Location Independent Working: 3 Useful Tools For More Efficient Time Management

by Stephanie Walsh · 10 comments

in The Digital Nomad Life

Useful Tools For More Efficient Time Management

There’s no doubt about it; one of the biggest struggles I have as a location independent worker is trying to manage my time more efficiently.

Working online is full of distractions. One minute you open up a new tab to check Facebook, and twenty minutes later, you emerge from a deep vortex of distractions, only to forget how it all began! At least that’s how it is for me.

Thankfully, for those of us working online, we also have many tools to help us stay focused, be more productive and more effectively manage our time and work.

These are my personal favourite plugins, tools and software programs that I use when I really need to stay focused and get a job done. If you’re also finding it difficult to stay focused, give them a try and let me know how they go for you:


I think RescueTime is my favourite find of the last few months. This amazing time tracking software allows you to completely track your online time, measuring how you spend it, where you spend it, and helping you to discover things that distract you.

Monitor your daily, weekly and monthly productivity with the ‘productivity pulse’, pie-charts, graphs and more geeky goodness! This program is really addictive as it makes you try to beat your personal best, achieve your daily pre-set goals and minimize time in the ‘red zone’ (distracting sites like social media). You can also categorize every website you use into ‘Very Productive’, ‘Productive’, ‘Neutral’, ‘Distracting’ and ‘Very Distracting’, so if you’re a social media manager, your time on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can actually be categorized in the Productive categories.

The most valuable part of using RescueTime is really understanding where your online time is going. I was shocked to see how much time I spend on social media sites in reality, when it was much less in my head.

I use the free version of RescueTime, but there is also a premium version with more features.


Concentrate is a Chrome Web Store add-on/plugin with a simple concept. It allows you to block any number of websites for a designated period of time, so you can get some work done. This is actually a feature of the premium version of RescueTime, but I use Concentrate instead as its free and simple to use.

Just type in the web domains of sites that you find distracting and set the amount of time you would like to block these sites for. Once you click start, there’s no going back…unless you uninstall the app of course….or use a different browser.

But the point is, whenever you subconsciously open a new tab to check Twitter, during a concentration lapse, you’ll be quickly reminded that it’s blocked and you have to get back to work!

Get Concentrate in the Google Chrome Web Store here, for free.


Basecamp is the best project management software I’ve ever used. It’s just beautiful; so easy to use, so simple looking (meaning it’s really very complicated under the skin), and extremely useful. I use Basecamp in my everyday life too, not just for work.

In Basecamp, you can set up projects, add people, create to-do lists, discussions, events, and more.

Basically, Basecamp has got it all, and it really makes my working life more efficient, organized, and streamlined.

Basecamp is by 37signals, the same company behind Highrise, which I also use to manage my email contacts, and send myself reminders for follow-ups, tasks and more. There is both a free and ‘plus’ version of Highrise.

Basecamp has a free 30-day trial so you can see what you think of it, but it is a monthly subscription model thereafter.


Do you use any other useful tools for more efficient time management, when working online? Have you got any tips to help make location independent working easier? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!

Photo Credit: s.yume

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Deia @ Nomad Wallet March 14, 2014 at 1:08 am

RescueTime sounds great! I’ve read that you get 80% of your results from 20% of your efforts, so you should tweak your time investment to focus on the activities that produce the best results. That’s something I’d like to do, but I didn’t know how to begin to even track my online time. Thanks for the recommendation!
Deia @ Nomad Wallet recently posted..The Travel Quiz: What’s Your Travel Personality?My Profile


2 Mike Gardner - The Time Doctor March 16, 2014 at 7:15 am

This is a great article Stephanie, i use Base Camp a lot but have not come across Concentrate or Rescue time before, now of to investigate
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor recently posted..Time Management Tips for Work At Home, business owning, ParentsMy Profile


3 Sam March 16, 2014 at 8:42 am

Cool! I am much more low tech than you guys on this front…I just use one app called Toggl in which I can set up categories and then start a timer to time different tasks I’m doing. So far, I haven’t looked at the results (and I’ve been using it for about 6 months!), but I just find that knowing I’m on a clock makes me more focused. If I decide that, in the middle of writing a new blog post, I want to fiddle around on Facebook, I have to actively go and stop the timer, which sometimes makes me less likely to stop the task!
Sam recently posted..An Eating London Food Tour (Or, How I Got Reacquainted with East London)My Profile


4 Cassie March 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I love the idea of Concentrate! I’ve tried some other writing distraction blockers that trap you in a full screen web-based window but I don’t like that writing interface. This way you can still write in your word processor and have the internet for basic research but can block social media. I’m installing the plugin right now 🙂
Cassie recently posted..A Sweet Day in the East BayMy Profile


5 reena March 19, 2014 at 4:20 am

There are many such efficient tools but the one we had been using is Replicon’s hassle free cloud based time tracking software – http://www.replicon.com/time-tracking-softwares.aspx



6 TammyOnTheMove March 21, 2014 at 10:34 am

I really need to try out concentrate. I always get so distracted by incoming emails and facebook updates. Great tools here guys!
TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Smoking gods, love potions, and llama foetuses in La PazMy Profile


7 Andrew Blackman March 24, 2014 at 6:20 am

Nice article, Stephanie! I just signed up for RescueTime and like it so far, although am a little scared by the amount of trust I’m putting in a company I don’t know. I also use Toggl to track my time, and find that helps keep me on track.
Andrew Blackman recently posted..The Future of Books: Reactive?My Profile


8 hema April 15, 2014 at 10:49 am

When it comes to efficient time management, I always look for an easy solution that can make things much hassle free and better and therefore I prefer Replicon’s cloud based time tracking software – http://www.replicon.com/time-tracking-softwares.aspx which is pretty quick to be implemented and has nice calendar view interface.


9 Arlen Mark May 16, 2014 at 6:27 am

Another tool worth looking is http://www.proofhub.com Feature rich and easy to use tool that makes time as well as project management very easy.


10 Mary grace January 3, 2017 at 3:27 pm

I do agree that, often small businesses hesitate to think of purchasing a business management software, however, to boost the productivity companies has to take risks and invest money. Indeed, all in one software to manage multiple things could be costly, but not all companies require it. Needs of every companies differ as per their businesses, it easy to find a particular solutions that could suffice specific needs.

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