As a recent convert to the life of a digital nomad, I’ve discovered the joys of exploring new locations while I work. I’ve also discovered how distracting it can be to be in an exciting new place all the time.
It took me a while to figure out that what works best for me is to allocate time for trying new things each day – whether it’s a morning surf lesson, an evening walking tour, or an extended lunch break to go for a walk and chat with a fellow nomad. This prevents me from feeling like I’m missing out on the benefits of being in a new location by working all the time. And the ability to set my own schedule means I can allocate my time appropriately so I work more during other hours of the day.
I’ve also looked for ways to make my work days more efficient so I have the time to take those breaks or explore on the weekends while still getting all of my work done.
Here are a few tools I’m using to enhance my productivity:
Of course, you can’t be productive without fast WiFi. The WiFi Map app crowdsources WiFi passwords for locations all around the world. Use it to find your office space for the day or search for WiFi passwords in transit locations.
I find working in a coworking space to be incredibly motivating. Watching others working hard makes you feel you want to too. Plus you’ve got built-in colleagues to chat with at llunchtime You never know what you might learn from them, and taking time away from your work can be a great way to inspire a more productive afternoon. Desk Near Me allows you to find an appropriate space and book it online.
If you are going to be in a coworking space, you never know how lively or full of chatter it’s going to be. Noise-cancelling headphones can be a godsend for keeping your head down and signaling to others that you’re focusing on work.
A recent study showed that 20% of remote workers think project management tools are most useful for staying connected with their teams. I use Asana for my task list. It’s super simple and I can share my tasks with colleagues or my boss so they’re well aware of what I’m working on. I’d recommend getting both the desktop and the mobile app, so you can add new tasks easily on the fly and sync across your devices.
Time tracking is a great way to get more efficient by being aware of how long each task is taking you. I use AND CO for this, and find that it helps me to determine how much I should be charging for certain things, and to plan ahead for scheduling similar tasks in the future. It also has an invoicing feature that pre-populates invoices based on the time I’ve tracked.
A lot of time can be wasted in your emails each day. Boomerang has an ‘inbox pause’ option so you aren’t distracted by new emails until you’re ready to be. It also has options to remind you about emails at specified times, which is great if you’re like me and prefer to get to ‘inbox zero’ every day.
The Pomodoro Technique is used to help you focus on one task and also take regular breaks to keep you productive. This Tomato Timer times your 25-minute stints as well as your 5-minute breaks for you.
When all your work is online, there are myriad distractions just a click away. Whether you typically get distracted by Instagram, Youtube, or something else, you can block yourself from accessing it during work time using the Freedom app. The app also syncs across all of your devices (for anyone who needs a little extra security).
Google Docs has been a lifesaver for me. Not only does it mean my work is always safe since everything saves automatically in the cloud, it also means I can collaborate on documents easily and simultaneously with other team members. Offline working also means I can be productive even when on a plane or bus, or when the WiFi is down. Just make sure you set it up while you do have WiFi.
With all of these apps and tools, you’ll soon have a huge number of passwords and login names to keep track of. Save time on password recovery by using this master password software that collects them all for you securely.
Make the most of your lifestyle
Taking the time to get yourself set up with a few useful tools will save you tons of time in the long-run, so you’ve got more time to make the most of seeing new places – likely the whole reason you chose this lifestyle in the first place.
Sophie is a content strategist and growth marketer. As a digital nomad currently working from South America, she’s seeking the perfect integration of work, life and travel. She writes about traveling and living mindfully on her blog, Vuja De View.