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20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

Living a life of perpetual travel is pretty exciting – new destinations, new cultures and new incredible people to meet and hang out with! However, working on the road can get pretty hectic at times. As a digital nomad I have found myself in rather awkward situations a lot – from missed deadlines due to incorrect time zone conversion to a nearly missed plane when I forgot to print out my booking and confused the time (I did catch that plane though!).

Being your own boss is equally awesome and hellish. Juggling numerous tasks at once and getting things done super-fast with a terrible wi-fi connection requirea killer organizational skills and zen-like concentration. Try using the next 20 websites and apps to make your life as a digital nomad easier, less stressful and even more exciting!

1. Trello

Trello

    Trello is your go-to website to stay organized and work super-efficiently on the road. It’s a free service that allows you to create numerous boards for your ongoing projects and plans. Tired of having numerous notes scattered around different apps and lengthy email threads with your clients or team? Just drag and drop them all to Trello, where you can easily collaborate, quickly exchange ideas and notes in the form of cards, leave comments and track the overall progress of the project. You can create numerous boards and organize them the way you like, upload files to each, set deadlines and notifications, plus easily share everything with one click.

    My Trello contains two sets of boards – personal and business. I use the first to keep all my travel plans neat and make sure I won’t confuse the flight time or overstay my visa; the second to keep a visual account of my personal goals and various arrangements. The business board is where I have a list of ongoing projects composed into simple to-dos with their current statuses –  along with all the comments from my clients and a separate column for follow-ups.

    Trello is an incredible free alternative to similar project management softwares I used before and it can be used for tackling any job – from house renovation to multi-stage marketing campaign! Also available as an app for iOS and Android devices to get updates on the go.

    2. f.lux

    F.lux_App_Review

      As a digital nomad you often find yourself working late at night or early morning to keep up with your clients’ time zones. Love checking your email or reading a few articles from your iPad before going to bed? (I do!). Even if you don’t feel it yet, your eyes are seriously suffering from those habits and you can end up having troubles with sleeping as the blue light from your devices negatively impacts your sleeping patterns. Use f.lux – a handy software that will automatically adjust the color of your computer’s display to the time of day – warm at night and like sunlight during the day. F.lux allowed me to be more productive in the mornings and made it easier to slow down my activity in the evenings. As a digital nomad it is essential to stay refreshed as your income depends solely on your productivity. Besides, haven’t we escaped the cubicle to have a better work/life balance and more rest in the first place?

      3. [email protected]

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        As we often find ourselves working at various places around the globe – from a crowded bus station to a jam-packed bar (the only place that has decent wi-fi in the area) – concentrating on your work gets extremely difficult. That’s where [email protected] comes to rescue. The service offers a wide selection of white noise and simple tunes selected according to a neuroscience-based approach. It seems to work pretty great as I stayed way more concentrated on my work compared to the times when I just blasted my favorite tunes and murmured along. A 30-day free trial has a limited selection of tracks and will stop playing them in an hour (although it could be restarted immediately). The paid service will cost you around $10 for three months. Also available as a free app for iOS and Android devices.

        4. Shopify

        themestore

          Let’s admit it, being a digital nomad and working solo gets challenging at times. There are days when you feel like a Renaissance man trying to tackle all things at once and getting expertise in numerous areas. That’s especially true when you are just about to launch your business website, blog or an online store. If you are a creative, you have only basic knowledge (if any) in CSS, HTML or integrated payment systems, so you spend endless hours figuring out how things work instead of doing what you are really good at and earning money.

          Try Shopify – a service providing custom no-hassle ecommerce solutions. They offer everything from secure hosting and mobile-optimized websites to secure check-outs with some 70 payment getaways to choose from and assistance with running your online marketing campaign. The rates are incredibly affordable and start from just $29 per month for unlimited access to all their services and features or opt for a 14 day free trial to test them out first!

          5. Rescue Time

          time-rescuetime

            Proper time management is another great struggle all digital workers face. How many times you have found yourself spending over 12 hours a day in front of your screen and not having all things done? Yeah, it happens to me quite in a while, so I’ve started using Rescue Time – to stay on top of my productivity while still having a normal work/life balance. Install it on your computer and all devices to have an accurate picture of how much time you spend doing certain activities or browsing certain sites (khm..cat videos on YouTube). At the end of each week you’ll receive an email with a fair statement on your (un)productivity.

            Rescue Time enables you to give more accurate deadlines to your clients; create accurate hourly invoices as you know exactly how much time you’ve spent doing a certain task and adjusting your rates accordingly and eliminate random activity during your working hours. You can use Light Rescue Time version for free or opt for the premium plan at $6 per month.

            6. Every Time Zone

            Every Time Zone

              As you probably work with people based anywhere from New Zealand to the West Coast keeping an eye on the deadline or updating them on your progress at 9 am each day may get tricky. Just as sending follow-ups, project proposals and invoices at the right time of the day. Every Time Zone is another great solution for keeping proper track of the time – your client’s time. Add all time zones you need, add your time in the marker at the top and see where this lands in everyone else’s day. No more crazy maths with figuring out when do you need to ring up Joe on Skype if he asked to do that at 11 am EST.

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              7. XE Currency

              xe-currency

                How many currencies do you have in your wallet? My guess is more than two. As a digital nomad and perpetual traveler you have to keep track on the conversion rates and different currencies all the time. To make sure you are charging an equally fair price in USD/EU/GBP or any other currency out there use XE Currency. Get live conversion rates instantly or add up a list of your preferred and sync ahead of time to have instant offline access from any device. XE Currency is available as a web service, iOS, Android, Windows Phone apps and more.

                8. Trail Wallet

                trail-wallet-3-up

                  My second essential money app for digital nomads is Trail Wallet (currently iOS only). It’s a beautifully crafted and easy-to-use app for tracking your expenses across multiple countries and currencies. You can organize your spendings by country or my month, set max daily budgets and add each dollar you’ve spent on the go. At the end of the month the app will tell you if you gone over your budget or where exactly did the cash flow. It’s perfect for analyzing the cost of living and working at different cities and countries, thus finding the optimal home-base for you when you get tired of being on the road and need to settle down for a while.

                  9. Xero

                  xero_dashboard

                    And to keep better track of your business-related expenses try Xero. Arguably, the best online bookkeeping and accounting service out there for all the non-accountants. It’s perfect for sending invoices, keeping track of the cash-flow and setting payment notifications on credit cards and recruiting payments. It neatly categorizes all your bank transactions and reconciles them with the transactions you have made in Xero to keep things even more simple. Available for numerous iOS and Android devices, so you can always have access to your data at no time.

                    10. Tripit

                    tripit-ipad2

                      Tripit is one of the best travel planners out there! It’s free, fast and most importantly – works off-line. Just say no more to papers and lost emails. Forward all your booking confirmations – hotels, flights, car rental etc and let the app do all the magic for you by turning it into an easy-to-follow itinerary. You can set up notifications and get access to your data from any device without internet connection. Tripit reduced my frustration of arriving to the wrong terminal or roaming around the new city with my baggage as I haven’t written down the hotel address correctly. It’s a great app I seriously recommend using it to basically anyone who travels.

                      11. 1Password

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                        Sharing sensitive data, especially passwords with your clients or team and keeping track of them can get challenging. That’s why I’ve started using 1Password – a super secure password-sharing service that allows you to create special vaults with a set of passwords to tools and services only accessible to the people you’ve shared it with. Available for numerous devices, the service gives you peace of mind when sharing anything sensitive via unprotected networks. Speaking of which…

                        12. Private Internet Access

                        Private-Internet-Access-Sof

                          Keep all your data and computer protected by opting for Private Internet Access. Often we need to make those last minute payments or credit card purchases and the only internet available is a suspicious unprotected network your device somehow found. By using an anonymous encrypted VPN and a private IP you can be 100% sure none of your payment data will be fished or passwords stolen.

                          13. Workfrom

                          Workfrom  A place to work from wherever you roam

                            Find the best coffee shops and cafes in your area with this service. Workfrom has a great pool of venues in major US cities – New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle – and more destinations worldwide to be added soon! The service is free to join and you’ll get access to numerous cool spots with unbiased opinions of wi-fi connection and cappuccino quality from digital nomads just like you. Reviews also include price range, meals available, general atmosphere and noise range, along with some pro-tips on where to find sockets and which table is the most secluded. I have discovered some of my all time favorites this way like Mr Bean in Amsterdam.

                            14. Spotted by Locals

                            Spotted-by-Locals-Visit-Helsinki-City-of-Helsinki’s-official-website-for-tourism-and-travel-information-2014-09-23-17-06-36-600x517

                              Another awesome service to discover good meals and thrilling events at your current base. Spotted by Locals is not that typical city guide with boring touristy routes, but an amazing resources with awesome recommendations from the locals on things to do and places to check out. After all, you’ve chosen a location independent lifestyle to explore the world more, not just spend hours tapping on the keywords in a different environment.

                              Currently, the website has numerous recommendations for all major European cities – Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Warsaw and many more, plus it gradually expands into North America with Boston, LA, Toronto and Montreal guides recently added. You can browse around the free categorized selection of activities at the website or pay$ 2.99 for a PDF guide with all tips and places neatly listed on the map. Or opt for iOS or Android app ($3.99 each) to gain offline access to one of the city guides along with a detailed map.

                              15. Jawbone UP

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                                Now when you know where to go and what to see, here’s a handy app that will help you get unstuck from your laptop. Jawbone UP will gently nag you when it’s time to get up and unwind a bit. Install the app and connect it to all your hardware, than let the Up Activity Tracker (a lovely bracelet) analyze your sleeping and activity patterns to help you creating a better lifestyle. The app will monitor and analyze all your actions and suggest you a healthier schedule, help you sleep better and keep up with the exercise routine (which gets erratic when you are on the move). Why do we need more time if we don’t spend it wise, right? The app is free for iOS and Android, however you’ll have to pay 129$ for the bracelet tracker or 49.99$ for the clip.

                                16. SugarSync

                                09_cld_sugarsync-11389459

                                  Some like DropBox, others opt for Google Drive, yet my go-to cloud storage service is SugarSync. It’s simpler, more powerful and has a really slick design. After you install it, you just need to right-click the file/folder to instantly back them up at the cloud. Besides, any further change you make to that data will be automatically synchronized. Large files get uploaded extra fast and you can get 250 GB storage space for just $99.99 per year. Also you can access, share and edit all your files via free iOS or Android app supported on numerous devices. Now, I’ve finally stopped worrying what should I do if my laptop gets broken/stolen.

                                  17. Contactually

                                  ContactuallyDashboard83113

                                    If you don’t like to get broke and return home, you have to invest a fair share of your time in building ongoing relationships with your clients, vendors or customers depending on what do you do for a living. To avoid this whole thing becoming a huge pain try using Contactually – a simple, yet powerful service that will tell you when and whom you should keep in touch with and how you could maximize your ROI by connecting with the right people at the right time. It will send you notifications when you’ve fallen out of touch with certain contacts (which can mean missed opportunities in the perspective) and prompt when you should reconnect with the most important contacts from your network by providing helpful context clues like social updates and recent conversations to make the whole thing look more genuine. The service boasts that their users get up to 40% more referrals after using their service (backed by case studies) which is kind of essential for you if you’d like to live the nomadic life and work for yourself!

                                    18. Schedule Once

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                                      If you are working on multiple projects with multiple clients at a time – Schedule Once is your kick-ass service to schedule online meetings and conferences. Create a sleek pre-set calendar when you are available and send people a unique link that allows them to select a suitable time for both of you to connect. The service is fantastic for anyone offering consulting services or coaching sessions and costs just 5$ per month!

                                      19. Spaxtel

                                      Spaxtel_5

                                        Sometimes the internet gets so crappy that calling by Skype is impossible. Or you have a very-very important conversation scheduled and you don’t want any possible glitches to interrupt you. That’s when it’s worth using Spaxtel – a cool service that enables you to make land-line quality phone calls via callback. You don’t need to install any software or have internet access. The rates depends on the quality of call you choose (the lowest discount is pretty great) and the countries from/to you are calling. So far, the price proved to be nearly Skype-affordable for a better overall quality of connection.

                                        20. Earth Class Mail

                                        earth-class-mail

                                          Snail mail isn’t that popular these days, but you still get some important stuff via it. Say bills and some paychecks. If you don’t want to bug your parents or friends’ to deal with your mail while you are out, try using Earth Mail Class – an affordable mail forwarding service that scans and forwards your mail to the e-mail address of your choice, deposits your checks (for a fee), saves PDFs of your postal mail online and offers in-person pickup and package signing.

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                                          Elena Prokopets

                                          Freelance Writer

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                                          Last Updated on March 21, 2019

                                          11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                                          11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                                          Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                                          You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                                          But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                                          To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                                          It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                                          “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                                          The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                                          In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                                          Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                                          1. Start Small

                                          The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                                          Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                                          Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                                          Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                                          Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                                          Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                                          It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                                          Do less today to do more in a year.

                                          2. Stay Small

                                          There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                                          But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                                          If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                                          When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                                          I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                                          Why?

                                          Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                                          The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                                          Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                                          3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                                          No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                                          There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                                          What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                                          Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                                          This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                                          This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                                          4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                                          When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                                          There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                                          Peter Drucker said,

                                          “What you track is what you do.”

                                          So track it to do it — it really helps.

                                          But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                                          5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                                          Peter Drucker also said,

                                          “What you measure is what you improve.”

                                          So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                                          For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                                          For writing, it’s 500 words.
                                          For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                                          For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                                          Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                                          6. All Days Make a Difference

                                          Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                                          Will two? They won’t.

                                          Will three? They won’t.

                                          Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                                          What happened? Which one made you fit?

                                          The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                                          No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                                          7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                                          Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                                          But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                                          What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                                          It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                                          The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                                          It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                                          It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                                          8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                                          Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                                          Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                                          When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                                          The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                                          Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                                          9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                                          The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                                          Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                                          You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                                          But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                                          So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                                          If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                                          This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                                          The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                                          Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                                          10. Punish Yourself

                                          Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                                          I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                                          It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                                          You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                                          No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                                          The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                                          But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                                          11. Reward Yourself

                                          When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                                          Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                                          The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                                          After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                                          If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                                          Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                                          If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                                          In the End, It Matters

                                          What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                                          When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                                          And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                                          “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                                          Keep going.

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                                          More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                                          Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                                          [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                                          [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                                          [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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