There’s lots of great reasons to become a working nomad. You can cut out the commute. You can work in exotic locations. You can even work at home in your pyjamas, if the mood takes you.
But there are challenges to going paperless and becoming a working nomad. It’s not all sunshine and lollypops. You need the right tools, the right apps, and the right mindset. In this quick guide, we’ll give you the essential tools you need to become a paperless digital nomad.
You need a great laptop
The best place to start is with hardware. You’re going to need a laptop that is fast and portable. Ideally, you want a laptop that can keep operating no matter what you throw at it, whilst at the same time, a laptop that is so light you forget it’s in your bag.
Unless you’re on a tight budget, Ultrabooks are the way to go. Something that has a thirteen- or fourteen-inch screen will be perfect. Here’s a list from TechRadar that runs through some of the best.
The laptop is critical to your work, but there are other add-ons that will make your day-to-day a little easier and more productive. Consider also purchasing:
- Headset for video conferencing: Give a good audio-visual experience to a colleague or client.
- Smartphone: Tethering to mobile networks is useful. Calls to clients might be necessary. And the camera will be useful for photographing notes.
- Power bank: Running out of power at the wrong time is a nightmare.
- SD cards / hard drives: The cloud is becoming ubiquitous, but these are still handy.
Aside from electronics, why not also get a great backpack to make carrying everything a delight.
If you’ve not heard of it, Basecamp is project management and team communication software. We love it because it ensures everyone knows what they’re doing and when it needs to be done for. The Basecamp website proclaims:
“Trusted by millions, Basecamp puts everything you need to get work done in one place.”
And boy does it do it well. Pricing starts at 99$ a month but you can try it for free for 30 days. Unless you’re a solopreneur with zero collaboration, you need this.
For communication between colleagues, Slack is the go-to service. It’s been described as the fastest-growing workplace software the world has ever seen. It makes instant messaging and working with others painless. It’s also a great tool for promoting ‘watercooler’ chat and preserving a strong culture even if your team is working remotely.
Gerald C. Kane, associate professor at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, explains that Slack,
“Allows you to ‘overhear’ what is going on in an organization, which research has shown can lead to business impact. It’s kind of ambient awareness that you just don’t get from e-mail.”
It’s a “hip and friendly service” according to MIT technology review. We consider Slack essential for communication and collaboration in the remote workplace.
Organisation is critical for a well-run business. And if you’re going paperless, you need the software to manage all the notes and mission-critical information of your business. That’s where Evernote comes in. According to Zapier,
“Evernote is a powerful note taking application that makes it easy to capture ideas, images, contacts, and anything else you need to remember. Bring your life's work together in one digital workspace.”
Evernote is also an excellent tool for managing your to-do list. It can take a period of adjustment to work without the accountability of office colleagues around you. Evernote makes managing your day and staying productive easier. Here’s a great article on how to use Evernote for day-to-day productivity.
Having a focused mind is sure to make your more productive. But how do you focus your mind? And isn’t focus something that just happens?
Well, according to these studies, meditation can train your mind to focus more effectively. Whether you’re new to meditation or not, Headspace will make meditating a little easier. With increased mindfulness comes increased focus and productivity.
“I’ve used a meditation app loved by Wall Streeters and Olympic athletes daily for the past 8 months,” says Richard Feloni at Business Insider. “Now I can’t imagine my life without it.”
Give Headspace a try and watch your focus improve.
Boomerang for Gmail
Boomerang for Gmail enables you to schedule when emails are sent and received. It’s a simple but helpful tool.
One of the best uses for Boomerang is to decide when you receive emails. It can be an on-going mission to stay focused without distraction, but if you schedule when you receive emails, everything becomes easier.
You can also use Boomerang to schedule when your emails go out. This means you can guarantee your emails go out at the right time without setting reminders. For example, you want to send an email at a specific time because you know it has a better open-rate at that time. With Boomerang, you can schedule your email at this time without having to do it manually.
You might already have Spotify, but for those yet uninitiated, Spotify is an excellent app for listening to and discovering new music. Yes, this is a list about becoming a working nomad, but music can be an important way to improve focus. A Cambridge Brain Science survey found that, depending on the type of music, concentration and memory can be improved by listening to music as you work.
For more on how to go paperless and work out of your backpack, check out our free guide here.