Three Productivity Tips for Working Anywhere
When I first started my business, I did all my work at the kitchen table. After awhile, I "graduated" to an actual desk in the corner of our livingroom, and eventually into one of our spare bedrooms that we transformed into a make-shift office space.
Only after several years of working from home (and after buying a different home) did I finally get an actual home office with a nice big desk, lots of storage space, and a closet for my filing cabinets.
And while I do love my home office, I also realize that it really doesn't matter WHERE I work, as long as the work is done. So even though I do most of my work in my office, there are other times when I work from the couch, from a client's home, at a local coffee shop, in my car, at the airport, or even while I'm waiting in line at the bank!
If you end up working in odd locations all over the place, here are three tips to help you increase your productivity and get more done wherever your office might be.
1. Always Keep Your Essentials On Hand.
Since I frequently travel and am often working from different locations, I have an "office survival kit" that I almost always have with me. My "kit" includes:
- iPhone -- which pretty much allows me to do anything I need to do for my business
- Business cards -- because you never know when someone will ask for them
- Paper and Pen -- because I'm always making lists and writing notes to myself
- Headphones -- so I can listen to music without bothering others around me
- Computer or iPad -- no, I don't take my computer with me to the bank, but it comes with me most of the other places I go (especially now that almost every public space has WiFi)
By keeping these items with me at all times, I can do anything I need to do for my business -- send emails, update social media, have a quick conference call, write blog posts, contact potencial clients and advertisers, etc. etc.
Depending on what type of business you run, you might have other necessities like sample products, color swatches, camera gear, tools, etc. Whatever YOUR essentials are, try to keep them with you at all times.
2. Plan Ahead.
It's not always possible to plan every aspect of your day and week ahead of time, but if you're working from a coffee shop, the subway, the park, or another remote location, I guarantee you'll save yourself a lot stress and a lot of valuable time if you do your research and plan ahead.
- Know what clients you'll be working with and have their files (or at least their contact information) available in case you're running late or something else comes up.
- Have the directions available for the different destinations you have to travel to.
- Do your best to avoid construction zones, or at least plan ahead and give yourself more time if you'll be traveling through a construction zone.
- Wear appropriate clothing (especially shoes) if you know you'll be out and about for most of the day. I find that most coffee shops are freezing cold so I try to always bring an extra layer. However, if I'm working out of my car, I usually get hot.
- Don't forget to pack water, snacks, and/or lunch, especially if you know you'll be short on time and need to eat on the run.
3. Get Organized.
This is often easier said than done -- especially if you're constantly changing locations (or working from your car). I like to designate one bag for on-the-go work days. I keep it stocked with my phone car charger, extra power cords and batteries, and my "essentials" (see #1 above). I keep this bag right next to my desk and all I have to do is put my computer in the bag and go. Here are a few other tips for getting and staying organized in your anywhere office:
- Keep extra plastic bags in your car or in your "on-the-go" bag to use for trash when you're out and about
- Use banker boxes in your trunk to store and organize product samples, client files, and other supplies you need to keep on hand
- Always keep your calendar and/or planner available... always!
- Store as much of your information digitally as possible. This way, as long as you have access to the internet, you'll always have the documents you need. I personally use Dropbox to store all my documents online. I can then access these documents from any computer, tablet, or smartphone with internet access.
Of course, these tips will help to increase your productivity even if you do work from the same office desk every single day. But if you frequently travel or work from remote locations, these tips should help you stay more organized and be much more productive (wherever that might be!)