Remote workers also work away from a traditional office, but usually with fixed hours, and since the pandemic, many desk-bound employees are working remotely for some of the week at least. Anyone based in a home office or workspace can perform their role thanks to the digital technology we all take for granted these days.
Digital nomads are usually on the road, and whether they work in a cafe, co-working space, Airbnb or hotel balcony, the romantic idea of this lifestyle can sometimes be very different from the truth!
You might imagine working from the beach, or a park is living the dream, but practicalities often kick in, with sunlight making your laptop screen unusable or a weak internet connection making it impossible to achieve anything.
Productivity is vital for any job, particularly for a digital nomad where the work/life balance is key. There’s no point being in a beautiful location if you spend all day tied to the computer when you could be swimming at a waterfall!
We asked some real-life digital nomads how they achieve productivity whilst on the road, and their tips will help any location-independent and remote workers too.
Start the day with sunlight and batch your tasks
Lara Clevenger is a dietitian and travels around the US in her RV, with pups Stella and Loki for company. She shares healthy, low carb and camping recipes along with travel and bowling stories on her blog, laraclevenger.com.
Lara’s first tip is to get outside for early sunlight exposure as it’s a great way to start the day and help with serotonin levels and productivity. Lara is also a huge fan of batch working and for her food blogging tasks she does SEO, keyword research and developing recipes one day and then another day will be for shooting videos of recipes. She will spend another day doing her photo editing and writing blog posts.
Batching your tasks is a great productivity top for any kind of worker, as you’ll likely get more done when your mind is in a particular groove, whether it’s writing, designing graphics or creating social media content.
Make sure your tech is up to the job
Sam is a 20-something freelance graphic designer living in Yorkshire who runs the Modern Guy blog on the side. On Modern Guy, he writes about an array of topics such as business, finance, gaming and technology, as well as home and motors, and general lifestyle. His best tip for digital nomads is to invest in high-quality equipment to make tasks more efficient. The last thing you need is a laptop which doesn’t start up!
Tracy Rawlinson is a freelance HR writer for B2B tech companies via her business, Rawlinson Writes. She knows that working as a digital nomad is no mean feat, and finds that the best way to improve efficiency constantly is to make sure you keep up to date with the tech. Take responsibility for researching the latest tech news and just because you’re happy to use a productivity tool now doesn’t mean there isn’t something better out there.
We couldn’t agree more, and it’s worth asking your network which apps they use to stay organised. Buying a computer with an SSD drive is essential these days for waking them up from hibernation quickly to be ready to work when needed. Make sure you have plenty of memory installed too, because most of us have many browser tabs open at once and you need to be able to flip between them constantly.
Ensure you have a sturdy internet connection
Ali Richards has worked as a part-time digital nomad in many different locations including Canada, California and Norway, working on her freelance content creation business and blog. Ali’s biggest productivity tip for digital nomads is to do your research upfront, as a bit of pre-planning can save time when you need to start work.
When booking accommodation, whether it’s a holiday rental, hotel or Airbnb, check there is a good internet connection, ideally with it mentioned in reviews. On TripAdvisor, you can ask that specific question about the accommodation you’re considering. Also check that good quality wifi is free as some hotels have different plans and charge more for faster connections.
Also, plan your day according to your time zone. Make sure you make email contact with clients or colleagues at a time when they will be able to reply, so that you’re not waiting for important information for an assignment or piece of work. Quite often you can make time differences work in your favour, by firing off emails before you go to sleep and then have replies waiting in your inbox when you wake up!
Organise your workspace and schedule
Sincerely Essie is an online magazine and community, focusing on empowering, inspiring and motivating women. Founder Essie describes herself as a tech nerd, creative soul and stationery addict and her tip for digital nomad productivity is very practical.
Reduce lost hours by setting up a dedicated workspace and setting fixed work schedules as well as following routines.
Having a set place for working is really important for getting in the zone, and having a routine for working means you can focus on the tasks at hand without interruption or distraction. Doing this means you can enjoy the downtime more as you know you’ve ticked off the tasks you wanted to finish from your daily to-do list.
Get complex tasks done before your trip
Tim Wiltshire is part of a two-person team at Content For Humans where they write, edit and proofread relatable content for planet-friendly brands. Tim and his colleague are part-time digital nomads, and their tip is to get certain work done upfront before you go away. You often won’t have a monitor to connect your laptop to for extra screen space so if you’re a part-time digital nomad and some of your tasks are complex across multiple screens, get most of those done before your trip if you can.
It’s also worth considering what equipment you might need when you’re away, as a simple laptop is fine for short bursts of work but to avoid neck and back ache you should consider a separate mouse and keyboard. Try and position your laptop screen so that it’s level with your eyes and take regular breaks.
Use automation to improve productivity
And last, but by no means least, we couldn’t write an article about productivity without mentioning automation! Our Chief Problem Solver Kelly Goss wouldn’t be where she is today if she hadn’t discovered Zapier. You only have to read her origin story to understand just how frazzled she was as a business owner until she realised that robots could literally change her life.
For a few years while she was setting up Solvaa, Kelly was in fact a true digital nomad. For 18 months she had no fixed abode and travelled around the UK (with her dog Sally) housesitting, and jet set around the globe. Automation was key to being more productive in the early days of the business, especially while on the road!
Now, years later, Solvaa has grown, and the Solvaa team are location-independent workers who rely on automated workflows to make their lives easier. They use Zapier to connect their business apps which include Hubspot, Clickup, Xero and Active Campaign. Using automation enables them to work as a coordinated team regardless of location or time zone. For example, they make use of automation in their marketing for planning and publishing blogs and social media, and connecting the dots in their sales, operations and finance processes. This means that Kelly can relax, knowing that the business will run on autopilot when it’s right for the robots to be involved, allowing the humans to focus on the tasks that really matter for making the business unique.
Being productive as a digital nomad
Digital nomads face specific challenges with productivity which are shared by other location-independent workers, and we hope these tips have helped spark ideas if you fancy this kind of lifestyle.
We have other productivity guides which can help anyone maximise their precious time to achieve the best work/life balance:
- How to set up your physical workspace for maximum productivity
- Best productivity tips in 2022
- How to improve business productivity with automation
- Our favourite productivity books
We offer some free resources to help you get started with business process automation. Our free Introduction To Zapier e-book explains the benefits of business process automation, how Zapier fits in and examples of automations for each department within your business.
We also have a free cheat sheet with a checklist of Zapier’s inbuilt functions which can supercharge your automation.
Where can I learn more about Zapier?
Our free articles are great for finding out how to get started with automation, but if you really want to dig deeper then our Chief Problem Solver, Kelly Goss, has written a book called ‘Automate It with Zapier’, which is available on Amazon. It takes you through everything step-by-step and includes some ready-made templates for various examples so you can get started really quickly.
Check out our automation training programme
And finally, if you’re really keen to transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.
It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too!
Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.
Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘.
Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.
Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors.
Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.