Being a digital nomad can be a fantastic, free lifestyle. However, productivity needs to be a priority to ensure you get as much done, as quickly as possible. Here are some great tips to be productive.
Tip #1 – Self-Control – Learning How To Choose What’s Really Important
As a digital nomad, every day offers chances to have an adventure. Temptations to do something fun surround you. If you want to build your career and maintain your nomad lifestyle, you need to learn how to say “No” and stay on task.
You need to learn how to choose between adventures that are “once in a lifetime” and those average everyday events that can be done tomorrow. Consciously choose to work on your career and you’ll quickly reach the top. If you learn how to say “No” to the ordinary temptations, you free up time to go on real adventures when they come up.
Tip #2 – Use Your Commute Times To Free Up Adventure Time
Your nomadic life is filled with commutes and travel. If you learn to leverage those times to get work done, you free up time to enjoy the destination once you arrive.
I work on tasks during all my waiting times. I can finish a few tasks while I wait for food to be delivered at a restaurant, wait for the bus to arrive, or while sitting in an airport. You can keep yourself updated on your business through podcasts, catch-up on email, or plan your schedule while waiting in lines.
One of my biggest productivity tools is a simple notebook. I fill it up with notes, ideas, and outlines for content during all of my little waits. I even use a pencil and paper when I am tired of staring at the computer screen.
Tip #3 – Use Tools To Keep You Organized And Increase Productivity
I have a few apps I use constantly. These apps keep me organized, focused, and make sure I’m always working on the right task now. Remember, you should only choose the tools you can use everywhere, or with a quick, easy cheap VPN. They need to be accessible from your phone, tablet, and tablet.
Here are some of the most important apps on my devices (all of these offer free options for you to try):
- Asana – If you have trouble staying organized and on task, you need Asana. It provides you with project management, lists, and life management.
- Google Suites – Create documents, share files, make presentations, store files. Google Suites will become the backbone of your nomadic life.
- Hootsuite – Social media management and posting on steroids.
- Skype – Keeping in contact worldwide. Use Skype for video meetings and voice calls.
- Canva – Create stunning graphics and designs in minutes.
- Meeting Planner – Schedule meetings across the globe and timelines without worrying about time conversions.
- LastPass – Keep all of your passwords organized, safe, and ready in a single place.
Tip #4 – Combining Work And Sightseeing
Context switching helps me to stay more productive. It’s also a great way to explore a place while you’re working. Bring your laptop and visit a neighboring town, head to a beach café, or just another part of the city you’re based in.
There are days when sitting in a hotel room trying to work seems impossible. This is when I grab my laptop, notes, and backpack and find a cool place to work. Head out to a beach café, a cool looking park, or over to the next town. A change in scenery can get your mind back in gear and increase your productivity.
Your nomadic lifestyle gives you the freedom to work from anywhere. I have worked in busy malls, on ferry boats, vineyards, beaches, jungles, deserts, and more cafes and restaurants than I can count. Changes in the scenery and the energy of people moving around you will reinvigorate you.
If you discover it is impossible for you to work while sightseeing, then plan your time so you can spend more time in your hotel or home, and plan your adventures outside your blocked work time.
Tip #5 – Work During Your Most Productive Hours
One of the coolest advantages is being able to work when you want. With a little experimentation, you will discover which hours of the day are most productive for you. You can plan to work during those hours and use your least productive hours for fun. During your productive hours, you need to focus intensely on your work and get it done. Working hard for a few hours frees up the rest of the day to do what you want.
I suggest you hunt down the posts by Andy Frisella. Andy and other influencers talk about staying focused, but Andy talks extensively about “No Excuses”, which is a mantra you need to adopt. When it is time to work, get to it.
Tip #6 – Schedule Enough Time Between Location Jumps
I know. It is tempting to jump from one location to another rapid fire. You need to avoid getting into that habit. You should plan enough time at each destination to allow for work time. You need time to unwind, relax, and get your workload handled, plus having time to enjoy the sights. If you take a little extra time at each location, you can get your jobs done and enjoy the Fiesta or Island getaway guilt free.
One way to avoid jumping around too quickly is to travel without a plan. That’s how I do it. I go to a destination, discover what I want to do, plan my work, and enjoy the location fully before planning my next jump.
Tip #7 – Tell New Friends About Your Work
You are going to make new friends at every destination. Make sure you tell them about your work so they understand why you are hiding in the hotel for the day. They will understand and keep you informed of events you might be interested in, but won’t keep interrupting your work. You will quickly discover many of them have the same challenges. You will get lots of questions about your lifestyle and a bit of jealousy. Stay disciplined and get the work done, so you can continue to enjoy the life you chose.
Tip #8 – Discover Your Energy Increasers
Keeping your energy high is important. This is usually tied to other areas of your life.
Do you need fixed routines to be productive? Some people need to schedule their work during the same hours every day to be productive. (Luckily I’m not one of them.) Figure out what works best for you and adapt your life. Make sure your goals are flexible.
Personally, I like to work in comfortable places. I can work easily in a hotel lobby, restaurant booth, or in the hotel room. As long as I can sit comfortably and spread out my work, I’m good. Make sure to include time for other life goals, too. Plan time to exercise, eat properly, explore, and to socialize.
Tip #9 – Evaluate, Re-Aim, And Improve
You are going to suck at the start of working as a nomad. I did and everyone I know did. You improve by evaluating what you did each week and setting goals to improve. Look at how you scheduled your time, what you did, and your productivity. Decide what worked and what didn’t. Do more of what works, and eliminate what doesn’t. Decide what you can improve on and do it. Don’t forget to take your feelings into account. It’s really that simple.
Writing down your thoughts in a journal during the week makes reviewing your progress easy. I use a journal app for both work and personal journaling.
Perfection is not going to happen. Don’t count on it. You are going to have good days and bad days. Expect them and you eliminate half the stress immediately. This brings us to an important item.
Tip #10 – Take Time Off From Work
Your friends will think this sounds crazy since they think you are on a constant vacation. Just like people cooped up in their cubicles, you need to take time off to recharge. Plan a few weeks every year where you can completely unwind and just have fun.
You are an entrepreneur, which mean the work is never finished. You finish a client’s project and immediately switch to marketing, bookkeeping, or other tasks until the next client project starts. It is an endless cycle unless you plan time off. You will quickly notice how often you need to schedule a break or mini-break. When you feel your productivity declining, it is time to recharge.
It takes practice. I hated taking time off in the past until I noticed I was starting to make excuses not to get work done. It became apparent my productivity would improve if I scheduled “time-off”. I block a minimum of one full-week off per year and several mini-vacations in between. It helps me see the big picture and reflect on recent events. The feeling of peace and energy following a break is incredible.