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10 Productivity Hacks for Digital Nomads

July 15, 2019

Part of the reason you love your lifestyle as a digital nomad is the freedom it offers, which is the reason some people in your life don't really understand what you do. All that freedom doesn't make sense to certain generations, and that is okay.

Truth be told, digital nomads may be free, but that does not mean there is no schedule to follow. Your lifestyle depends on your productivity, which is the reason you need to grab hold of it and take control.

In my digital marketing agency, Break The Web, we embrace the individuality of our team members by giving this type of freedom. While our agency is headquartered in New York City, we’re a 100% remote operation, and many of our most valued talents have been able to successfully maintain their workload, while still traveling the world as a digital nomad.

While freedom and flexibility is the most appealing aspect of this lifestyle, there are still rules to follow to maintain income and productivity. The following 10 productivity hacks should help you do that.

1. Slow Travel

You've probably got a schedule already, and you have a goal to meet each day, but one thing you might be doing that could be hurting your productivity is traveling like a tourist.

As a nomad, you travel, but do you have to hit each place you go to like a tourist that needs to see everything in a few short days? Choose a place, and stay there for a few weeks or months. You get to relax, spread out sightseeing, and give yourself time to continue working. This also allows you to get to know the place you are visiting a little better, especially if you stay for several months.

2. Co-Working

Human beings are funny creatures; for one, they love to follow the crowd, and you can harness that natural instinct to be more productive. What you want to do is hit places where you know other digital nomads are, like coffee shops, libraries, or the work room in your hotel.

Being around other digital workers can motivate you to continue working. You'll notice people working a few hours, and you'll want to do the same. You may even make friends who can help keep you focused, and you can return the favor.

3. Deadline First

You probably have a few things you have to do throughout the day, such as cook your meal, go out, or make calls to loved ones if you've been away long enough. You can do these things after you meet a deadline you create.

You know you have to eat, so you'll push yourself to finish quickly enough to enjoy a meal. Loved ones are expecting your call, and you do not want to disappoint them. Try to stick to this as much as you can because if you start cheating, it will defeat the purpose.

4. Know Strengths & Weaknesses

You are your own HR representative and as such, you have to understand what kind of worker you are. One thing you should definitely try to discover are the times during the day you are most productive or when you are able to concentrate best.

It is vital that work that requires your attention be moved to these time slots of the day, and leave the easier tasks for when your energy levels have gone down considerably. Keep a journal so that you can figure this out, and plan your day accordingly.

5. Divide and Conquer

As a traveler, you are going to have moments when you cannot get on the internet. Perhaps you are passing through a remote area where the signal is gone, or perhaps you're traveling on some small bus or vehicle where working is simply impossible. You know this is going to happen, or it might have happened already, so you need to plan accordingly.

Separate internet and non-internet tasks, such as editing or coming up with new work ideas. Take care of the stuff you can do without the internet so that you remain as productive as possible. The internet will come again soon, and you can do the rest of your work then.

6. Monitor Social use

Social media platforms are quite distracting. You work online, and you probably use your phone often as well. You may not think you are spending much time on social media, but those moments can add up.

That time could be eating into work time, so consider abstaining from these platforms, unless you are on your break or eating. Still, you need to monitor your time on social platforms, and you can do that with apps like AppDetox that tells you if you are spending too much time somewhere.

7. Inform, Inform

Would you ever tell a friend or family member who is at work to take care of your child or go out with you? The question sounds ludicrous, but the reality is many people you know may think it is okay to ask that of you simply because you work from a computer.

You need to make sure you tell friends, family members, and any new person you meet during your travels about your work. Inform them about your schedule and what times you are unavailable. Treat this information as serious as any other person treats their regular nine to five positions.]

8. Workstation Surprise

Think of workstation surprise as a game of roulette where you get to be in a different place throughout the day. You work from a laptop or a device, and that means you can work from anywhere, so use that to your advantage. The brain is in constant need of stimulation, and you can give it that by changing your workstation.

All you have to do is split up your work so that when you are done with one group of tasks you have to get done, you move on to your next location. This not only gives you an incentive to continue working; it also gives you a chance to explore more. You do not have to plan out where you work exactly, make it more of a game, and just let your smartphone guide you to the next workstation.

9. Productivity Share

No one likes to disappoint others, and if you are one of these people, then the HabitShare app might work for you. This app allows you to share your schedule with friends or family members. Your intentions are now out in the open, and people will be able to find out if you were able to stick to your guns.

Failing to do so might be a little embarrassing, and that could motivate you to keep your eye on the prize. Of course, this app also allows you to keep track of what others have planned. Go ahead and help them by cheering them on when you have the time. This app allows you to hide some tasks if you do not want people to know everything you do, but don't hide your work, which is pretty much why you're downloading this app.

For internal productivity tracking, the Timeular tracker has been a gamechanger for knowing where my day is spent. The device allows me to easily monitor my activity by simply turning the tracker over to a different side, while the data syncs to my laptop.

10. Use the Senses

The idea of using your senses to stay productive sounds a little strange, but it can work. You want to stay in areas where you see colors like yellow, which helps keep the mind alert. There are a number of other colors to consider, such as red, blue, or green if you aren't too fond of yellow.

You could also do the same with scents. Certain smells, like citrus or peppermint could help you feel more alert, while soothing scents like lavender can make you feel a little sleepy. Try to ensure you choose a workstation that already has these things or consider making a few changes to the air fresheners or soaps you use. Try to add colors to your work tools, such as your keyboard as an example.

Hopefully, these tips make it easier for you to stay on top of your work as a digital nomad. Most of these are pretty fun and work into the lifestyle, so give them a try to see which ones work best for you.

Once you've secured the flow to enhance productivity, you're opened up to indulge in the luxuries of the digital nomad lifestyle (like skydiving 🤪)

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