Tips & Tricks from digital nomads

The world, well except for the UK it seems, is under lockdown. People have been sent home by their companies to work remotely and for some, it’s for the very first time. Your challenge is what so many remote workers have had to deal with. How to stay focused?

I reached out to the digital nomads of Cape Town Office and asked them to compile a list of their tips and best practices to share with you. Given that we are all practicing self-isolation to minimize the spread of Covid 19 in South Africa, even coworkers are working from home. To be socially isolated is really tough and now more than ever we need to reach out to one another with video calls, daily.

Take a minute

The first thing I’ll remind you of, reading this from your new home office environment, is how lucky you are to be able to work from home. Spare a thought for those who work in industries that cannot be transferred to a remote position. Your barista, waiter and shop assistant are all out there and they are truly on the front lines of this awful virus that’s bringing the world to its knees. I’m not suggesting that you’re not aware of this, merely reminding you that dealing with productivity issues, is far easier than if you simply weren’t able to.

Ok, enough of the soapboxing, so let me get on with a short and sharp list of useful tools you can practice.


  1. Define an area in your apartment, house or room for work
  2. Ensure that all your tools are there, such as headphones and notebooks & pens (yes, some of us still write stuff down)
  3. Make sure you get great Wifi signal from this area
  4. Make it pretty

You might think step 4 is silly, but trust me having designed and built a successful coworking space, you cannot underestimate the psychological impact a welcoming and familiar work environment makes. It helps you stay focused and makes you more productive. Some of you might argue that Step 3 is the most important and I’m not going to argue with the order in which I’ve listed them above, they’re all important and without good Wifi, you’re not going to get much done.

Simple daily steps

  1. Make your bed
  2. Shower & shave (if you usually do)
  3. Get dressed as if you’re going to the office
  4. Make your coffee/tea and settle down at your work station
  5. Check-in with colleagues, preferably by video chat
  6. Take regular breaks from your desk
  7. Minimize your social media intake

Living without your favourite daily artisanal coffee is tough, but you’ll be fine. A good selection of coffee and tea in the house so you have variety throughout the day, is key. Get up, shower and dress for work and start your day off strong. You’re putting your mind in a space where it takes comfort from a semblance of your daily routine. It works.

Take time to breathe, short walks if you can and if you’re fortunate enough to have a garden go out and enjoy it.

Perhaps the most important step, is to remember that it takes time to adjust. You’re not going to achieve the same level of productivity on day one, two or even three. And that’s ok! Be patient, but be disciplined by following the basic steps daily.

There are some fantastic playlists available on platforms like Spotify, some of my favourites below, that will help you to stay focused. Share it with friends and colleagues and even create your own.

Finally, this is a new reality for many of us and so it’s important to remember that you ARE NOT ALONE. Talk to people, reach out to friends and family regularly. You don’t have to put on a brave face and pretend that everything is ok. Write your thoughts down, share them or don’t share them, but get it off your chest. The world needs you to remain calm and to keep the economy going right now, so stay focused!