Ten Work Tips for Digital Nomads

Nicole Smartt's picture

Digital nomads do what many of us dream and few achieve—they travel the world seekingnew adventures, exciting locales, and cultural experiences, and since they take their work with them, they can continue living this life as long as it feels right. Here are ten work tips for you digital nomads, to help you keep achieving your dreams as long as possible.

Ten Work Tips for Digital Nomads from Nicole Smartt

1. Plan your workspaces before you arrive in a new place. Start with your networks. Send a tweet or message asking for suggestions for a place to work with power, WiFi,and great ambience. If nothing comes of that, try workfrom.co to find good spots. Once you’ve located your places, use Google’s My Map to import and save addresses, place names, and more, so you can travel to an area and get straight to workif you so choose.

2. Don’t be afraid to try new apps, such as the World Clock Google Calendar. It’s difficult to schedule meetings across multiple time zones and the world clock will keep you straight. The Google Translate app is also great for translating menus and signs quickly. Download Wi-Fi SweetSpots free from iTunes and you can measure the WiFi speed in a certain spot before sitting down to work.

3. Try to create a community when you first arrive, if you intend to stay awhile. It can get lonely on the road ifyou’re traveling alone. Be proactive about meeting others. Consider joining a global coworking space such as Copass or WeWork and be open to conversations, even if it is your work time. If a coworking space is too distracting or expensive for you, try a Meetup. They bring people together “to do, explore, teach and learn the things that help people come alive.” Sign up for free and start searching for events of interest to you. Certain service organizations such as Rotary have clubs globally. Join a local club and then you can do your “make-ups” anywhere in the world, among fellow entrepreneurs and business people.

4. Make time for movement. Especially when you’re on deadlines, it can be hard to set aside time for physical activity. Put together a rough schedule for the week that incorporates, perhaps, a short walk in the afternoon. Try Anytime Fitness to locate gyms worldwide. It’s an excellent way to meet locals, too.

5. Make sure that you don’t get so engrossed in work that you forget about exploring your new city. Try stepping away from work for two hours over lunch and work a bit later in the evening. Try Triposo to discover local highlights and hidden gems.Through it, you can book hotels, activities and transportation, and even download maps.

6. Figure out a time management tool that works for you. Some people like the Pomodoro technique that builds short, scheduled breaks into your day so you can avoid burnout. Basically, you decide to spend a certain amount of time on a given task (maybe 25 minutes) and you let nothing distract you until the “dinger” goes off.Then you take a break. For every four “Pomodoros,” you take a longer break. Another idea is to divide your day into chunks. Perhaps in the morning you make calls or write emails, and save your afternoon for uninterrupted (maybe even offline, gasp) work.

7. Speaking of uninterrupted, for that time you set aside for focused work, silence all of your devices. Put your phone on silent and turn off notifications.

8. When you travel, you don’t have the benefit of that oh-so-perfect-for-you ergonomic chair. So try to stand when you’re working for part of your day. Go to cafés where they have stool seating that’s high enough for standing.Your back will thank you.

9. Always make a list for your next workday. At the end of each day, write down the tasks you need to complete on the morrow. Be sure to look at the list at the start of the next day. End your day by creating yet another list.

10. Give yourself weekends, even if they’re not“on the weekend.”When you set your own schedule, there’s nothing keeping you from working seven days a week, but that’s not best for your health. We all need to rest sometimes. Take two days off in a row, maybe in the middle of the week when the interesting places you want to visit are less busy. You can better explore the city and avoid the crowds.

So go out and enjoy your life. You’re one of the adventurous ones! Immerse yourself in new cultures, practice new languages, and work in a healthy and productive way. 



Nicole Smartt, author of “From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead At Work” (www.nicolesmartt.com) is co-owner and vice president of Star Staffing in Petaluma, Calif. She also is co-founder of the Petaluma Young Professionals Network and was the youngest recipient of the “Forty Under 40” award given by the North Bay Business Journal.

Ten Work Tips for Digital Nomads from Nicole Smartt