Digital nomads will often encounter problems with how productive they are on a day-to-day basis. When you’re constantly being overwhelmed with new locations, new cultures and entirely new experiences, it can be difficult to convince yourself to sit down at a desk for several hours each day and actually get your work done quickly.
What’s more, with the multitude of distractions that non-traditional workplaces can present (we’re talking busy coffee shops, buzzing coworking spaces, and the mass of noises you have to drown out when forced to work from your hostel common room!), it’s no wonder that many digital nomads find themselves taking far too long on one single task - and questioning why they are spending more time working than they are enjoying the freedom of their lifestyle!
Whether you’re suffering with a real lack of productivity, or just want to get that bit more efficient in your responsibilities, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve listed the very best apps available to boost your productivity as a remote worker!
Check out the apps mentioned below and see how they transform your approach to your workload each day. We've picked them either because we use them to get stuff done, or because we know that the app itself is a well thought out aid that people in r=the remote working community are using
Trello is a project management application that tracks everything - from big picture projects to the minute details of an intricate plan. Trello allows you to organise your projects into boards, creating individual cards for each element that you can then sort into lists depending on the topic or how far along you are in your project.
Another great feature of Trello is that you can share your boards with clients or colleagues, allowing everyone to check the progress of a project when working remotely without having to contact other people first!
For us at WiFi Tribe, Trello is a must - it helps everyone stay focused and on track with their to-do lists and allows us to plan effectively and prioritise accurately the things that are urgent and must be completed asap, as well as the "that would be nice" pieces of work. We love it, and we wouldn't be without it.
Asana is another project management tool widely promoted by digital nomads who work in teams across the world. Asana allows you to track projects and their progress from start to finish with to-do lists, group chats, reminders and more, all integrated into one place.
Whether you’re working in a team of remote workers, or need a detailed project management tool for the launch of a website or new product, Asana is a fantastic tool that can boost your productivity immensely.
If you work in a remote team, Slack is a brilliant instant messaging tool that saves all conversations and allows information to easily be searched for.
Slack is perfect for remote teams with members working in different time-zones and in different countries. Teams can set up a group chat and make it known when they are online - all comments are instantly saved so that when someone logs on a few hours later, they can see exactly what has been discussed and update their colleagues accordingly.
You can also share files, and create new threads for each topic, essentially acting as a tool that integrates popular other digital nomad apps such as Skype, Hangouts, Dropbox and more.
We use Slack every day of the week and what we do would be much, much harder without it so we would thoroughly recommend Slack to stay connected with both colleagues and clients! Internally we use it to give each other updates, share ideas, video call, share documents and just generally encourage one another. For all our Tribers across the globe, they use it to stay connected, organise meetups, share information and find out what exciting events are coming up. So in short, we can testify that as an app, Slack is incredibly flexible which is good. In addition to this, when a page is loading you get kind, encouraging messages coming from the Slack team. Super cute.
Slack has various different packages in terms of monthly subscriptions etc - please check out the link to see which package would be right for you and the needs of your team.
Do you ever read an article or two that you know would come in handy for your work in the future? Evernote allows you to clip those articles to an assigned Notebook specifically for that topic, allowing you to easily access all the research you need when the time comes.
Essentially, Evernote is an online organizer, allowing you to collect everything to matters all in one place and declutter your life - both physically and online.
A really great feature of Evernote for digital nomads is Scannable. This feature can capture the paper you own in a high-quality scan that can be saved to your Evernote account or shared when needed - this is perfect for saving a quality online copy of your passport, travel documents, medical cards etc without having to carry paper copies of all your important documents all over the world with you!
The LastPass plugin can be an invaluable tool for digital nomads, storing and managing your passwords for a range of websites and applications in one single place.
Once you have signed up for LastPass and installed the plugin in your browser, it will capture your login credentials when you first visit a new website. You can then select your login details from LastPass everytime you return to that site, or have the plugin log you in automatically.
LastPass is extremely useful for digital nomads who may have a multitude of clients and websites they need to remember passwords for, and LastPass makes this far securer than using the same password across the internet. Of course, you will just need to make sure your LastPass password is as strong as possible!
6. iA Writer
iA Writer is a minimalist plan text editor designed to allow you to focus solely on your writing. It is a fantastic, simple tool for any digital nomad who struggles with getting focused to write as it removes any distractions from your laptop allowing you to focus only on the words.
This app can be used for iPhone, Mac and iPad and is free to use, although the Writer Pro version does have a few more features that people writing every single day may find useful, such as different typefaces, colours, and workflow options.
Tracking your expenses is an essential part of making the digital nomad lifestyle sustainable, but it can be tricky keeping track of every stray receipt and purchase. However, Expensify makes this task so much easier, allowing you to photograph your receipts and store them in digital form.
Expensify can also track your mileage using your phone’s GPS, so if you are eligible, you can claim refunds for things like business trips etc.
Productivity doesn’t just rely on tools to make you more efficient - in order to be more productive, you need to be in the right mindset to focus. Headspace has proven itself as a fantastic resource for anyone who needs a little time out throughout the day, providing guided meditation and mindfulness training in bite-sized sessions.
Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, and we all know that as fun as travelling can be, it can also be pretty stressful! Try downloading the Headspace app and practice a few minutes of meditation each day to reset and refocus yourself.
World Time Buddle is an online meeting scheduler, world clock and time zone converter. As a digital nomad, you’ll often be working with people in completely different time zones to you, and that can make scheduling phone calls and meetings tricky - not to mention keeping tabs on the actual time a project is due in.
This useful tool allows you to compare multiple time zones and seamlessly plan conference calls, meetings and more in a way that suits everyone you are working with.
Many social media managers now work remotely, and many other remote jobs involve some element of social media, so keeping track of the things you read as you scroll is a useful habit to get into.
The Pocket app acts as a bookmark organizer for any content you see while scrolling through your (or your client’s) social media feeds. A great bonus of this app is that it can work offline, allowing you to save material for later - ideal for anyone researching for content on social media, or just if you want to save the odd funny video to watch in a respite from your work!
The working hours for the typical digital nomad are varied and far outside of the traditional 9 to 5; with clients in different time zones and flexible working hours, many digital nomads find themselves working late at night or early in the morning in order to have their days free to explore (or rest!) as they please.
However, being up late on your laptop can seriously affect your sleeping habits, leaving you unable to get some much needed rest after a busy evening working. F.lux is a handy piece of software that you can download onto your laptop, and it will automatically adjust the colour of your screen’s display to the time of the day.
Staying refreshed and well rested is just as important for your productivity as tools that can make your workload easier to manage, so f.lux can have a real positive impact on your working habits as you travel.
Spotted by Locals is a great resource packed full of recommendation for local things to do, places to see, coffee shops and restaurants to check out and more. The site has tons of recommendations for all major European cities, and is also expanding into North America in order to provide a complete resource of things to see and do when you’re living in a new location.
Not only is this site great for sourcing out smaller, unknown places to work but it’s also a great place to look for things to do on your days away from your laptop - which is just as important as the time you spend working!
Focus@Will uses a scientific approach to provide white noise and relaxing sounds in order to keep you focused when working.
The site asks you a few questions, determines the best type of music for you, and provides a music channel that the site reports has been proven to increase focus and productivity x4. If you find the background noise of the spaces you work in too distracting for you to focus, this could be the app that transforms how you approach your work load.
Any.do is a fantastic life manager with over 15 million users worldwide. It’s simple design is easy to understand, and the features including time and location based reminders and the any.do assistant make this app a real help to all digital nomads.
The app allows you to keep all events, tasks, lists and more in one place, can sync instantly across iOS, desktop, and Android, and will also allow you to share and assign tasks with others you work with for optimum efficiency.
15. Google Drive
Finally, Google Drive is a simple and yet priceless addition to any digital nomad’s bank of tools. The app allows you to work on documents, spreadsheets and more while automatically saving as you work - an absolute lifesaver if your laptop is ever to fail or run out of battery on you unexpectedly!
What’s more, Google Drive saves all your work on a cloud-based platform, allowing you to access your files from any device, anywhere in the world. You can also then share these documents via email, or within drive itself for a seamless experience when conversing with your clients.
Again, for us, Google Drive has been a lifesaver. It's kept us out of trouble when our laptops have switched off unexpectedly. We share documents and can edit them and be using them at the same time which is awesome. It also helps to alleviate some of the anxiety around not having a Microsoft office package - it'll get you through the basics and you have the added benefit of not having to store your docs directly on your computer. So if whilst having fun, you drop your laptop in the sea, it's not a complete disaster, it's just mostly a disaster!
So those are our top picks but we know that in the app world, things are ever changing so we want to know; do you have an app that you couldn’t be without? Share your best apps for boosting your productivity with us and your other freelancers in the comments section below!
Yaz Purnell is a copywriter and social media manager, and has been loving the digital nomad lifestyle since the beginning of 2017. When she’s not sharing her best tips on making working on the road a sustainable, enjoyable adventure, Yaz loves getting outdoors and finding new and exciting experiences to have in every new destination.