Taking your office on the road? Here’s how to do it for maximum efficiency.
As a freelance writer and consultant, I have the ability to work from virtually anywhere. That said, not all locations are created equal. Here’s how to work effectively from planes, trains and automobiles, no matter where in the world you are.
Prepare for departure. Before you take off, download key files from the cloud onto a flash drive so you can access them at any time. If you plan on working during a flight but don’t want to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi, pull up the necessary files on your screen prior to departure and save the current versions to your hard drive. Set an out-of-office email reply so people know that responses might be delayed. Double-check the time zone for any calls or virtual meetings scheduled during your trip. Take safety precautions by requiring passwords and installing software to track your device if it goes missing.
Scope out the Wi-Fi in advance. Nothing harshes my mellow more than walking around with my smartphone in the air, hoping to catch a random signal. Accept that you’re going to use up some cellular data while in transit but seek out hotels and locations where the Wi-Fi signal is strong and free so you don’t inadvertently rack up roaming charges. I once made the costly mistake of updating my phone apps while I was on a train rather than waiting until I was back at my Airbnb.
Pack a tablet. While it made me extremely nervous not to have my trusty laptop with me, I took my iPad instead on a short trip. And while there were some challenges toggling between apps and emailing attachments, I found workarounds. The size of the tablet made it much easier to work on the plane, and while not as robust as my desktop version, Dropbox and various Office apps met my needs handily.
Recreate your office atmosphere. Replicate your home office as much as possible. Arm yourself with your favorite bevvie, stream your usual podcasts or radio, and take breaks as needed. Set boundaries with your companions, letting them know when you are free to play and when they need to scram.
Keep to your normal schedule and habits. When I’m in a hotel room — even on a business trip — I stay up way too late. I think my lizard brain believes that hotel = vacation. Same goes for food. I throw good eating habits out the window and indulge in every bloomin’ onion and bag of Doritos in a 5-mile radius. I now make myself get into bed at my normal time, and forage for foods found in nature.