Working on the go is a specific art that requires a particular skillset to excel at. Believe it nor, but having to meet your assignment deadlines (self-imposed or set by an employer) in a hotel, hostel or coffee shop, isn’t quite the same as doing it an office.
Once you’ve cracked some of the essential tricks and approaches, however, you’ll find that a whole new world has opened up before you (literally and figuratively!)
Here are some top productivity tips for working on the go.
Related: Also check out my Crash Course Productivity & Time Management
Be ready to work at any moment
When you’re constantly on the move, open moments will come at unexpected intervals and in bits and pieces. The norm is that you’ll find yourself with half an hour to kill in an airport waiting lounge, or an hour in the morning in your hotel room before checkout time.
The exception will be those moments when you have an undisturbed, quiet, six-hour block of time to really settle into an assignment.
Conditioning yourself to use those spare moments and to focus on being productive while doing so is one of the biggest secrets to succeeding as a traveling freelancer or entrepreneur.
One of the best practices for allowing yourself to capitalize on those free moments is to break your projects down into manageable sub-projects and then individual tasks. Try and set tasks which will take no more than about half an hour to complete.
Examples could include things like “brainstorm outline for blog posts”.
Have the right tools for the job
To ensure that you really are able to work at a moment’s notice (and actually get something meaningful done) it’s essential that you have the right tools for the job. A paper notepad is a great low-tech backup for when technology fails you, but a laptop and/or a good tablet are essential work tools.
Be sure to backup as many reference files as you can to your hard drive so that you can also get some work done when you’re without an internet connection. If your entire project depends on your ability to Google something like “party yacht rental Dubai”, you’d best do it in advance and download a few results.
Have a system to capture ideas on the go
Ideas and inspiration have a way of coming on randomly while you’re wandering around the majestic ruins of an ancient civilization, or sitting in a picturesque coffee shop. You need to have systems in place to capture these ideas when and where they arise — otherwise, you’re liable to miss out on some potentially brilliant stuff.
Keep a notepad and pen with you at all times, and consider installing an app like Evernote on your phone. Evernote allows you to make text, photo, or audio notes, which will automatically sync to the cloud when you’re next connected to the web.
Filter out all distractions when you’re working
Focus is important at the best of times, but it’s especially critical if you’re going to be doing a lot of your work in unfamiliar locales with exotic scenery and tempting distractions all around.
When not working, you should absolutely drink in every bit of your surroundings. When you start work, however, you need to filter it all out. Headphones, ambient music, and timer apps (for using the Pomodoro technique) can work wonders.
P.S. You’ll love these productivity apps for on the go and the Ultimate Guide to Productivity.