TECH & APPS >
Before you began your Freelance Digital Nomad life, you sat in your office chair at your “normal” desk job and dreamed of being able to work from your laptop at home, or from a local coffee shop, or even from a lounge chair at the beach, and you wondered, why not me?
Now, congratulations! You’re here! Living the life you always dreamed of, with the freedom to work from almost anywhere in the world.
THE PARADOX OF CHOICE
What you may not have known before you “made it” is that being a Freelance Digital Nomad comes with its own unique challenges. Sure, you have all the freedom you’ve always wanted, but with freedom comes the paradox of choice: how will you spend your time? Or rather, how will you manage your time, now that you’re in complete control?
It can be hard staying on top of tasks and managing projects for multiple clients. With that in mind, we at FDN Life have compiled a list of some of our favorite apps to help you stay productive and focused and to encourage a healthy work-life balance.
With Todoist, you can create lists based on project, date, event, etc. and can tag or label each task to keep your lists organized. The design of the app is simple and user-friendly – no gimmicks or frills, just productivity. You can sync the app with your calendar and share projects with clients or team members, making this the ultimate app for freelancers.
The Forest app turns work into play. It prevents mindless scrolling on your smartphone, so you can avoid distractions and cross more things off your to-do list. Forest encourages focus and productivity by giving you two choices: work or lose the game. The app’s streamlined display eliminates distracting bells and whistles, so you’ll be in and out of the app within five seconds, maximizing your time spent doing actual work.
Fabulous will help you build healthier lifestyle habits. Custom “journeys” and challenges motivate you to change your habits step by step, one day at a time, to increase your productivity and focus. You can also use the app to improve your sleep or start exercise routines, and the guided meditations and quick bursts of audio inspiration make this a powerful app for changing your story and taking control of your life.
This one seems pretty obvious. If you’re an FDN, chances are you’re already using Google Drive to share documents, spreadsheets, and other files with clients and colleagues. You can back up and restore files, collaborate with team members on shared documents, access your data and files from anywhere, and the list goes on and on. It’s also completely free to use, which of course is a major bonus.
Slack is a collaboration tool used by freelancers and remote workers everywhere. It’s ultimately a messaging app and makes communication easier and more efficient when working with teams and groups. Create channels and workspaces to organize your conversations and share group-specific files, images, PDFs, and more. You can integrate Slack with Google Drive, which means truly everything can be stored in one place as it relates to each project.
Trello is the project management app for visual learners and doers. The app gives a clear and visually appealing overview of your projects and tasks. Organize by boards, lists, and cards for any given project, and then add notes, checklists, due dates, and more to keep track of your progress. Trello can also be used as a collaboration tool, allowing you to share boards with team members to organize and rank shared projects.
This social media management app allows you to plan and schedule content to share across your social media platforms. Save time with Buffer by managing all your accounts in one place, eliminating the need to hop back and forth between social media apps and sites. Buffer can post your scheduled content while you sleep, making this a must-have app for social media managers, freelancers, influencers, and bloggers everywhere.
IFTTT (if this, then that) is exactly what it sounds like: a tool that triggers actions, based on prior actions. For example, you can set up an “applet” to automatically share new tweets to a specific Facebook Page; and there are applets to add Facebook Page posts to your Buffer queue or to create calendar events for your Todoist tasks. You can set up applets to trigger actions across a plethora of different apps, websites, and even smart home devices. It’s another free service, making this an obvious choice for FDNs.
Focus Booster is a desktop app that uses the Pomodoro time management technique to improve your focus. The default length of time is set at 25 minutes, but you can set a timer for up to 90 minutes of focus. When the timer goes off, you’re encouraged to stop and take a break for 5 minutes. You can use the built-in client and hourly rate settings, as well, to track time spent on paid projects, and you’re able to export session reports to clients with your invoice for payment.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
The apps we’ve mentioned here are incredible tools for improving your focus and productivity throughout the day, but remember that your level of output and how you manage your time really comes down to knowing your limits and learning how and when to say “no.”
Be prepared for the challenges of the life of an FDN; put some strategic plans in place and respect your own boundaries. Set yourself up for success by having some of these productivity apps at the ready, and you’ll not only impress your employers and clients, but you’ll also impress yourself.