Living the Van Life: Productivity Hacks for Digital Nomads on the Road

Being a digital nomad while living in the van can raise questions about productivity compared to other non-traditional ways of living. We’ve put together some productivity hacks for your current and pending digital nomads living the van life.

Lucy Couser

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Smoozitive Magazine/Work & Career/Living the Van Life: Productivity Hacks for Digital Nomads on the Road

Having the means to work from wherever you are can also include the van life. Each night, waking up in a new location is our solace. A few things can make it difficult to keep your 9 to 5, but wanting a digital nomad life and productivity is one of them.

It can all be exciting at first. You are traveling while earning money so the travel never needs to come to an end and that’s what a lot of people strive for. While some of us would rather not work and just explore for those that are wanting that hybrid life, the question is over your shoulders will I be able to work and appreciate these new places at the same time?

Once you’ve embarked on your digital nomad journey, you are followed by urges to sack work off, have a nap or take a swim, but the harsh reality is that if you do that, you will lose that cushion that connects you back to base, to home and to a life that provides security. So you are probably wondering how you could stay productive on a day when the sun is shining bright and the unknown surrounds you. Here are some productivity hacks that I found the hard way.

It’s important to keep in mind that some of these will be entirely subjective to your type of work, the rules your workplace has and so forth.

How To Get Stuff Done While On The Road

Fast Connection​

Digital nomads can relate to traveling and having the worst luck staying connected or finding a strong connection to maintain a steady and productive workflow. You can only imagine how difficult this would be for an individual living on the road or traveling to areas where internet hotspots or local cafes provide. There is a quick answer and win to all this - a WIFI dongle and a SIM card with data on it. This is great for when your 4G isn’t working or simply if you don’t have unlimited.

Having a steady and reliable internet connection is a must for working on the road so find a provider you trust and make sure it’s all ready to go before embarking on your travels.

Change The Scenery​

Working within the four walls of your campervan can be unstimulating and possibly encourage you to do other things to avoid the work at hand, such as tidying the space around you or starting a whole new project. This isn’t good for your mind and isn’t going to look good at work so I would always suggest it when you can feel yourself itching for a change in the work environment. This could mean driving to a new location and sitting outside with a new view or trying to drive to a city centre car park and find the closest or quiet cafe and enjoy being a city girl for a couple of hours. Seeing other busy people can sometimes be the trick to motivating you.

Early Bird Catches The Worm​

As the old saying goes, waking up early can be the gateway for a lot of people to an extremely productive day. You might as well take full advantage of living on the road in beautiful places and try to catch a sunset before a long day’s work.

It also takes away the feeling that you only get up to work. Getting up early means you don’t have to travel anywhere, but you have more than enough time to get loads done, whether it’s a scenic run, making a full breakfast, watching a sunset or doing your skincare routine before a graft. You will feel ready and prepared for a long day of work.

Plan Ahead

The first thing you should do before embarking on your digital nomadic lifestyle is plan your work ahead of time. Whether you dedicate a day to planning your schedule once a month or not, you should always have an idea or rough timeline for all your projects. This will not only keep you on track but also keep you motivated throughout the month, especially when living on the road comes with other timelines. The timings all must work hand in hand.

Themed Days​

On a similar note to planning ahead, you might want to keep your week mixed and engaging by dedicating full days to certain tasks. For example, one day could be entirely dedicated to brainstorming or editing. This way, you can stay in the zone with some tasks and this just might be a more productive method compared to jumping from task to task without finishing one.


A technique that could help while you don’t have the motivation that comes from an office manager breathing down your neck is the famous Pomodoro technique. If you aren’t already familiar with this technique, it consists of having 25-minute bursts of uninterrupted work and then taking a five-minute break. Whether it’s stretching your legs or texting your loved ones back, you can do whatever you please. This technique, which was created in the hope of keeping individuals motivated and productive for a relatively short time, is also linked to producing higher quality pieces of work compared to a consistent workflow. That’s not to say that if you are in the zone and that timer goes off, you can work through it and then just have a bit of extra time when the steam runs out.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to staying productive on the road, it can come with a lot of trial and error. There is something that works for everyone but it’s important to remember to keep yourself stimulated and try new techniques until you find something that works for you. ​

Written by Lucy Couser

I am Lucy, 24, and I am from Manchester. I graduated a couple of years ago with a degree in creative writing. When I'm not reading romance novels, I am usually watching true crime documentaries, thrifting or traveling with my boyfriend in his campervan around the UK.

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