclination towards an entrepreneurial drive. It keeps you on your toes. Playful. Hungry. Motivated.
Restlessness can be a clue to try new things, switch it up, explore old hobbies or create new routines. When life feels like its plateaued, restlessness can be a gentle reminder to play. Variety is the spice of life.
Restlessness and productivity
Stagnation is the opposite of being productive. For me, stagnation comes in the form of being in one locale for too long (three years maximum seems to be a good pace for living, and 1-4 months for traveling). I’ve got to keep moving. It’s Thailand next month and maybe Malaysia after that, followed by Hawaii. This is how I stay productive.
Can you manage restlessness? Believe it or not, you can make restlessness productive.
If you’re inclined to growing restless throughout the day, your productivity schedule should cater to your natural rhythm by scheduling short bursts of time to concentrate on one thing before moving onto another thing. Does 20 minutes feel good to you, or one hour? You can set your work block and then use a timer to remind yourself to break and go on to the next activity.
Take a cue from exercise workouts and do a ‘high interval intensity training’ schedule by choosing X amount of time to concentrate intently on a particular task and then X amount to take a break and relax. Try experimenting with making your breaks twice as long as your work amount or half as short. See what works for you.
Remind yourself to take a break. They are essential to productivity and creativity.
Keeping a routine
Having a routine is another way to stay productive. You can make this work for you even if you travel. Do you have a morning ritual for self-care? It could be as little as writing in a journal for 15 minutes when you wake up, doing a 10 minute meditation, and saying affirmations. Your ritual can be done no matter where you are, and as long as you dedicate some time to do them, you can start your day refreshed and ready to work.
Go easy on yourself. If completing a checklist each day will start to feel like a mandatory chore, decide what you’d like to do each morning and allot at least one hour of self-care to do them. Do what feels good to you at that moment. If you’re restless and crave change, your routine can vary from day to day, as long as it’s at least an hour.
How have you let restlessness work for you instead of against you? What do you do to stay focused and productive?