Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to work anywhere in the world. However, you need to be prepared if you want to stay productive and make the most of your travel time. It’s wise to foresee likely problems and make sure you can handle them before they arise.
For example, you might not always find it easy to locate a reliable internet connection,or you may find that you are forced to work in a noisy, distracting environment.
Whether you’re typing up a report, drafting a blog post, or negotiating a contract with a client, you’ll need the right tools to get the job done and manage your schedule.
Here are 9 tools that will help you stay productive:
- A reliable file sharing and storage system
If you’ve ever lost an important file, you’ll appreciate the value of secure storage. Google Drive and Drop box are two of the most popular options, allowing you to back up and share files with ease. If your device should get lost or stolen, you’ll still have access to your work.
Google Drive gives you 15MB of free space, whereas Dropbox subscriptions start at less than $20 per month.
- A tool that restricts your internet access
The internet is amazing, but it comes with drawbacks. Most of us are guilty of spending too much time on social media and other unproductive sites. If you’re waiting around for a plane or train, it’s tempting to idly browse online instead of working. Take back control of your time by using an app that blocks your access, such as Freedom.
You can choose to completely remove your internet access, or just restrict your ability to view social media sites and other time-suckers.
- A calendar
A good calendar lets you plan your days, weeks, months, and even your year in advance. Knowing precisely what you need to do and when you need to do it will keep you productive, whether you are on the road or in the office. Try Any or Google Calendar.
Schedule your tasks to reflect your energy levels and itinerary. For example, if you know that you are likely to be jetlagged on a particular day, schedule lighter tasks.
- A timer
If you haven’t tried the Pomodoro Technique, it’s time to give it a chance. It’s a simple system. Just work for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break, and continue until you’ve accumulated four “Pomodoros.” You can use Tomato Timer to help you keep track of your time.It’s a great way to work if you find yourself in a distracting environment and need to work to a deadline.
- A flexible capture app
When you’re traveling, it’s easy to lose track of your notes. Notebooks and pieces of paper get lost, and if you bookmark a lot of webpages to read at a later date, you could find yourself drowning in information.
A capture app that keeps your notes, bookmarks, scanned documents, and PDFs to hand can be a lifesaver when you’re working on the road. Try Evernote, a wonderful tool that helps file your notes quickly and neatly.
- A tool that lets you make calls to anyone, anywhere
If you need to make calls to colleagues or clients, find an app that lets you keep in touch without accumulating a huge bill. Skype Unlimited World is a reliable option. For less than $20 per month, you can call almost any number in 63 countries, and talk for as long as you like.
- A site or app that generates background noise
Research suggests that ambient sounds can improve productivity. Specifically, a moderate level of noise (around 70 decibels) can promote creativity.
High-quality background noises, combined with noise-canceling headphones, let you create a tranquil workspace in even the busiest airport terminals. Popular sounds include coffee shop noises, rain sounds, and birdsong. Try My Noise to discover which noises work best for you.
- An easy way to communicate with your manager or teammates
If you work as part of a team, you’ll need to check in regularly, regardless of your location. Increasingly, teams are using apps that serve as virtual offices.
For example, Slack is trusted by teams all over the world. It makes sharing files and tasks easy, and also makes the working day more engaging by helping everyone recognize one another’s achievements. You can also choose to share your screen with others, an invaluable feature if you need to discuss finer details of a project or demonstrate how to complete a task.
Zoom is another useful tool, specially designed to host video conferences. It lets all attendees share files during calls, share one another’s screens, and provides a secure connection that lets you share sensitive information.
- A mobile hotspot device
Although it’s becoming easier to access the internet anywhere in the world – even on planes – you should never assume that you’ll always be able to get online.
Fortunately, you can buy a mobile hotspot device as a backup. These palm-sized modems work by picking up signals from cellular towers and rebroadcasting them as a Wi-Fi network. A mobile hotspot device works in a similar manner to normal phone data connections, but it doesn’t come with huge bills. This means you can work as usual, without worrying about incurring charges.
Another major advantage of these devices is that they provide secure connections. When you are working on sensitive documents or processing confidential information in a public place using an unprotected connection, you are at risk from hackers.
Preparation is key
With these tools, you’ll be able to keep control of your schedule and workflow whilst on the road. Be realistic when planning your work; it’s best to set modest goals rather than stretch yourself too thin across multiple projects. Try to carve out some time for rest and relaxation – whether you are working in the office or on the other side of the world, you need a good work-life balance to perform at your best.
Elisa is a freelancer whose passion lies in creative writing. When she’s not engaged in assessing translation services for PickWriters, you’ll usually find Elisa sipping cappuccino with a book.