After extensive travel, coffee shop working and multiple projects, I’ve found a bunch of tools to help make my life easier. Here in one place are the essential tools for digital nomads and freelancers that I can no longer live without. Disclosure: some are affiliate links, but all are products I love.
I’m not going to go down the Mac/Other rabbit hole, but regardless of which actual laptop you choose, there are some accessories that are a must. Not only will they make your life easier on a day to day basis, over the long term they can dramatically improve your health.
A lightweight, portable laptop stand is a must. For the true digital nomad / freelancer look, the Roost Stand is the obvious choice. It has several height settings, is compact when folded and is easy to set up. For those not wishing to break the budget, the Nexxt Stand will give you 100% of the functionality for less than half the price.
I’ve heard of people in their early twenties suffering from RSI. If you batter a poorly designed keyboard for twenty hours a day, then there will be long term consequences regardless. But an ergonomic mouse will help with clickwheelitus. I use a budget friendly Anker Vertical Mouse, but there really are loads to choose from.
The coffee shop is the spiritual home of the writer / freelancer. It is also home to moms with pre-schoolers, not many of whom respect your sacred writing process. Or the fact you have a deadline in an hour. Noise cancelling headphones are a must. Again, you can go top of the range with Bose headphones or a little more affordable (and transportable) with these Soundwhizz waterproof ones. As long as you can hide the screams without turning your phone up to max and destroying your hearing.
For writing, it has to be Scrivener. I can’t imagine creating documents or manuscripts in anything else. The ability to organise and swap sections without having to cut and paste from a single giant Word document is worth the learning curve.
Time is money. To make sure that ‘social media’ isn’t sucking my day away, cunningly disguised as work, I use Toggl.
I’m a pen and paper freak. There, I said it. Being creative, problem solving, grabbing quick ideas on the go are all so much more natural on paper. I also find it easier to recall the details afterwards, as if the sensory aspect improves my memory. Again, good quality tools without breaking the bank and being paranoid you’ll lose them when you’re out and about is the name of the game. For a notebook, I recommend Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover (A5 size) or, if you want something rough, ready, fun and pocket sized, then I just love Field Notes.
When it comes to pens, get a Retro51 Tornado if you want to use an amazing rollerball. If you are a true adventurer, get the ability to write anywhere (including the moon), with a Fisher Space Pen. Fountain pens are impractical, but I love them and use them all the time. For maximum lightness and portability, a Kaweco Sport is a great place to start.
If there are any other essential tools you think I’ve missed, then let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for new toys and tools to try!