Find your rhythm and increase your productivity as a digital nomad

This post originally appeared on the CloudPeeps blog.

It’s 4:37pm and you realized you only crossed out one item on your long to-do list. Don’t worry, I’ve been there. The cold winter months and the distraction from the return of your favorite shows (House of Cards fans?!) has your productivity at a low.

The life of a digital nomad is an illustrious one, but also one that is to be disciplined. Over the past few months, I’ve been focusing on maximizing my time. I’ve established four sure-fire ways that helped me to increase my productivity…

1) Establish a rhythm

Shala Burroughs wrote a post a few months ago about circadian rhythms. Do you know yours? For me, I work best with a visual schedule. So I created a color-coded schedule of time blocks for each client that is saved to my desktop. I also get my best work done away from my room (coffee shops, co-working spaces) and with music playing in my ears. This is my rhythm. Find yours and stick to it. If you find yourself needing to switch it up every now and then, do so.

Takeaway: In search of coffee shops with great wi-fi and enough plugs? Check out Crew’s compiled list of spots around the world.

2) Apps are your friend

There are so many project management apps out there that make it a little easier to manage your work. Some of my favorites are Slack, Buffer and TeamWork. Slack is a great tool to stay in communication with your remote team. Buffer helps you to manage your social platforms through scheduling, content creation and analytics. Teamwork is a central location for your team to manage all tasks, send reports and archive files.

Takeaway: Levo League also compiled a short list of apps that “will make you the master of productivity.”

3) Do away with the unnecessary

Those three-hour plus meetings, overloaded inboxes and mid-day phone calls aren’t helping you to produce better work. Rather, they’re becoming distractions that create longer to-do lists. Academic studies show that “workers are interrupted, or self-interrupt, roughly every three minutes by distractions in both digital and human forms.” Use Teamwork, Slack and other apps to communicate frequently and reduce meeting times. Schedule specific times during the day to check your inboxes and don’t let emails control your day.

Takeaway: “A day filled with shooting the breeze, answering questions, staring at emails, and chatting with colleagues won’t make you rich. It’ll make you busy.” — amended quote from Scott Scheper, tech entrepreneur and author of How to Get Focused: Get Focused in an Age of Distraction.

4) Unplug

This is the golden rule of productivity. As digital nomads, we are glued to various forms of technology to accomplish different tasks. Our mobile devices has put everything at our fingertips, leaving us hyper-connected. Unplugging re-charges you, and gives you the space to genuinely connect with family and friends. Whether morning runs, brunch with friends or weekly family dinners, unplugging is an essential way to ease your mind, which inherently allows you to produce better work.

Takeaway: Heading on vacation? Really vacate and unplug from your device. See Ariana Huffington’s challenge. You will be surprise how unplugging and taking full advantage of the world around you boosts your creativity.

How are you maximizing productivity to release that stellar digital nomad within you?

Natasha J. Benjamin is a globally active digital strategist and instructor. Dedicated to developing communities and examining cultural shifts, Natasha enthusiastically consults, strategizes and educates..