Not So Prepared for a Portable Office

One of the great things about being a writer; online or in print, is that your office can be anywhere you want it to be. This has always been a major appeal to me and part of my “someday” plans. But what do you do when someday gets here and you haven’t really planned? It’s a whole new comfort zone to step out of for some. I can’t promise you I will share great insights in this post, because I’m pretty much flying blind here. And no matter how many tips and tricks and great articles you read on being portable and writing from anywhere, until you put this into practice, you are completely clueless. In fact you may be clueless for awhile until you get the hang of it.

Three days into being portable has given me a bit of hindsight; not much mind you, because I’m still learning all about this myself. Some of these tips are things I wish I had thought of sooner, but until you’re in a situation, you really can’t plan too much or know what to expect. Since I’m brand spanking new at this “work away from home” writing gig, I’m going to ask the readers to share their tips and insights on working portable.

Today’s cell phones are a great way to stay connected, but there are still parts of the world where cell service is non-existent. As I write this, my cell phone is outside on the deck in a zip bag because the service isn’t good enough in this area for my phone to work indoors. Don’t count on cell phone service when you’re traveling.

Here’s what I’ve thought about so far:

Plan ahead and plan to stay ahead:

If you plan ahead you have a better idea of what you need to do while you’re on the road. My idea of planning ahead this week consisted of “I may or may not work”. I wasn’t sure about Internet access, so I wasn’t sweating that. If nothing else I would get a week to unplug—which I’m sure can cause it’s on havoc and insanity for people who stay plugged in; like me. I brought plenty of reading materials, just in case.

Keeping your blog updated:

  • Write ahead of time and schedule the posts.
  • Outsource some of your writing so it still gets done on time.
  • Hire writers for your blog.
  • Use guest bloggers.

All of these are excellent ideas for running your blog, but especially helpful if you travel a lot or are planning to travel.

Step out of your comfort zone:

Most people/writers associate this tip with writing in different genres or in a style you’re not used to. I’m suggesting this tip to get out of your “real” comfort zone—the place you do most of your writing. Get out of it once in awhile. Go to an Internet café or other WiFi hotspot. Force yourself to write outside of your comfy chair and away from your home office. If you do this once in awhile and train yourself to work this way, it’ll be much easier when you are forced into different situations where you still need to write or run your business.

Train yourself with distractions; learn to tune out:

I normally write when it’s quiet. If I do listen to music I have a certain playlist that I can listen to and still write. It’s helpful to start training yourself to work with distractions you aren’t used to. Play different music, turn the TV on, get a clock that ticks, turn a fan on, get recordings of barking dogs; anything that can be a distraction, start using it to train yourself to work under different conditions. It doesn’t need to be loud, just loud enough that you hear it and can still focus even if it’s difficult—that IS the whole idea, to force yourself to focus.

Take a break: Just do it!

It is possible to take a break; a real break. Send out email, a newsletter, announce it on your blog. If you’re only going to be gone for a few days or even a week, just take the break and relax some. You can still work on a campaign strategy, marketing strategy—anything that you can do offline with pen and paper—make plans, brainstorm ideas.

Many people learn to work on the go relatively easy and quickly; some of us are creatures of habit and need to spend time training ourselves to do this if our future plans involve working from a portable office. I didn’t realize how tough it would be. I guess I expected it would be a little easier than it has been. Hence why this “getting prepared” list came to mind. It is not all inclusive, I’m sure I’ve missed many things that will come up in the future. But these are things I do know I can start implementing into my normal routine to help prepare for these occasions.

What tips do you have for those of us who plan to spend more time in a portable office? Please share your insights with the readers here at Blogging Tips.

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