As Digital Nomads we have to juggle a lot at once: working (often for ourselves), travelling to wonderful new places always searching for good wifi wherever we go. We also have to stay productive, keep in touch with family and friends and get all our work done so we can enjoy ourselves and explore new countries.
But don’t despair, because the secret to it all is in the name: digital nomad. We have access to a host of incredible tools that helps us stay focused, organised and on track. Here are our top 13 productivity tools for Digital Nomad Girls:
Let’s get started!
There are hundreds if not thousands of project management tools available and it’s so hard to pick the right one. Don’t worry about looking through them all because we’ve picked our favourite ones for you: Asana and Trello.
Trello is available for free for smartphone and desktop and you can use it to basically organise your whole life. Based around project boards and cards, it’s a visual tool that is simple, flexible and even fun. You can add different members if you’re working on a collaboration, assign due dates to different tasks that are added to the integrated project calendar. Team members can use the message function which makes communication quick and easy. Plan any project, from your start-up to your next visa run or family holiday with Trello.
Asana is another free tool that is really popular for project management, especially if you’re working with a team. Asana is list-based but now also offers card view, similar to Trello. We really like that you can set recurring tasks, assign tasks to team members and set due dates for each task which then show up in one central calendar. It’s definitely a powerful tool and can help you organise anything from projects to your blog or a whole launch.
While Trello is perfect to plan any project, Evernote is like your virtual filing cabinet. Need to keep a receipt? Snap a pic of it and file it away in Evernote. Lost that business card of that awesome girl you met at a networking event? No problem, because you’ve snapped a pic and filed it away carefully. You can add to-do lists and create folders for every aspect of your life. Don’t worry about carrying important documents around with you, they are all safely stowed away in Evernote.
If you’re like me you’ve spent many hours of your life cursing at the screen because you can’t remember a password. We are told we should use unique passwords for every site we log in to, but seriously, there’s just no way to remember a million passwords without help.
But don’t worry, your life will be much easier soon. Introducing LastPass, a FREE password management system, that helps you keep track of all your passwords and even helps you create safe ones, so you don’t have to use your birthday anymore. It’s easy to use and even available for smartphone for a small fee. Never fight with your passwords again.
Work Hard Anywhere is an Android and iOS app for freelancers, entrepreneurs and digital nomads to find wifi around the world. It’s basically a map that shows you cafes, libraries and coworking spaces around you with reliable wifi. They currently feature over 7800 places with wifi in over 1700 cities around the world. Users can add their favourite working spots, so the database is constantly growing.
If you have social media channels for your business you will want to use an app like Hootsuite to schedule your posts. Especially while in transit it can be a huge hassle to keep track of all your posts and platforms. And if you have to add different time zones into the equation it get’s really messy.
Hootsuite is free to use and will help you manage all your social media work, even if you’re on a 30 hour flight or on a multi-day jungle trek.
Nomad List is a great online resource that assigns a “Nomad Score” to destinations. The criteria taken into account are availability of high speed wifi, cost of living, weather and safety. It’s a great starting point to research potential new destinations and gives you 3 different monthly costs of living: local, expat and nomad. From our experience a realistic budget usually lies between the nomad and expat costs.
1-Click-Timer Chrome Extension
Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers on the market, and for good reason. One of the features that makes Chrome so awesome for Digital Nomads is the extensive library of free Chrome extensions. We will soon feature our favourite Chrome extensions in a separate post, but we wanted to mention a really cool one here: 1-click-timer is a super simple timer that is used for the Pomodoro technique.
Pomodoro means you set yourself a timer (a simple kitchen timer works, but is a bit cumbersome to travel with) for a certain amount of time and then work on one task or project without distractions for that amount of time. Between two Pomodoros you take a break of a few minutes to rest your eyes, and recharge a bit. The 1-Click-Timer extension is one of the best timer apps we found and is one of our favourite productivity tools for digital nomad girls.
It’s so hard to pick just one communication tool, but Slack is definitely our favourite one. It’s super simple, works on all devices and lets you streamline your messages by using different channels. Slack is really easy to set up and free to use. You can also customise your notification settings for each channel to make sure you take some time off and unplug once in a while.
What did we DO before Google Drive? I seriously have no idea. Google Drive is one the best tools to store your documents and files on the cloud. You only need a Gmail address to log-in to your Google Drive and Google even gives you 15GB for free, which is plenty. It’s such a great tool to share documents and photos with people and you can adjust the privacy of each document or folder separately which is often really helpful. Google Docs and Sheets basically replaces Word and Excel and all your files can be accessed from around the world. If you’re not using it yet, you’re missing out.
Another one of those tools where you ask yourself how you ever managed without it. Calendly is a simple appointment scheduling tool. You create a profile, set up different types of meetings (15-minutes, 30-minutes etc) and fill in your availability. Then you send out your custom Calendly link to your clients and friends and they can pick a time that works for them and book an appointment with you.
The best feature is that Calendly takes your time zone and that of the person booking the appointment into account. This means never missing skype calls again or showing up on (your) time just to realise the other person is still asleep. It has a free version to sue that supports one type of event (I use the 30-minute event) or you can pay a fee to enable more events and unlock other features.
If you’re not using Zapier yet, you’re seriously losing out on some productivity magic. Zapier basically lets you connect all your favourite tools, helping to automate your processes. For example, if you’re using Typeform (which you should) for a survey or as an application form, you can create a Zap (that’s what the connections are called) between Typeform and Trello (for example). Every time someone fills in your Typeform, Zapier automatically creates a new card on a list on board that you specified. And that’s just one of millions of options!
An oldie but goodie, Skype is still one of the best ways to communicate with people and whole teams world wide. No matter if you want to call your gran for her birthday or if you have an important conference call with your boss back home, use Skype for hassle free audio and video calls. You can even call landlines and mobile phones for a fraction of what it would cost to use your mobile or a hotel phone. Skype also lets you hold calls with multiple people and you can share your screen which can be super useful.
With so many awesome (and free!) tools you can stay productive and save precious time that is better spent exploring and making new friends. Are you using any of these tools? Or do you have other favourite tools? Please share in the comments below!
Disclaimer: Some of the links used here are affiliate links. What does that mean? It means that at no cost to you, we will receive a small commission if you use our link to sign up to some of these tools. We never recommend any tools that we don’t love to use ourselves. So, It’s basically a win-win 🙂