Build a Successful App Toolkit for Remote Work

Fine-tuning your app toolkit can be the difference between hours of frustration and hours of stress-free work.

Creating a high-quality set of resources for work can save you hours. Naturally, crafting a toolkit can take some time to get started, but within a few weeks you’ll be rewarded back with that time you’ve lost.

Although we shouldn’t rely on these tools to help us get the job done, we should respect their value at how they weave into our daily routines.

For remote workers, your toolkit is essential.

Workflow can be fundamental to a full day’s productivity, so it’s important to spend some time on getting your set-up suited to your work, as you begin.

Creating a Toolkit

Tools are the bread and butter of your role

The first step to creating an app toolkit is to understand your needs.

There are different types of remote workers, with various skill sets, goals and missions in their work, so knowing where you stand crucial to defining the tools and resources you’ll be using across your work day.

  1. Define your needs – What are you aiming to accomplish with your toolkit? Being a designer and marketer will massively vary the apps you’ll be including in your toolkit. Make sure you know this.
  2. Highlight your struggle – What issues do you have in your daily workflow? May be you are getting overwhelmed by email or to-do’s or loosing your flight tickets? Adapt your toolkit to your digital pains.
  3. Keep adjusting – Your final layout is by no means the end of the journey. Continue to tweak which apps you’re using, be open-minded about new services, and embrace tools that can help accomplish your remote work.

We’ve brought together a handful of resources for remote workers that we think will help to progress your productivity wherever you may be.

These resources will give you a strong starting point to creating your very own toolkit. We’ve highlighted two key core situations for remote workers. The short-term and the professional worker.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. — Abraham Lincoln.

For Travelers & Short-Term Remote Workers

Travel and work, combined into one.

For those nomads and explorers discovering the world on their travels, remote work might still be a defining part of your experience. You may be working fewer hours and discovering new parts of a country alongside, but working remotely can give you the flexibility, income, and security you need to keep all the cogs working.

You’ll likely be looking at a short-term plan to remote work, as you travel, so making sure you’re geared up is important wherever you find yourself. Assuring your files and necessary systems are in place for on the road work is vital in working with existing and new clients from where you are.

Here are a few resources to help out with your adventures:

APPS

  • Google Drive — Create and sort your documents online and offline
  • Todoist — Get things done with to do list management, offline
  • Slack — Communicate with your team in real-time from across seas
  • Evernote — For note-taking and document storage, Evernote rocks
  • LastPass — Saving your passwords for later, perfect for on-the-go
  • Fantastical 2 — Organise your work and personal events
  • RescueTime — Reduce your distractions with this simple tracker
  • Scanbot — Capture any document in perfect quality
  • Basecamp 3 — Organise new projects with easy-to-use software
  • Hours — Track the holiday time and work time to audit your productivity

WEBSITES

  • Wi-Fi Finder — Find Wi-Fi in your local area to plan your next trip
  • NomadList— Speak with travelers and remote workers around the world

Working away from home can be exciting, but you need to be prepared.

Resources that provide seamless offline work can be the tools to help you craft an easier remote working experience. All of these apps have been tried and tested by remote workers and provide great experiences.

For Professional, Full-Time Remote Workers

Cafes and home offices are your go-to place.

Professional remote-workers can work from anywhere.

A lot of them spend their time at home, or in cafes, but these remote workers work permanently with a company, or many companies, so communication and maximizing quality of time is vital.

For these remote-workers, making the most of their time is at the top of the list, so improving your app usage, developing better on the go productivity, and fluid team communication is essential.

These resources are geared for this style of worker to help coordinate better results on a day-to-day basis:

APPS

  • Twist — Great to day-to-day team communication
  • Trello — Create new projects and mind map with your team
  • Zapier — Connect all of your apps to help streamline your workflow
  • Strides — Track your habits and routines
  • Zoho Notebook — Collect your bright ideas using images and audio
  • Product Hunt — Keep track of all of the latest, trending apps and tools
  • Toggl — Track your time as you go about your day
  • Blinkist — Learn using condensed non-fiction 15-minute books
  • Newton — Streamline your emails with scheduling, undo send and more
  • Bear — Capture your thoughts using distraction-free notes

WEBSITES:

  • The Muse — Get advice on new career moves and trends
  • SignalvsNoise — A blog from a remote team documenting their journey

*All of the resources mentioned in the “short-term” remote workers segment can be used in a long-term set-up.

Working from

The home/cafe professional remote-worker is someone to be respected. They have managed to score a work-from-anywhere role and take control of their environment.

Remote working is a growing trend across the US and the rest of the world with a whopping 77% stating that remote work helps them boost their day-to-day productivity.

Keep Your Apps Fresh

Keep refreshed.

Apps need to be kept updated to adapt to your busy schedules.

As you progress, so does your work needs, so keeping a tap on what you need on a daily basis will help you to reform the tools you use everyday.

Fresh, well-nurtured workflows are always the best to work with.

Follow your apps

Most applications will have a Twitter or Facebook page to follow. If the tool contributes to your day-to-day needs, like an email application, it’s worth following updates from the company. New features, bug issues and outage notifications will help provide you with constant updates to the future of the resource.

Keep a weekly tally

Throughout the week you’ll spot flaws in your workflow. Maybe the fact that you can’t schedule emails, or that you struggle with your calendar set-up. No problem. Write it down and review it at the end of the week. Fixing all of your issues at once, will save you time and help you to progress your toolkit.

Submit to the support team

Submit tickets to the team behind the app if you want a new feature or an issue with the service. All of these tickets will be collected and read by the teams behind the app, providing them with insight about to improve the service for your benefit.

Bitter Truth About Apps

You execute, not your apps.

Your toolkit won’t save you.

Just a general warning here, that you can’t rely on the resources to do the work. That might be obvious, but many people spend months and months on changing tools, instead of focusing on their work.

Spend time on doing the work and slowly move your tools to address your stresses.

Go Build Your App Toolkit

Keep things fresh and get things done.

You’ve got all of the app foundations to start building your own toolkit now.

Start slow and build onto your setup. As you grow your toolkit, you’ll find issues and tweaks that’ll be fundamental to your progress.

Best of luck discovering new resources and tools!

***

On Your Terms is a publication by Tortuga, makers of the ultimate travel backpack.

If you’d like to follow my work I’m on Twitter and I’m also on YouTube making videos about how to get stuff done.

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🎯 Host of Keep Productive — predicting the future of productivity apps and helping people find and learn the tools & software.

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Francesco D'Alessio

Francesco D'Alessio

🎯 Host of Keep Productive — predicting the future of productivity apps and helping people find and learn the tools & software.

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