Digital Nomads

Ditching the Distinction Between Work and Non-Work Time


I came across an entry in Google + that I was just thinking about yesterday afternoon. How I no longer have any real distinction between work time and non-work time. The thought occurred as I was finishing up watching Pacific Rim (which was surprisingly good) in the middle of a Wed. afternoon. In the morning I had finished up a task that was important to me so I had some lunch and popped on a movie. Being a digital nomad I no longer have to be concerned with being on somebody else’s clock. There are days where I go shopping and take a walk around the village just as there are evenings where I stick to the screen & keyboard plugging away until the wee hours. But even that never feels like work, it’s all just ‘stuff I do/stuff I enjoy’. Not sure what the point of all this is other than to encourage you to work harder towards this way of living – if it’s something you’ve considered for yourself. Not having these sectioned off parts of a day is incredibly liberating. From a work perspective, this is by far the best situation I’ve ever been in.

Now for that post I mentioned.

Enter Mike Elgan – The World is my Office

How digital nomad living erases the distinction between work time and play time.

For as long as paid labor existed, people have made a sharp distinction between work time and leisure.

The industrial revolution intensified and formalized this distinction. Now we work for most of the weekday, then we’re “off” for the rest of the evening. We try to take weekends and vacations off. At the end of our careers, we retire.

Even for non-nomads, mobile technology and the Internet has started to break down these barriers. Work intrudes on our evenings, weekends and vacations. We do personal communication and run Internet-based errands on the Internet during work hours.

But for digital nomads who live abroad, these distinctions are mostly obliterated. And that’s a good thing.

This picture is a typical scenario. This is me in Cinque Terre, Italy, a few months ago. I’m working and on vacation at the same time. I’m enjoying good food, coffee and (later) mike-elgan-600x450wine. I’m enjoying the Mediterranean scenery. I’m taking occasional dips in the water. I’m barefoot. Yet I’m working, making a living. Later, I may be strolling down the boardwalk eating an ice cream, but I might be “working” by thinking about my writing or planning something business-wise with my wife.

One assumption about this scenario is that I’m ruining my vacation with work. Another assumption is that I’m not really working — just goofing off and somehow getting paid for it.

Both these assumptions are false and based on the (for me) obsolete distinctions between work and leisure time.

In fact, I am fully working and fully vacationing at the same time — they’re both part of the same, seamless lifestyle called digital nomadism.

When you’re a digital nomad, there is no “work time,” nor is there “time off,” “vacations” or “retirement.” It’s all the same, seamless lifestyle.

Circle Mike for more like this

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