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Overcoming Jet Lag: Tips for Managing Workload and Meeting Deadlines as a Digital Nomad

Last Updated on 07 May 2023

Jet lag is a phenomenon that affects people who travel across time zones frequently. It occurs when the body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for regulating sleep and wake cycles, are disrupted, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, irritability, headaches, and digestive discomfort. This condition can interfere with your productivity and impact your ability to meet deadlines, which is a significant challenge for digital nomads.

However, managing workload and meeting deadlines doesn’t have to be a struggle. With the right strategies, digital nomads can overcome jet lag and stay productive while traveling. In this blog post, we explore some techniques that can help you manage workload and meet deadlines effectively.

Plan Ahead

The first step in managing workload and meeting deadlines as a digital nomad is to plan ahead. It would help if you created a detailed schedule of your travel itinerary, including flight times, layovers, and arrival times. This way, you can anticipate the time differences for each destination and adjust your sleeping patterns and work schedule accordingly. Planning ahead will also give you an idea of when you may experience jet lag and prepare you for it.

When planning your itinerary, it is essential to schedule a rest day after a long flight. This allows your body to adjust to the time difference at a slower pace and prevent burnout. You can use this day to get some rest, explore your destination, or catch up on work that needs your immediate attention.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is crucial to mitigating the effects of jet lag. It would help if you maintained a consistent sleep schedule according to the destination time zone. This way, your body can adapt to the new schedule quickly. It would be best if you also made sure to get enough sleep before your trip, as exhaustion can make jet lag symptoms worse.

Investing in a comfortable travel pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask can make sleeping on planes and in unfamiliar hotel rooms more comfortable. You can also practice good sleep habits, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime and creating a relaxing bedtime routine to help you fall asleep faster.


Dehydration is a common symptom of jet lag and can exacerbate other symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and digestive discomfort. It is essential to stay hydrated throughout your trip, especially during flights where the air is dry. Carry a refillable water bottle and drink plenty of fluids, such as water, coconut water, or electrolyte drinks.

It would be best to avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and soda, as they can dehydrate you. Additionally, try to limit your intake of processed and fatty foods, as they can cause digestive discomfort that can interfere with your sleep and work.

Eat Healthily

Eating a healthy and balanced diet can help mitigate the effects of jet lag. It would be best to consume nourishing and wholesome foods that provide you with the energy and nutrients you need to stay productive. This can include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.

If you are traveling to a new destination, try to sample the local cuisine and indulge in new foods. However, make sure to avoid overeating, especially before bedtime. It would be best to have smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels consistent.

Adjust to the New Time Zone

As soon as you arrive at your destination, try to get your body adjusted to the new time zone. This means exposing yourself to daylight at the appropriate time and avoiding napping during the day, as this can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

Taking a walk outside in the sunlight can help reset your body’s clock after a long flight. If you arrive early in the day, try to stay awake until nighttime to reduce the chances of waking up too early in the morning. If you arrive at night, try to get some sleep to give your body the rest it needs to adjust.

Break up Your Workload

As a digital nomad, you need to break up your workload and avoid working long hours that can lead to burnout. Working long hours can also make it harder for you to adjust to the new time zone, which can affect your productivity. Create a schedule that allows you to take regular breaks throughout the day to stretch, meditate or exercise. This will help you increase productivity and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

You can also try to keep your workload manageable by prioritizing tasks that need immediate attention and delegating tasks that can wait. Breaking up your workload can also help you balance work and leisure time, allowing you to explore your destination and get some rest.

Plan Your Work Schedule According to Your Energy Levels

As your body adjusts to the new time zone, you may experience dips in energy levels throughout the day. Plan your work schedule according to your energy levels, tackling your most demanding tasks when you feel most energetic. If you feel energetic in the morning, prioritize your work early in the day. If your energy levels dip in the afternoon, allocate this time for more administrative work or take a break to recharge your batteries.

You can also try to work in short bursts of focus, such as the Pomodoro technique, where you work for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break. This can help you stay focused and productive throughout the day.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

As a digital nomad, you have access to several tools and applications that can help you manage your workload effectively. Use productivity apps, time-tracking software, and communication tools to stay organized and efficient, regardless of where you are. You can also use collaboration tools to work with your team remotely, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Take advantage of apps that help you track your sleep, such as SleepScore or Sleep Cycle, to monitor your sleep patterns and adjust your schedule accordingly. Tools like Headspace or Calm can help you meditate and relax, reducing stress and improving your sleep quality.

Allow Time for Self-Care

Self-care is an essential aspect of managing jet lag as a digital nomad. Traveling frequently can be stressful, and without proper self-care, it can lead to burnout and compromise your productivity. Allocate time for self-care activities to maintain your physical and mental health during your travels. This can include meditation, yoga, exercise, massages, or even a relaxing bath.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice that involves being present and aware of your surroundings. It can help you manage stress, improve your focus, and reduce the effects of jet lag. Incorporate mindfulness practices into your routine, such as deep breathing, mindful walking, or meditation. These practices can help you stay grounded and centered throughout your travels.

Stay Connected with Your Support System

As a digital nomad, you may often feel isolated and disconnected from the people you love. Maintaining a connection with your loved ones and support system can help you manage jet lag and stay productive. Schedule regular video calls with your friends and family to keep in touch and seek support when you need it.

Know When to Take a Break

Sometimes, managing workload and meeting deadlines can become overwhelming, especially when jet lag or other stressors are involved. Knowing when to take a break is essential to avoid burnout and maintain productivity. Take time to rest, recharge, and prioritize your health. This could mean taking a day off work, going for a walk, or engaging in an activity that you enjoy.

Be Flexible

Flexibility is a crucial aspect of managing jet lag as a digital nomad. Despite your best efforts, you may experience unexpected delays or circumstances that can impact your schedule. Be flexible and adapt to changes as they arise. This can mean changing your itinerary or adjusting your work schedule to accommodate unforeseen events.

Prioritize Your Sleep

Sleep is an essential component of managing jet lag. Prioritize your sleep by creating a conducive sleep environment, such as reducing noise, using a comfortable mattress and pillows, and avoiding temperature extremes. Establish a pre-sleep routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath, to help you relax before bedtime.

Celebrate Your Successes

Finally, celebrate your successes as a digital nomad. Managing workload and meeting deadlines while coping with jet lag is no easy feat, and it’s essential to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. Celebrate your successes by treating yourself to a nice meal or indulging in an activity that you enjoy. This will help you stay motivated and maintain a positive attitude as you continue your digital nomad journey.


In conclusion, managing workload and meeting deadlines as a digital nomad requires a combination of planning, self-care, flexibility, and mindfulness. By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can overcome the effects of jet lag and stay productive while traveling. Remember to prioritize your health and well-being, stay connected with your support system, and celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem.

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