If I had a nickel every time someone said to me “How do you plan on staying productive as a Digital Nomad while traveling the world? Won’t your boss notice?”
Traveling abroad and working remotely isn’t easy, but it’s 100% worth it for the right person. I love being a Digital Nomad. I can’t believe that some of us lucky few get to customize our “office” and keep our jobs while exploring the world.
With that being said, it isn’t easy.
These are my favorite tips for staying productive as a Digital Nomad.
#18 Find coworking spaces
Do your research weeks before boarding your plane to your destination. No two coworking places are alike and you’ll need to decide which is best for you. Just be sure wherever you choose has two things: high speed wifi internet, and coffee. Trust me, that combo will be all you need to navigate this crazy Digital Nomad life.
#17 Set up your Wifi Internet Immediately
When you touch down in the city you’ll be living in, the first thing you need to do is purchase a sim card or portable wifi modem. Most airports have a kiosk to purchase sim cards with wifi and data plans.
I’m an AT&T customer and have used the Passport package when I’m traveling, but now purchase data sim cards at convenience stores to save money.
#16 Work Opposite Your Office’s Hours
Of course, you’ll have to customize this based on the needs of your work and office routine. However, I truly recommend working the opposite time of the day from office hours in their timezone. Not constantly refreshing your email inbox will allow you to accomplish more throughout the day without having to pause and respond to emails or get sidetracked throughout the day.
Your 8 hour day just transformed into a 6 hour day! That leaves more time to explore and adventure.
#15 Make Conference Calls
Go-To Meeting and Facetime will become your new best friends. Familiarize yourself with conference call apps to keep in touch with your team and clients. They’ll appreciate the face time (no pun intended) and you’ll be able to assure them you’re hard at work even though not in the country.
#14 Purchase Noise Cancelling Headphones
This one is going to save your sanity if you regularly work in cafes or public spaces. It’s worth the investment to spend a little extra cash on great headphones, especially if they pull double-duty for noise-cancelling on long haul flights.
#13 Learn Google Drive
Google Drive allows you to work on documents congruently with your team at the same time. I especially use this feature when brainstorming ideas with teammates. All your changes save automatically in your Google Drive so you never have to sweat if you forgot to save your work.
#12 Use Your Notes App
Whenever I have an idea or thought that I just know I’ll forget in 5 minutes, I write a note to myself in the “notes” app in my iphone or Stickies if you use a Mac computer.
#11 Make It a Competition
Create a to-do list in 1 hour spurts. Challenge youreself to accomplish all tasks within that time frame and give yourself a small reward, like 10 minutes of Facebook time, if you “win.”
#10 Block Social Networking Sites
Speaking of Facebook reward time, this is impossible for me, as I am a Social Media Manager, but I’ve heard excellent reviews about programs like Cold Turkey and Freedom. If you need virtual blinders to keep you focused, start there.
#9 One-Tab Tt
Keep it simple and work one task at a time. If that’s naturally difficult for you as a working style, check yourself by only allowing one tab at a time. This will keep you focused on the task at hand without feeling tempted to get distracted.
#8 Make Your Desk a Home
Whether this is choosing a dedicated desk at a coworking space or working from home, create a space that feels like “home”. Include any office supplies you need, hang photos that make you happy, add a succulent for good energy and keep extra office supplies such as electronics chargers in your drawers.
Keep a reusable water bottle with you all day. Staying hydrated keeps the brain juices flowing and also gives you an excuse to walk around and refill your bottle throughout the day. I try to drink a bottle of water for every 2 hours of work – minimum.
#6 Silence Everything
Put your phone on silent mode for 60 minutes and do nothing but work. Save yourself the distractions from Instagram and text notifications. Better yet, during certain times of the year UNICEF Tap Project donates money everytime you put your phone down. Saving the world, and being productive? It’s a win-win.
#5 Take Breaks
Every 30 minutes get up from your seat and do a light stretch. Make it a habit and you’ll notice the quick breaks will increase your stamina so you can spend more time finishing your to-do list.
#4 Log Your Time
I personally use Freshbooks to log my time and productivity. This helps me and my employer stay on the same page of where my time is being spent and on what projects and document how efficiently I am accomplishing my tasks on a day-to-day basis.
#3 Create a Personalized Playlist
How many times do you stop working to skip a song you don’t like? Prevent this pesky distraction by creating your own playlists so you love every song and won’t have to skip songs. Pandora isn’t ideal for this, but I love my personalized Spotify playlist! And for just $10 a month, you can listen to music even when you’re not connected to wifi.
#2 Know When You Work Best
Knowing if you work better as a morning person or night owl is essential. Crank out as much as you can during the times of day you are most productive and sight see the other part of the day. Since becoming a Digital Nomad, I’ve found that the 3pm – 9pm timeframe works best for me, and I can’t ever imagine going back to the 9-5 grind.
#1 Dress for Success
I am a firm believer in dressing nicely to get you in the mindset of working. In college, while other students took exams in sweatshirts and yoga pants, I always dressed professionally and I swear it helped me get better test scores. If you work from home, skip the pajamas and dress like you would if you were going into the office.
What is your best advice for completing tasks as a Digital Nomad? Let me know in the comments!