Colin Farrell in the movie In Bruges said that to like Bruges, you must either be a farmer or a retard. To him, Bruges was hell. But I disagree. For me, Bruges was very beautiful and very boring. I’ve wanted to see Bruges for a while, and that movie only increased that desire. But Bruges, as beautiful as it is, is like Venice. Or Siena. Or Bordeaux. It’s seen best with someone, not solo.
But I found the city beautiful, nonetheless. The medieval architecture was great, but I got a little bored quickly. A romantic canal cruise isn’t the same when you are by yourself. Much like Venice, I will return again when I’m with people. Deciding that my time was best spent the next time around, I decided to do some work. After traveling with people for a few weeks, I was behind. Blogs needed to be written, emails answered, advertising deals to be made, and miscellaneous things to be done.
Lots of travelers today want to have a travel blog on their trip. People even put in a lot of effort before they leave getting it up and running and getting the bugs out of it. However, running a blog on the road isn’t easy, and it is a constant battle to balance work and play. Even trying to post and upload pictures to update your friends and family can be a task that keeps you spending hours in an Internet cafe.
If you want to do more, then you spend even more time. If you want to run a business, then, you’ll spend a lot of time.
Balancing work and play becomes a major issue on the road. I still haven’t found a great balance, but I found that taking breaks from travel to work usually keeps me up to speed. It doesn’t always work out. Sometimes, I fall behind. But cities like Bruges offer a good opportunity to catch up. In fact, all quiet cities offer everyone that chance because there is no wild night life to draw you out. Just the tranquility of the town.
But that still doesn’t solve the work/life balance. It is a daily struggle, but here are some good tips and practices to help you develop that balance:
- Write on trains, planes, and buses. Even if you don’t have a laptop, a pen and paper is still a good way to write out a draft. You’ll probably catch more mistakes when you rewrite later, leading to better written posts.
- Set aside one day to do all your major work. By giving yourself a day to focus, work becomes the only task and not a distracting task or a burden.
- Set a time limit. Twitter, Facebook, the news- all are great and all wonderfully distracting. I’ve wasted many hours on them. Give yourself a work time limit and stick to it. If you only want to be on the computer for 2 hours, then you’ll “force” yourself to concentrate.
- Create a to do list. By creating a to do list you can know where to focus your energies on the tasks at hand.
- Know your rhythm. I always do work in the morning because that is when I am most productive. Know when you’re the most productive, and always do work then.
- Wake up early. Waking up at 8 and being done with work at 10 still gives you the whole day!
- Get a smart phone. The iPhone has really come in handy for me. With the ability to check emails while waiting for planes or trains, I can kill time and get some work done.
These tips have helped me become better at managing my time so that work doesn’t completely take over my life. Hopefully, these tips will help you manage the balance a little on the road.