Digital Nomad Time Management: Ultimate Hacks for Beginners

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The digital nomad lifestyle is fun. However, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced traveler, one small aspect tends to prove difficult to manage, and that is time. Digital nomad time management, if mastered, can help you excel at travel and work.

Timing is everything. A proven study has shown that at least 82% of people don’t have a time management system. As a result, much time is wasted, with so little being accomplished.

Key Takeaways

  • Effective time management is crucial for digital nomads to balance work and travel effectively.
  • Prioritizing tasks, setting clear working hours, and using to-do lists are fundamental for managing time efficiently.
  • Techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, Pareto Analysis, and Eisenhower Matrix can aid in productivity and task prioritization.
  • Several free tools like Clockify, RescueTime, FocusMe, Todoist, and Workflow can assist in time tracking, focus, and task management.

Why digital nomad time management is essential?

The most logical answer would be to meet set deadlines and desired goals and enhance your work and travel performance. In addition, proper time management separates the digital nomad from procrastination, an eternal rival of time.

Here are some reasons why time management is a must-have skill.

Tackle more in less time

We all get 24 hours in a day, and this can be broken down into three aspects: 

  1. 8 hours of sleep
  2. 8 hours of work
  3. 8 hours of recreation

However, not everybody respects this nowadays due to poor time management. A study shows that spending an average of 10-12 minutes planning your day can save you no less than two hours of your time. Planning your day the night before gives you a clear target of all that needs to be achieved the following morning/day.

To properly plan your day to tackle more in less time, you need to stick to these three principles:

  • Planning. This involves having a basic checklist of all duties that need to be done and accomplished within a given day and at a particular time. Once a task is complete, you can check it off the list and feel good about it. Feeling good is the best part of checking an item off any list.
  • Prioritizing. Take the challenging tasks into account first since they are the ones that are likely to consume the most time. Then the less demanding tasks can follow next. One thing would lead to another, and before you know it, you’d be done with your tasks in no time. You might want to prioritize essential tasks first. For digital nomads, essential tasks could include figuring out digital nomad visas.
  • Performing. This involves selecting one particular task on the list and doing it till it is 100% complete, with little to no distractions. 

You’d be amazed at how much you can achieve with the above three steps, however essential they seem. This will raise your productivity level and improve the speed at which you get things done, as well as the quality and quantity of your work.

Save time for yourself

Since digital nomads work from the comfort of their homes or any region in the world, work tends to become a little overwhelming and as a result, losing track of time becomes inevitable.

Remember that life as a digital nomad is about enjoying your time to the fullest. Don’t let your work goals and deadlines consume your life and negatively impact your mood.

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One sure way of not being lost at work is by setting reminders on your phone. This helps you keep track of the number of hours you’ve worked and additionally assists you by reminding you that the hour of having a little me time has arrived.

Travel longer without feeling overwhelmed

Taking time to explore the world is a life-changing step. You should know that most of your overwhelming feelings can be self-inflicted. This feeling can be burdensome if you are just starting out as a digital nomad.

There’s comfort and excitement in planning, but overdoing it can cause you to have doubts about traveling. To avoid such an occurrence, it is important that you practice time management as a digital nomad. Once you have mastered the art of managing time, other things seem much easier to do.

Must-know digital nomad time management tips

We’ve now arrived at the heart of this article. As a digital nomad, time is your most cherished possession, but knowing how to manage it is essential, regardless of being a beginner or not. With that said, let’s analyze some of the ways you can manage your time effectively.

Practice self-discipline in your routine

Self-discipline gives one the power to remain focused on personal goals and to stay in complete control. Keeping a schedule and sticking to it is one of the best practices of self-discipline.

However, don’t strive for perfection since this is where you’re likely to mess things up a bit. Once you begin a task on your schedule and time runs out without completing it, move on to the next.

Remember, time is a luxury you cannot afford to waste. Therefore, don’t spend too much time on one task alone. Be mindful of what’s consuming your time and take steps accordingly.

Be clear about working hours.

One of the perks of being a digital nomad is choosing which hours you want to work, and since you do what you love, this is a huge plus. Set at least 4-8 hours from your schedule. This is ample time to generate enough income to cater to your traveling and personal needs.

Procrastination can tend to become a habit for most digital nomads. Fitting the working hours in your schedule and sticking to them is essential to make the most out of your nomadic experience.

Make a to-do list and stick with it

To-do lists have a way of creating a sense of fulfillment. They make you see that your day wasn’t a total waste and that you accomplished something, however big or small.

To do list for digital nomads
Photo by Breakingpic

A to-do list comes in handy when planning your day, but remember that you need to complete tasks and not accomplish goals. It would help if you had a clear understanding of the difference between the two.

Assign at least 4-5 tasks within a given day or due date, and stick to them. This practice develops into a norm and encourages consistency amidst your daily routine.

Start with complex tasks first

Some challenging tasks tend to be more complicated than others. You need to identify the tough tasks first and deal with them accordingly. However, a good strategist knows that taking all hard tasks at a go will consume all their precious time.

As a digital nomad, you must be wise when handling complicated tasks. Take one task and break it down into 2-3 milestones. By doing so, you not only make significant progress but also retain enough energy to handle the other tasks.

Incorporate at least two challenging tasks and 2-3 minor tasks to create a good balance.

Setting reminders

Most people tend to underestimate the importance of this. Reminders help save time as well as keep you on schedule.

The good thing about them is you can set them using your phone. Take your handy device and go to your calendar app. On the bottom right, select the option of creating a reminder.

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Input your reminder, select the date and time, and repeat the reminder (if needed). Tap save, and you’re all set. Whenever a reminder is complete, the app automatically marks it as done, or in some instances, it is crossed out. 

Plan your weekends

So you’re done with your weekday activities, it’s time to have a weekend you’ll never forget! The question is, how do I plan my weekends? How do I make the most out of them? 

Planning your weekends ahead of them is an excellent way to start. Since you’re in a new environment, there are many activities and sites to choose from, but you can’t visit them all. To make the most of your time and travel experience, visit the main attraction sites and engage in popular activities as you mingle with locals.

Spreading different activities in different locations throughout your weekends is a healthy practice. By doing so, you’ll create excitement and have more fun than planning when the weekend arrives, which is likely to cause chaos.

If you are traveling with a pet, plan something for them.

Work with a virtual assistant

Getting outside help from a virtual assistant is not a bad idea. Building a working relationship with one can boost your time management immensely. Say you have too many tasks and duties to handle by yourself. Delegating some tasks to your virtual assistant (VA) can help save you time and allow you to focus on more pressing matters.

However, remember your VA is there to help you ensure you stay on schedule and get work done faster while meeting deadlines.

Limit distractions

Distractions sometimes come when you least expect them, and sometimes they can’t be dodged. However, it would help if you didn’t get discouraged by this. Instead, find out what causes you to get distracted easily and set it aside. This could either be your computer, phone, or even Netflix.

If you use your computer or phone for work, be sure to turn off social media notifications or any other notifications aside from the work you’re focusing on. By doing this, you end up limiting distractions and minimizing the chances of trying to multitask.

Focus mode is a great feature on many smartphones, and it can help you eliminate distractions by only sending notifications that you care about.

Think twice about multitasking

As a digital nomad, don’t take it upon yourself to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. This will lead to exhaustion, confusion, low-quality work, and eventually wasting more time than you had initially planned.

Muultitasking
Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV

However, if you’re confident that you can handle more than one task, you can indulge yourself. It’s advisable that you handle at least two tasks at a go since taking more than that is sure to significantly impact your time and take a toll on your work. 

Take a step back

Your mind needs to relax, and the muscles need to release some pent-up tension created by either working or traveling. Taking a step back from your daily routine can give you a clear visual of your progress. This, in turn, gives you the morale to continue doing what you do best.

Remember that self-kindness is essential, and taking a break is always important.

Digital nomad time management techniques

As a digital nomad, there are techniques that you need to master to gain control over your time. These techniques have withstood the test of time and are sure to help you.

Pomodoro technique

Francesco Cirillo developed this technique in the 80s. Decades later, it isis widely used by digital nomads and anyone else to assist in managing their time. It uses a timer set at exactly 25 minutes, allowing you to break down work into sections, incorporating a minimum break of five minutes after every 25 minutes you work.

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This technique is effective because it combats procrastination, and multitasking minimizes distractions and increases your concentration. Mastering such an incredible technique and implementing it during your working hours and the to-do list is a sure way to save you a lot of time and energy.

Pareto Analysis

Commonly known as the 80/20 rule, this technique can come in handy among digital nomads worldwide. In essence, this particular analysis is based on the idea that an average of 80% of your project’s outcome results from the 20% effort you put into it.

One of its merits is that it equips you with good decision-making skills. This allows you to identify and resolve tasks as you categorize them in the order of highest priority (complex tasks) and the less demanding (minor tasks).

Eisenhower Matrix

Thanks to modern technology, planning and organizing oneself have never been easier. The matrix can help you categorize tasks and projects by their importance and urgency in a two-by-two form. This enables you to compare notes and determine.

  • The projects that need to be completed immediately (urgent) 
  • Projects that are of importance but not urgent 
  • Projects that are unimportant but urgent and can be assigned to your virtual assistant
  • Projects that are neither important nor urgent can be erased.

Best free digital nomad time management tools

Fortunately, there is countless application software that are just begging for you to use them. Let’s take a look at 5 of the most popular tools that you can make use of.

Clockify

A case study shows that only 20% of people conduct time audits, a great way to save time. The Clockify app lets you do just that. The best feature of this app is that it’s free, so you won’t have to worry about any extra costs.

RescueTime

This app has a special feature that informs you on where you’re spending too much time and how much time you’re wasting, and it assists you in finding a healthy balance.

FocusMe

The app is available on smartphones and can track the exact amount of time you spend on distracting sites and enables you to block them to focus more on what you’re doing.

Todoist

This app is just amazing — both with a free and paid plan. For example, if you input “go to the gym on Tuesday at noon,” the app sets the information automatically and attributes it to that specific date on your calendar. Workflow. The framework connects all the apps on your device so that you can access them without all the unnecessary taps. It helps you manage applications all in one place.

What We Think

Mastering time management is pivotal for digital nomads juggling work and travel. Setting clear priorities, adhering to schedules, and leveraging effective tools can significantly enhance productivity.

Techniques like Pomodoro, Pareto Analysis, and the Eisenhower Matrix are proven strategies. Using tools like Clockify and Todoist can streamline task management and time tracking.

Efficient time management not only boosts productivity but also provides the freedom to explore and enjoy the nomadic lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the questions that are common about digital nomad time management.

Why should I manage my time as a digital nomad?

Managing your time as a digital nomad can help you save some extra hours that you can use to do what you love, which is traveling the world.

Are there apps that can help me manage my time?

Several apps let you manage your time. Clockify and Todoist are a couple of great apps that let you do that.

Why can’t I get things done on time?

If you struggle with getting things done on time, feel free to approach a professional counselor for help, as it might help you better understand your schedule and clarify how to make time management work for you.

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Being Digital Nomad provides verified information and reporting on digital nomad visas, remote jobs, destinations, and resources. Subscribe to the newsletter for more.

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