While there are many who call themselves ‘digital nomads,’ in some way, most of us are partially remote in our work. We might be in a park, on a plane, at the beach, on our couches, or hiking a mountain but somehow we manage to send emails, video-chat, create presentations, write reports and so much more on tiny handheld devices. We use mobile hotspots and external hard drives like people used to use the television remote and free-standing phone booths.
Today, whether we’re those who can take a computer and run their own empires wherever they roam or those who take that extra day off to play golf or watch their kids’ soccer game and manage to work from the field, many of us leverage apps and services designed for the digital nomadic life. Why work longer when we can work smarter? If we utilize the best of the thousands of apps out there, we get more time to grab that coffee with a friend, hike that mountain, or watch that sunset.
So, which are the best apps for amping productivity and improving quality of life? Read on.
Time Management Apps
Not ready to give up those precious hours of sleep just yet? Automating tasks is a definite time saver and also manages to keep all the details organized, so you’ll never forget to send that newsletter, write that post, send that tweet, or create that reminder. These apps will also help you stay on task and use that time more efficiently.
‘If This then That’ – One of the best automation tools for digital nomads.
Connect your accounts, adjust your ‘needs,’ and set the system loose on those recurring tasks that take time away from your day.
Designed for all the procrastinators, Toggl provides a better understanding of work flow, and time spent drifting away from preparing those invoices. It provides a mirror for your own work habits.
Do more in less time. Take a larger task and break it into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Track projects, create reports, find the best ways to stay focused and on task.
Time management affects project management. For those of us working with international teams spread out across continents and time zones, one of us is always awake while the others are fast asleep.
These project management tools allow for easy asynchronous communication without a plethora of ‘reply all’ emails at all hours of the day (and night). Set a task, respond to a question, comment on a suggestion, or talk to your team – these digital nomad services increase ease, access, and mobility for all types of projects.
Simple to use, great for collaboration and wonderfully organized.
Create cards, move them, get it done.
Asynchronous team communication, kept on track.
Perfect for those time sensitive projects that cross all time-zones.
Getting distracted is easy, staying focused is hard. Set yourself up for success with these apps that help manage workflow, keep your inbox from overflowing, and allow you to work on the go by holding all of your documents in neatly packed cloud folders. These digital nomad tools will keep your work day on task allowing more free time to sightsee, take in the culture of your surroundings, and interact with locals wherever you are.
Track your work in 25 minute intervals. Based on the Pomodoro Technique, you’ll feel the difference in your productivity.
Choose a focused work playlist, or create your own, and you’re ready to hit the zone.
Best Email Productivity Apps
You’ve seen those memes that show two types of people in the world – those with an inbox of zero and others with skyrocketing numbers. If, for whatever reason you’re in the latter, these apps will help separate the necessary from the ‘ready for trash’ bunch.
Email Reminders that work. Creates instant reminders for those emails that you want to follow up on but always forget.
A Chrome plugin that creates a pop up window with individual details for your contacts.
Effective emailing done right. Right from your phone.
Works with Gmail, Outlook, and Android – it’s most awesome feature is that it allows emails to be scheduled to arrive later on in the day.
Productivity Apps for Your Desktop and Laptop
Organize your digital space and file it away in your Mac. Alfred manages your desktop so it doesn’t look like your bed does when packing for your next adventure.
Productivity Apps for the Cloud
Whether you’re using the free option or upgrading to more gigabytes or a terabyte, save a folder, share a document, or work together to create that much needed chart.
With free options and upgrades for more space available, Dropbox organizes workflow and helps with collaboration.
Honorable Mention – Best Productivity Apps
Stay on top of your work! Dive into this one and you’ll soon be creating notebooks for far more than work. It also syncs with IFITT.
Medium is a great way to write a draft now and hammer out those finished copies later. The mobile app works smootly!
Save time on social media posts – schedule the posts and find the best times to increase your audience hits. This is a must have if you’re juggling social media accounts.
One of the best parts of life as a digital nomad is travel. The freedom to pick up whenever, change direction, or find a spot and stay put for awhile. Check out some of the best tools to manage the minutiae, chat with locals, understand currency conversions, keep all those travel details in one spot, and to find a place to lay your head at the click of a button.
Offline reading at its best. What’s better than free?
Today there are gadgets, groups, and tools of all kinds to let you travel like a local. Get local reviews of all sorts, know the local time without needing a watch, and access the local vocabulary even when you don’t speak the language – the world is your oyster.
All you need to keep working on the go. Gmail, Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides, Maps, News… who doesn’t use Google every day?
Vowels, numbers, symbols, capitals – ugh! The permutations and combinations necessary for strong passwords always remind me of high school geometry! Never are two the same, the one you want to use is always taken and with all these apps and sites there are way too many passwords to remember. Paying for a service to increase security that requires you to remember only one password is definitely worth it!
If Lastpass (listed above) isn’t your jam, maybe this one is:
Want to work from anywhere? Then pop these apps into your cart asap! Calendars, conferences, and calls will never be easier. Pay those pesky bills that still refuse to be digital, research that story more effectively, and track your billable hours with ease. Whether you’re locking in time to speak with a prospective client, handling those accounting details, or booking your next car ride – these must have apps will fill that work part of life with ease and efficiency.
Alos listed above, this app is great for tracking hours for billable invoicing or to keep you focused on a specific task.
Grab the web based or article based information you need and easily pop it into your next project or save it for easy referencing; work smarter.
Make your calendar work for you. No more back and forth for scheduling appointments; set the blocks, send a link and the meeting is locked in.
Want your own personal assistant but don’t want to pay the big bucks? This app does all the work of an actual human. Well, mostly.
Managing that snail mail when you’re away from ‘home’ is sometimes a nightmare. This service provides mail scanning, deposits checks and even saves PDFs of your actual mail.
Zoom provides ference calling (free version limits to 40 minutes) with video and free recording of the call.
Uber conference has more features than zoom and is more freelance friendly for conference calling with free recordings.
Coworking/Cafe Working Apps
Working digitally isn’t always glamorous. Whether you’re trying to keep those transactions secure over an unsecure hotspot or find the best co-working space in your newest city, it takes effort, it takes time, and it takes work. Make your life that much easier with these apps that help keep your digital footprint secure and find you a friendly spot to spend your work day.
Keep that information secure over public or sticky wifi.
If only the tree in the backyard idea actually worked – right? Unless you’ve figured out how to channel the barter system into your daily existence, you’ll still need access to cash. These handy digital nomad friendly apps can help track bills, manage your expenses, transfer money, and both receive money and pay clients or employees from anywhere.
Track bills, get reminders and get an instant image of where your money is coming from and going.
What to Pack in a ‘Digital Backpack’
Digital nomads travel light, work smarter, and live life with less “stuff” than most of us. Whether it’s a handheld device or a larger laptop computer, our digital backpacks are often far smaller than our travel backpacks, but they carry so much more. Set yourself up for success on the road by following these digital nomad planning tips:
- Have a smartphone and international data plan
- Set up your Cloud Storage before you head out on your adventure
- Set up those hacks to get Google Maps offline (they’re a lifesaver)
- Be sure to check with your banks to find no fee global ATMs
- Get those credit cards that prevent foreign transaction fees (like the Chase Sapphire)
- Preload some cash onto your digital wallet
- Download the right digtal nomad apps
Digital nomadic life is one of adventure coupled with work. There are bills to pay, people to meet, projects to work on, articles to research, work to do, and adventures to have – and all can be done from anywhere in the world.
- Make life easier by checking out apps designed for digital nomads
- Be sure to do some research before setting out on your adventure
- Carry your working needs in your ‘digital backpack’
- Work smarter, not harder