If you struggle with increasing your productivity, you already know that managing your time is hard enough as it is. However, time management for digital nomads can be even more challenging.
The average distraction comes at you every eleven minutes and takes over 23 minutes to get back on track.
Not only that:
As a remote worker or digital entrepreneur, there are additional distractions and interruptions that can steal away your time.
So how do you become more productive and practice effective time management as a digital nomad?
And is it even possible to increase productivity while maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
I’ll tell you the solution:
It all comes down to planning for effective time management.
It really is that simple!
The most successful digital nomads and remote workers know that time management is the key to achieving their goal: autonomous freedom.
But learning to manage your time efficiently is easier said than done.
That’s exactly what we’re discussing today:
This ultimate guide to time management will shed light on the best tips and techniques to get more done in less time and move you from busy to productive.
Ready to learn?
Let’s get right to it!
- What Makes Time Management for Digital Nomads Different?
- What is Time Management and Why is It Important for Digital Nomads?
- 36 Success Secrets of Effective Time Management
- Time Management Strategies for Digital Nomads That Increase Productivity
- 1. Travel Slower (Most Successful Digital Nomads Do)
- 2. Charge Your Worth
- 3. Value Your Time
- 4. Invest in High-Quality Equipment
- 5. Use Digital Nomad Tools for Time Management and Productivity
- 6. Do Passionate Work and Live Authentically
- 7. Automate and Outsource Where You Can
- 8. Join Supportive Digital Nomad and Remote Work Communities
- 9. Make an Arrival Checklist
- 10. Live Like a Local
- 11. Join Live or Virtual Coworking Events
- Useful Planning & Organizing Techniques That Save Time
- Productivity Hacks: 8 Time Management Systems Proven to Work
- 20. Track Your Time
- 21. Batch Your Work Using Time Blocks
- 22. Conduct a Digital Declutter
- 23. Create Systems to Work Smarter
- 24. Break Projects Down Into Smaller Chunks
- 25. Start With Your Most Challenging Task First
- 26. Eliminate Multitasking
- 27. Use the Pomodoro Technique
- Practice Self-Discipline to Achieve Maximum Results in Minimal Time
- Final Thoughts on Time Management for Digital Nomads
What Makes Time Management for Digital Nomads Different?
First, you need to understand that time management for digital nomads is a very specific skill.
It’s not something that you can easily pick up from a corporate job or even from higher education.
This is because there are challenges unique to the digital nomad lifestyle that you won’t face anywhere else.
Aside from adjusting to a new flexible schedule, you’ll need to figure out how to find the right blend of leisure time, personal time, and when to work.
As a digital nomad, you have to juggle finding your own clients or customers, managing your business, learning about a new culture (if you choose to move abroad), dealing with the legal side of travel and remote work — and, oh, did I mention balancing your own personal life as well?!
That’s enough to make anyone’s head spin! (Well, that and a drunken beach holiday!)
Regardless of whether you’re a digital nomad, expat, or an employee, there’s a reason why the industry of time management apps, tools, and websites is booming among remote workers.
Of course, the irony in all of this is that you can easily waste hours, if not days, researching the time management tools available to you.
That’s why you need to cut through the noise and find the best time management resources and strategies for the nomadic lifestyle.
In order to fill you in on the secrets of time management, we need to define what it is.
What is Time Management and Why is It Important for Digital Nomads?
Simply put, time management refers to how you organize your time for maximum efficiency and productivity.
Time management is a specific type of decision-making process. You’re deciding how to spend your time, how much time certain tasks take, and the priority of those tasks.
One of the many reasons time management is so important for digital nomads, remote workers, and online entrepreneurs is because you are responsible for your own schedule.
Here’s the deal:
In a traditional work environment, this is all handled for you. Your choices are limited as far as how to spend and manage your time.
In an office job, you would likely have a manager who manages your time. They track when you clock in, clock out, and they manage every aspect of your tasks. Essentially, there is built-in accountability at a typical corporate job.
As your own boss, however, there’s a lot of flexibility and freedom. Of course, flexibility and freedom are exactly what you want as a digital nomad! But to be effective, freedom demands responsibility and self-control as well.
It’s a tradeoff.
You either get full control of your time and need to manage it effectively (sink or swim) or you lack the freedom of control and autonomy since your time is managed for you with consequences attached.
Okay, so that’s what time management is, but I also think it’s important to define what time management is not.
Time management is not the same as being busy! And on that note, being busy is not the same as being effective.
Successful digital nomads who make money will all tell you the same thing: the secret to good time management is to work smarter, not harder.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for those new to the nomadic lifestyle to seek out digital nomad coaching to better identify the differences between busyness and taking care of business.
Without time management (and productivity), you lose one of the best perks of being a digital nomad: an improved work-life balance.
Let’s take a look at why time management is critical by understanding the benefits of time management for digital nomads as well as the downsides:
36 Success Secrets of Effective Time Management
By now you’re probably wondering how you can better plan, control, and manage your time!
Over the years, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite time management hacks, broken down by category. These are all the productivity strategies and tactics that I use in my own personal life, and I hope they help you create the life you want as well.
Time Management Strategies for Digital Nomads That Increase Productivity
Managing your time effectively as a digital nomad or remote worker comes with its own challenges.
Use these next eleven digital nomad tips to help increase your productivity when traveling and working online.
1. Travel Slower (Most Successful Digital Nomads Do)
Most digital nomads have an advantage compared to traditional career paths. You don’t need to physically be anywhere like an office, storefront, or warehouse.
There are still digital entrepreneurs out there who travel at an astoundingly rapid pace in an attempt to see it all. This lifestyle is tiring and hard to keep up with.
You should be spending more time on your business and honing your craft than moving from place to place.
The reality is traveling slower allows us to better manage our time because we’re not constantly spending time planning our travels and next moves.
We’re also not spending all that excess time in the act of traveling or getting from one place to the next. Keep in mind that time spent on one task is time taken away from something else!
That’s why this is one of the most important time management hacks.
The more time you spend in a destination, the more you can get to know the culture and familiarize yourself with how to be productive there.
2. Charge Your Worth
Money is a tough subject for a lot of people. There are even some freelancers and digital nomads who feel “guilty” or afraid that they’ll charge too much for their services!
Time is money — so if you value your time, then you should be confident to charge your worth.
To give you confidence in charging your worth, I recommend doing competitor research. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are similarly experienced professionals in my field charging for their services?
- What is the least amount of money I’m willing to accept for a project or task?
- Am I giving myself enough room (a margin of error) when quoting clients (remember, it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver)?
Charging your worth is more than just an effective time management strategy. It can also help reduce stress, boost your confidence, and improve your financial health!
3. Value Your Time
While we’re on the subject of understanding how to charge for your time, you need to understand this concept:
The value of your time isn’t just about your hourly rate…
What I mean is: do you know the actual value of your time?
Let’s say you’re a digital freelancer. All the time you spend looking for new clients is time you can’t get back. Of course, you can “recoup” the cost of that time in the future if those prospects convert into paying clients.
However, it is my belief that this is just the cost of doing business. You don’t want to calculate everything according to price necessarily.
My point is that any time you spend on one task is time that you can’t spend on something else.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a remote worker or an entrepreneur. Whether you’re working with clients, freelancers, or complex tasks, you should always ensure that you are getting a good return on your time.
If you’re spending hours and hours on a task that can be done in minutes, that’s something you need to think about.
Understanding that time is money means that spending too much of it (time) on something that doesn’t give you a good return (money) means you’re wasting both resources.
Consider the following time management hacks:
- De-prioritize anything that is not vital to your productivity
- Give yourself “buffer” room when estimating how long it will take to complete a task
- Ensure your prices reflect your time (Including organization and administrative tasks)
4. Invest in High-Quality Equipment
Having an effective workspace is one thing, have the proper equipment to use is a different story altogether.
Quality equipment will improve your performance.
This includes researching the WiFi situation ahead of time, especially if you plan on traveling a lot as a digital nomad. In addition to quality, lightweight electronics suitable for travel, I recommend getting a local SIM card so you always have data available. That means having an unlocked phone.
You’ll also want the best security for your devices and a high-tech, high-quality headset to talk to your customers, clients, and team members.
If you take your profession seriously, you should be using quality tools over less durable items that’ll cause headaches. For example, when managing projects, I can use Google spreadsheets or a high-quality tool like Monday.com.
You don’t have to start there, but at some point quality tools and equipment are necessary.
Are some of the tools available these days free? Absolutely!
But when it comes to increasing your productivity as a digital nomad, there is the free way to do things and then there is the stress-free way.
The choice is yours.
5. Use Digital Nomad Tools for Time Management and Productivity
If you’re looking for time management tools or software, I’ve got you covered!. These are all resources that I personally recommend specifically for digital nomads.
Anyone who runs a website, works remotely, and aims to increase their productivity by making efficient use of their time should be using these productivity tools:
Screen Recording & Video Editing
Outsourcing to Freelancers
Social Media Scheduling
Keyword Research + SEO
Online Mailbox for Remote Workers
Full Focus Planner
Fiverr & UpWork
Flex Jobs & We Work Remotely
6. Do Passionate Work and Live Authentically
This may be a reality check for some, but:
I don’t care how many time management tips you try or productivity hacks you implement. If you hate what you’re doing, you’re going to find reasons to procrastinate and distract yourself.
This is one of the reasons most people squander their time.
Instead, I encourage you to live an authentic life by doing work that you’re actually passionate about, feels exciting, and comes easy to you.
Do you like writing and literature? Then consider being a freelance writer! Do you love to cook mouth-watering dishes for your friends and family? Start your own food channel on YouTube. Do you have a knack for technology and marketing? Becoming a social media manager might be right for you.
You don’t even need to do a traditional job or business. In my life, I’ve been an Army soldier, a dating coach, and a professional poker player. All things I’ve done, have had some level of success with, and everyone told me I was crazy for doing.
In my travels, I have seen people that have been uber-successful doing some of the most uncharacteristic digital nomad jobs. Jobs like teaching monks how to become web developers and selling unique documentaries to television and film networks. Heck, one of them even figured out how to monetize the network of people they’ve met along the way.
The point is this:
The sky’s the limit! If you don’t live life authentically, then you are sacrificing your happiness in lieu of money and honestly, trading time for dollars is the exact opposite of what digital nomadism (and life) is all about.
7. Automate and Outsource Where You Can
Automation and outsourcing aren’t limited to just mega-corporations, brick-and-mortar businesses, or those with superior financials.
Even if you’re a solopreneur or a team of one working on your own tasks, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own.
If you’re on a tight budget, it may make sense to invest in your business right from the start.
For example, if you’re looking to become a content marketer building a website or blog around a central topic or theme, you just won’t have the bandwidth to do it all.
Although building a professional website with no programming knowledge using themes like GeneratePress makes it easy, it doesn’t mean you can be a developer or have the time to learn skills where you aren’t strong.
Or even if you’re an amazing copywriter, there’s only so much time you have to write on any given day.
Using smart tools to automate recurring tasks (such as scheduling social media) or outsourcing time-consuming tasks that aren’t your core competencies will allow you to reclaim more of your time.
Plus, you’ll now have more time and energy so you can focus where you’re needed most!
Sure, you may be on a budget, but trust me when I tell you:
The outcome is worth the investment.
It’s like having a business superpower.
How awesome is that?
8. Join Supportive Digital Nomad and Remote Work Communities
Yes, it’s true: As amazing as the nomadic lifestyle is, it can also be lonely at times. Both personally and professionally.
Why not join communities of people who understand your journey? This is eactly what I did in Chiang Mai.
Finding like-minded entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and expats is as simple as a click of a button these days.
Prior to my arrival in a new destination, the first place I go is to find a Meetup, Facebook Group, or Subreddit that can give me guidance and advice.
These groups will be a great place to ask about:
- Where to get the best SIM cards for data
- Which areas are the best places to live as a digital nomad or expat
- What cafes, coffee shops, or coworking spaces are good for work
- What are the best attractions and leisure activities to visit
- The best foodie spots to eat for local and unique cuisine.
When I was in Split, Croatia, I was able to leverage my network to get vaccinated for free amid the pandemic so I didn’t need to travel back home to another continent.
You can also make professional connections with others in your same niche or industry and help each other grow.
Networking with others via supportive digital nomad communities is a great time management strategy. You’re tapping into the information pool that exists for that location or industry. Whether it’s for travel or for work, access to specialized knowledge will save you loads of time.
That could be working with a digital nomad coach to start your remote work journey. Or maybe that’s learning from people who have been on the same path you’re on in terms of travel and business.
9. Make an Arrival Checklist
As a digital nomad, I’ve found that planning ahead of my travels, although not necessary, has saved me an incredible amount of time and money.
Here’s a checklist that I recommend for new digital nomads and remote workers.
Some things to consider are:
- Where will you work?
- What’s the WiFi situation like?
- What gym should you go to?
- Where will you live?
- What type of travel accommodation will you choose?
As I mentioned, you can tap into digital nomad networks and expat communities to get this information or you can just prepare ahead of time.
Both are good options.
10. Live Like a Local
Want to make the most of your time and experience in a new location? Then live like a local!
Avoiding tourist traps like hotels, resorts, and hostels will not only save you money but will help you get a true sense of the culture where you’re living.
Now only that, but you’ll avoid the crowds, spend less, and have more memorable experiences by embedding yourself into the local culture by going off the beaten path.
Going to the top things to see and do as told by commercial travel sites like Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor is a recipe for a boring experience.
Remember: Be Daring. Be Different.
The more you do this, the more you will grow personally and professionally by incorporating other perspectives into your life.
11. Join Live or Virtual Coworking Events
Coworking events are fantastic!
When I lived in Taipei, I remember joining friends at a local coffee shop where we would gather and work together. Not only is coworking great for accountability, but it also helps you maintain a healthy social life.
If you can’t join people in person, you can always find online accountability partners via a site like focusmate.com.
If you’re an extrovert, you might even start your own live coworking event or productivity club among other nomads and remote workers in the area!
My only caution would be to choose your environment wisely. Some places might be conducive to productivity, but others might be highly distracting, so feel free to experiment!
PRO TIP: You might find that you need to change up where you work. Sometimes you might not be in the mood to work from home or at the same coffee shop. Changing your environment might provide the boost in energy and focus you need to stay productive.
Useful Planning & Organizing Techniques That Save Time
As Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This quote may be cliché but it also happens to be true.
Statistically, planning and organizing ahead of time will help you produce more results and accomplish your goals in less time. Try implementing these next eight tips to plan ahead for optimal productivity.
12. Give Yourself Set Working Hours
As a digital nomad, freelancer, or entrepreneur, you are your own business — and what do all businesses have in common?
Set hours of operation.
I know it’s tempting to answer an email late at night or even on the weekends, but in order to achieve a healthy work-life balance, you need to set boundaries for yourself and learn the art of saying, “No.”
For some people, this might be the toughest time management skill to master.
Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a morning person or a night owl. You have the freedom to set your own hours. When you work is up to you.
What’s important is when it’s time to work, you work. When it’s time to play or relax, you refrain from work.
Does it always work out this way?
Sometimes, you’ll need to “break” these rules and that’s okay.
Perhaps there’s a one-time major project with a deadline coming up. Or maybe an unexpected phone call from a friend you haven’t heard from in years derails your plans for the day. As long as you know what your boundaries are, you can enjoy an improved work-life balance!
I’d also encourage you to be just as intentional about your off time as well. That way you can rest, recuperate, and have better focus the next day!
13. Plan Ahead
Procrastination is the result of a lack of planning.
If you struggle with waiting until the last minute to get things done or if you suddenly find yourself juggling more responsibilities than you thought you bargained for, there’s a simple solution…
Start planning your work.
Whether your planning frequency is daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or every other Christmas, working ahead of schedule will help to gain back more of your time and improve productivity.
Personally, I’ve found that weekly plans tend to be the most efficient. Time management resources like the Full Focus Planner help you see the larger picture so you can focus on your priorities and achieve your goals.
14. Create a Weekly Plan
When people think of time management tools, one of the first things people think of is a to-do list.
But do to-do lists actually work?
I don’t know about you, but my experience has been:
- Everything gets put on the to-do list
- Some tasks get ignored while others get crossed off
- The list always grows and never clears out
- There’s a general sense of clutter and disorganization
With that being said, I recommend using a “priority list,” which narrows the focus to only the few things that MUST get done that day. To prevent distractions or overload, I encourage you to limit that list to no more than three major tasks.
Also, one of the best time management hacks I’ve found is to create a weekly plan or schedule. This productivity hack gives you a bigger picture of the week so that you can plan accordingly, hold yourself accountable to your predetermined deadlines, and prioritize the importance of upcoming tasks.
For example, if you finish work early on Monday but know there’s a major deadline coming up on Wednesday, you’re aware so you can work ahead.
This is exactly why I choose to use a physical planner such as Michael Hyatt’s full focus planner when planning the week. It’s been a game-changer as far as productivity tools are concerned.
If you prefer doing everything digitally, I recommend Monday.com or a similar project management tool.
The key point is this:
Without a plan or schedule, you’ll waste your time trying to figure out what to do next!
15. Create Productive Daily Routines and Rituals
If you’re looking into digital nomadism, odds are that you want a life of freedom and an escape from a potentially boring or mundane life…
So this productivity tip might seem counterintuitive.
However, some routines or some sense of normalcy is necessary to achieve success.
This goes back to the productivity hack of planning ahead and achieving goals.
From my own personal experience, I’ve found that planning up-front saves quite a bit of time on the back-end.
That’s exactly why I use time management systems such as batching your work or using the Full Focus Planner.
Having a time management system with built-in daily rituals you can incorporate into your workflows will drastically improve your efficiency.
Once you form these habits, you’ll have less stress and a more predictable strategy that feels easy to implement,
In other words:
No more burnout or fatigue.
16. Get Organized and Prioritize
One of the best things you can do to manage your time more effectively as a digital nomad is to get organized!
No more winging it.
If you truly want to achieve an elite level of success in business and in life, you need to get your sh*t together.
The best way to get organized is to prioritize.
Because if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority and your life will be complete chaos.
To do this, just plan ahead, narrow your focus to those tasks that matter most, and either eliminate, delegate, or delay everything else until they become a priority. No more multitasking.
One way to prioritize your time is by minimizing unnecessary meetings. You might be surprised, but I actually know people who have meetings to plan their upcoming meetings. That’s a complete waste of time!
Remember, just because you can meet on Zoom, it doesn’t mean you should. If something can be handled via email, text, or phone, then it’s probably more appropriate to handle it that way than with an “official” meeting.
Also, getting organized means you should be in full control of both your physical and digital environment (See point #22).
The more organized you become, the less mental bandwidth you’ll need. And more importantly, the easier it’ll be to manage your time.
17. Conduct an End of Day Review
One of the time management techniques for digital nomads that is often overlooked is to conduct an end-of-day review.
There are two great benefits to this.
First, you can review how your day went and identify any inefficiencies or areas for improvement. Second, this exercise helps you stay connected to your weekly plan.
And if you really want to increase your productivity, you can ask yourself these questions when conducting your assessment:
- What did you accomplish?
- What didn’t you accomplish? Where did you fall short? What can be better?
- What will you keep, improve, start or stop doing?
- What are my goals for tomorrow?
This keeps your goals and vision at the forefront of your mind so that you can stay on track.
Measuring your progress and evaluating your performance are key components to improving your time management skills going forward.
18. Schedule Your Social Life
I know, I know… it sounds odd to schedule something fun like your social life, but it’s all about being intentional.
You see, as a digital entrepreneur, it’s easy to get sucked into your business or work.
Also, if you schedule time away from your computer that’s offline and outdoors, it allows you time to rest and recharge.
This will allow you to get more done in less time when you are working on your job or business.
Locking personal time into your schedule protects your work-life balance and is one of the best ways to increase your productivity as a digital nomad.
19. Create a Dedicated and Effective Workspace
Let’s be honest:
Who hasn’t dreamed of working from their laptop in bed? Who doesn’t want to “work” on the beautiful beaches and islands of the world while sipping their favorite cocktail.
While this can sound like a dream come true, it’s actually more of a nightmare for your productivity as well as your time.
The reality is:
Working in these places is actually really impractical.
You don’t want to have the comfort of lying in your bed or on a couch when you’re trying to be productive. You’ll just get into a relaxed mood and hinder your productivity.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working from home, from a cafe, or from the road in an AirBnb or apartment. You should have a dedicated workspace where you can focus and stay on track.
No matter where you work from, one thing’s for sure. You need to control your work environment and allow it to work in your favor. Here are some things that will allow you to improve your productivity and manage your time effectively:
- Good lighting
- Quality WiFi
- Ample deskspace
- A quiet work environment (or ambient noise)
- An outlet or battery pack
- Excellent equipment
Personally, I recommend keeping everything you need for work within arm’s reach. Notepads, writing utensils, and any electronic devices that are required for work should be present.
The main advantage of being a digital nomad is that you don’t need to suffer from the same distractions as a typical work environment. You don’t get distracted by colleagues or need to spend time and money on the commute into an office.
What you do need however, is an effective workspace.
Productivity Hacks: 8 Time Management Systems Proven to Work
Effective time-management is all about creating systems that work for you. If you want to improve your time management skills, follow these next eight strategies that are known to work efficiently.
20. Track Your Time
Tracking your time is similar to tracking your calories.
If you’re like most people, chances are that you’ve tried a new diet or workout routine at some point in your life.
Well, did you know that most people tend to underestimate how many calories they’re actually consuming? This is why so many people have gone on “diets” but have never lost any weight. If more people took the time to intentionally track and monitor their caloric intake, I guarantee that most diets would be successful!
Time tracking for digital nomads isn’t much different.
I’ve seen many people new to the nomadic lifestyle who don’t have a firm grasp of how much time they spend on certain tasks. In some cases, they don’t even realize how much time they’re unintentionally wasting away on social media and other distractions.
This is why I like using time tracking software like Rescue Time to get a firm grasp on my focus, work goals, and productivity.
Remember what I said earlier about self-control and accountability? This is a prime example!
21. Batch Your Work Using Time Blocks
Batching your work is one of the best ways to practice effective time management for digital nomads.
How does it work?
Instead of putting too many tasks on your plate at the same time and working up to the last minute to produce work that needs to meet a deadline, you batch your work.
That means you simply need to categorize similar tasks together so you can do them at the same time.
For example, instead of writing all of your social media captions or blog posts right before they are due, try writing all of your social media posts or blog articles for the next month at the same time.
Using designated time blocks assigned to when you will work on specific tasks is helpful in accomplishing this.
This will allow you to work more quickly and efficiently through those projects and are less likely to be distracted by switching in-between unrelated tasks!
Personally, I believe this productivity tip is one of the most important because it saves you so much time by planning ahead and working in advance.
This is the opposite of procrastination.
22. Conduct a Digital Declutter
So far in this article, I’ve touched lightly on the potential distractions posed by social media, real-time news updates, and general web browsing.
Now it’s time to do a deep dive.
One of my favorite resources on the topic is the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.
The hacks Newport talks about will increase digital productivity by eliminating distractions. The three main steps you can take to conduct a digital declutter are:
1. Limit “optional” technology & define the rules of its use.
In short, remove it or define rules of use for it.
If there are apps or technology on your devices that you don’t use, then delete them! Of course, don’t delete anything that will cause harm to your personal or professional life. For any of the remaining apps, I like to organize everything neatly into folders.
I would encourage you to repeat this process for cloud storage, internet bookmarks, and social media apps.
When it comes to defining rules of use for technology, consider the following questions:
- How much screen time should you have?
- How often should you check your email (I personally recommend no more than twice a day)?
- Are there any newsletters you should unsubscribe from?
- How many browser tabs should you keep open?
Just like real life clutter, digital clutter can build up quickly, so it’s important to routinely conduct this exercise!
2. Take at least a 30-day break from optional technology.
Going cold turkey is tough, so don’t be surprised if your first week without optional technology (smartphone games, social media apps, etc.) is challenging.
During this time, explore high-quality activities to fill in the gaps. Maybe you’re going to pick up a new hobby. Perhaps you’re more intentional about keeping in touch with friends or seeing new places. This is the perfect time to experiment with new hobbies, skills, and ideas.
3. Re-evaluate whether or not to let that technology back into your life.
Once the 30-day break is over, it’s time to determine whether your life is better with or without that technology.
In most circumstances, it’ll be clear which technology to get rid of and what to let back into your life.
If there is something that you choose to re-introduce, don’t forget to define the rules of use for that specific technology!
By practicing this simple exercise, you will be well on your way to reclaiming leisure time and the good life!
23. Create Systems to Work Smarter
We’ve all heard the adage to “work smarter, not harder,” but guess what?
It’s not just a saying.
It’s a way of life!
Okay, so how do you actually do that? What are the practical productivity tips you can implement to become more efficient?
The best way to do this is to create systems using smart tools, automation, and outsourcing.
Here’s the thing:
You probably have specific tasks or processes that repeat themselves.
For example, if you’re a freelance writer, the process of pitching new clients is generally the same. Or perhaps you have a specific workflow for writing new blogs, creating new social media posts, and working on SEO.
Let me introduce you to the WHOAA method: Work Hard Once And Automate.
If you have repeating tasks and schedules, why not take time to sit down and use smart tools to help automate those processes for you?
For example, if you have a recurring monthly deadline, automation tools like Monday and Trello will allow you to set up repeating tasks so that you won’t forget about them.
These repeating tasks can also include subtasks so that you don’t leave anything undone.
Working hard once (upfront) and then automating the rest can save you an incredible amount of time in the long run while allowing you to scale a successful online business!
24. Break Projects Down Into Smaller Chunks
It’s funny how so much of time management and productivity are based on our mental perspective.
Have you ever been intimidated by a project and procrastinated due to fear, overwhelm, or even the sheer size of the project?
Sometimes, all you need to do is just get started.
By breaking down projects into smaller and more manageable tasks, you can better achieve a goal that seems complex, challenging, or intimidating as a whole.
If you’re planning on starting an online course, don’t focus on getting the project done as a whole, that can feel a bit overwhelming.
Instead focus on the individual steps and break it down like this:
Step 1: Choose Your Niche
Step 2: Pick Your Platform
Step 3: Write the Outline or Roadmap
Step 4: Select Your Delivery Method
Step 5: Create The Content
Step 6: Set Your Rates
Step 7: Launch Your Course
By focusing on small chunks of the overall process, you can get started and incrementally achieve your goal.
25. Start With Your Most Challenging Task First
Have you ever noticed how you dread starting your day when there’s something you don’t want to do? Even unrelated tasks seem like a burden!
You’ll even try to find less challenging tasks to accomplish just to “check” something off your list. And, of course, to postpone that dreaded task.
What’s the solution?
Well, by starting the work day with your most challenging task, a productivity technique also known as “eat that frog,” you eliminate that temptation for procrastination.
You want to use your willpower to your advantage (see point #29), so this is also useful if your highest energy levels come at the start of the day.
At first, It may not appear to be fun to begin this way, but it’ll definitely limit procrastination and improve productivity.
26. Eliminate Multitasking
This is probably the easiest way people lose time. That’s because multitasking slows you down and scatters your focus.
I want you to think about running. Now, even if you aren’t a runner, stick with me for a second.
If you’re running in a straight line, you can easily begin to “coast” or even gain momentum. But what happens if you start zig-zagging or randomly start turning different directions?
That’s right: you slow down.
Time management is no different.
It’s better to do ONE thing that’s meaningful and productive than to try and get everything done at once.
One of the best ways to illustrate this point and understand why time management for digital nomads (or anyone for that matter) is so important is with this quote:
“It is not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it is that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.”
― Gary Keller, The ONE Thing
Focus on what matters most by doing ONE thing at a time.
27. Use the Pomodoro Technique
Sometimes, it helps to use the right time management strategies in order to increase your productivity and get more done.
Have you tried the Pomodoro technique?
Here’s how it works:
Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on ONE single task until the time runs out.
When your time is up, take a 5-minute break.
That completes one 30-minute round. (25 minutes of focused work, and a 5-minute break.)
This time management system works great when paired with another technique like time blocking.
This is because you can get three or four rounds of the Pomodoro technique in one time block.
Once you get better at improving your focus, you can try longer rounds like 45-minutes of focused work and a 15-minute break.
The Pomodoro technique is one of the most widely used and implemented time management hacks.
Give it a try!
Practice Self-Discipline to Achieve Maximum Results in Minimal Time
One major problem with achieivng goals and finding balance is that there are distractions everywhere. How do you over come these distractions?
By practicing self-discipline.
Follow these last nine time-managment tips in order to gain self-control and make more effecient use of your time.
28. Embrace Progress Over Perfection
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting countless digital nomads, remote workers, and online entrepreneurs.
The most successful ones had the following traits in common:
- Commitment to learning
But there was one trait that I saw among the most successful digital entrepreneurs that separated them from the rest:
The ability to say, “Done is better than perfect.”
In other words, don’t obsess over perfection. Take action instead!
It’s tempting to mistake “quality work” for perfection, but this kind of mindset can become a bottleneck that hinders your business from scaling or becoming a success. Getting hung up on tiny details that don’t move you forward can be a fatal mistake.
The worst part?
People with the perfectionist mindset don’t even realize it!
We all know that one person who obsesses over unimportant details (like a simple email). Don’t be that person, and embrace progress over perfection instead!
29. Use Willpower to Your Advantage
This is one of my favorite productivity tips for digital nomads (or for anyone who asks). I don’t care if you’re a virtual assistant, online business owner, remote worker, freelancer, social media manager, content writer, or any combination of the above.
The reality is:
Anyone can use willpower to their own advantage.
Willpower is important because it can help place you “in the zone” — that magical place where you’re hyper focused, super creative, and inspired to tackle everything on your plate.
Here’s the thing:
Willpower is a limited but renewable resource.
You know what time of day you’re most energized and focused, and I’d encourage you to use that knowledge to your advantage.
Earlier I talked about setting your working hours and knowing your boundaries. Well, you can use willpower to your advantage by setting your working hours to the schedule that works for you.
If you’re a morning person, then great!
More of a night owl? That’s cool too.
Honestly, if you’re wondering how to manage time effectively, the very core of this is knowing yourself fully.
You can only use willpower to your advantage if you know when you’re at your best. The better you understand your energy levels and internal motivations, the better you can use them to boost your time management skills.
Not only that but you need to take the proper steps necessary in order to actually recharge your batteries and, therefore, your willpower.
This brings me to my next point…
30. Take Breaks Strategically
When you think about productivity hacks at work or how to manage time effectively, chances are you don’t think about doing nothing.
Taking breaks is just as critical to productivity as efficiency!
In fact, you can’t do one without the other.
While it’s tempting to “power through” your workday, you’ll be less productive and efficient compared to if you were fully focused. Plus, it’s easier when you’re tired to get caught up in distractions like social media, catching up on the news, or going down the rabbit hole of web browsing.
A study by Harvard Business Review found that 46.9% of our day is spent on distraction. With all the responsibilities we have as digital nomads, we can’t afford that much wasted time!
Personally, I recommend that people take frequent breaks throughout the day (maybe every 45-60 minutes) to re-charge and maintain focus. Aside from these brief breaks, don’t forget about your lunch break as well.
It’s also important for digital nomads to be intentional about time for vacations, relaxation, and time away from work.
As remote workers or freelancers working from the road, it’s easy to trick yourself into thinking you’re on a “long vacation,” especially if you choose to live abroad. There are so many new experiences, foods to try, and people to meet!
But it’s still important to be intentional about taking time off work and getting to truly experience the world around you.
As a digital nomad, you can choose to vacation where you are at any given time. Make the most of your time there by balancing work with travel and exploration time.
Personally, I like a long break in the middle of my day to explore and do something fun!
31. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Wait a minute… What does being healthy have to do with managing your time effectively?
Well, think back to the last time you were sick. Did you feel like being productive? Were you able to focus?
Keeping a healthy body and a healthy mind helps you increase focus and stay energized so that you can get more work done in less time.
The more you exercise and eat well, the easier it is to be productive, manage your time, and maintain your focus through the day.
And let me clue you in on a little secret:
A healthy lifestyle is more than just a healthy diet and working out regularly.
It also includes proper sleep, meditation, and emotional wellness!
32. Wake Up Earlier And Accomplish More
If you need more time to accomplish things on your priority list, then wake up earlier.
Think about it:
There’s a reason this productivity routine is used by almost every billionaire in the world!
Waking up early means that you’re less likely to be distracted by the hustle and bustle of the world than you would be during normal working hours.
In fact, waking up just one hour earlier will help you produce more focused work throughout the week so you can hone in on your top priorities before your workday even begins.
Try it out.
33. Learn to Say “No”
For digital nomads and remote workers, FOMO (fear of missing out) is incredibly real.
You’re afraid of missing out on new business opportunities or interpersonal relationships. This is a slippery slope to becoming a yes-man or a yes-woman.
Well, I’m here to remind you that it is okay to say, “No.”
Saying “yes” to something means saying “no” to something else, possibly another (or better) opportunity down the road. Choices need to be made wisely in order to maximize time efficiency.
If you struggle with saying no, I encourage you to keep these points in mind:
- Saying “yes” to everything will only overbook yourself
- Remember to know your worth and value your time (as discussed above)
- Setting boundaries is important for growth
- People will respect your decision more than you think
This time management hack applies to your social life as well. For example, you shouldn’t go out late with friends if you know you have an early meeting the next day. Saying no now doesn’t mean “no” next time!
Keep this in mind:
You need to balance your priorities (and social life) if you want to grow and scale a remote business that’s sustainable over the long-term.
So learn to say no.
34. Find “Lost” Time and Use It Wisely
Do you drive a lot? Run? Work out?
There’s a lot of “lost” time in our lives that we can reclaim, but only if we know where to look.
For example, instead of listening to music in the car or during a workout, try listening to a podcast for personal or professional growth.
Have a doctor’s appointment? Then bring a self-help book to read in the waiting room.
Anyone working from the road knows how quickly wasted and “lost” time can add up.
As digital nomads, we have a lot of travel time when transitioning from one place to another. You can certainly take advantage of that travel time to help you move ahead.
The best time management strategies are ones that empower you to make the most out of your 24-hour day.
Where can you recoup some of the “lost” time in your life?
35. Master the Art of Showing Up
I don’t care who you are or what you do.
There are going to be some days when you just don’t feel like working. At all.
Yet, the world’s most successful people have mastered the art of showing up.
The biggest waste of time is waiting until you are in the “right mood” or “ready” to start your work.
Unfortunately, for some people, that feeling might never happen.
In fact, that’s exactly why most people never live up to their true potential. They allow their feelings to get in the way and they let their need for comfort outweigh their desire for success.
The real question is:
How bad do you want it?
Instead of waiting for when it’s convenient, show up and hold yourself accountable.
If you’re struggling to “show up,” consider the two hacks I suggested above:
- Create daily routines that work for you
- Live authentically (and with passion)
While those aren’t magic solutions, they will make showing up and doing the work an easier pill to swallow.
Focus on WHY you chose this path to begin with.
This is how to master the art of showing up.
36. Never Stop Learning
Having a growth mindset is an essential skill as an entrepreneur or digital nomad. Even if you think your time management skills and productivity are top-notch, there’s always room for improvement.
That’s the difference between those who “try out” the nomadic lifestyle and those who succeed with remote work. Those entrepreneurs who achieve high levels of success never think they know it all. And they always keep learning.
The amount of content and information that’s available today is astounding. Practicing self-discipline and forming the right habits will help you grow and scale personally and professionally.
That’s why you should never stop learning. Read great books, take the best online courses, educate and invest in yourself, and keep pushing forward.
Do that and you’ll grow and scale a successful online business, master the required skills, and never look back!
Final Thoughts on Time Management for Digital Nomads
Okay so there you have it:
I hope this ultimate guide to time management for digital nomads has given you some inspiration.
Being a digital entrepreneur can be extremely rewarding. However, it’s certainly not easy being your own boss and managing your time effectively.
These productivity tips are the culmination of years of experience and experimentation. I hope you’ll find them useful in making your remote work lifestyle work for you.
Now, I’d like to turn it over to you:
Which Time Management strategy will you try first?
Will you begin outsourcing and automating your workflow processes? Or maybe you’ll want to begin living a healthy lifestyle to improve your focus and concentration?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now!
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