The Mobile Office: Summer Work Tips
Kids squeal with delight upon waking to a snow day and school is canceled. I remember the excitement well from my childhood years. The thrill of seeing snowflakes out the window and rushing to turn on the tv or radio, eager to hear the name of my school read off by the news anchor. It was far rarer to have school canceled in the 70s and 80s, especially since we lived in Colorado. We’d joke that if the district superintendent, Dr. Koepke, could get to a school in his 4 x 4, then school was on. I distinctly remember the day our school bus got stuck in a snow drift at the bus stop. Every child had to disembark the bus and push from the back to free the yellow beast from the exhaust and mud-stained snow drift. I don’t recall if that bus driver ever returned to work or not.
These days I don’t pay attention to snow days but instead, I relish SUN days! Doubling down with work projects on snow and rainy days so that I can go out and enjoy the sun on nice days.
Romanticizing the life of a work-from-home entrepreneur is very easy to do. I must admit, the ability to press pause on a picture-perfect day is pretty sweet. While it is nice, working from home does have its downsides. It requires discipline, initiative, and working late nights or on weekends to earn flex-time. That being said, one of the top benefits of being a home entrepreneur is the fact that one has a mobile office.
To Work Or Not To Work
Having a mobile office makes summer work an absolute delight!
The warm weather beckons me to set up my office on the back patio as I overlook the lake, feel snuggled by the thick, lush woods surrounding our home, and enjoy nature’s playlist. There are moments I get distracted and must retreat to my basement workspace if I need more focus, but most of the time, I find that being able to work in various spaces, especially outside, is inspiring and productive.
But what about working on vacation? Hmmm…that’s tricky. It’s certainly a blessing to be able to work from the poolside, on the beach, or up on a mountain top – but there’s a difference between working while on vacation versus taking a vacation while working.
Summer Mobile Office Tips
I relish the idea of working from an exotic location. In fact, if it was up to me, I’d probably pack up a travel trailer and live on the road – choosing my office view from week to week. But that’s a far better option if one is traveling and working solo – or with a partner who is also working remotely rather than with someone who doesn’t have the same work responsibilities or goals.
So, what if you do have plans to travel or want to explore working from different places? What are some good tips?
SET GOOD EXPECTATIONS
There really is a different mentality between going on vacation and lugging work with you versus purposely taking a work adventure. (i.e. you want to get out and explore but all parties understand that work is first and the in-between times are for fun and exploration). Be very clear in your mind which is which, and communicate it with all those traveling with you. There’s nothing more disappointing than thinking you are going on vacation with family only to realize one person was planning on working or scheduled work appointments during the trip.
IF YOU HAVE TO TAKE WORK ON A VACATION, SET SPECIFIC WORK TIMES
At Thanksgiving, we decided to take a last-minute trip to see my family. We didn’t plan on going initially because that is the busy season for our business. But, we felt it was important to go and spend time with my parents. However, the only way we’d be able to go is if I brought work with me. I let my family know in advance that I needed to work but I’d do it in the evenings. We relaxed and had fun during the day, then around 9 PM, I’d excuse myself. With headphones on, I’d work for a few hours. No one disturbed or interrupted me, and neither were they offended. Everyone knew up front I had to work and when I would be working so it was a non-issue. I was tired by the time we returned home because of the long days – but it worked out very well.
DON’T PACK WORK “JUST IN CASE”
Okay. I’m very guilty of this. Sometimes I really don’t need to “work” while taking a trip but I take work anyway… “just in case”. It’s distracting and most of the time I’m schlepping extra stuff I never use. Truth is, sometimes we need to leave our mobile office at home.
HAVE A MOBILE OFFICE ALWAYS READY
Being mobile applies to more situations than a vacation. I have three workspaces in my house: the main downstairs studio, my kitchen table, and the back deck. I may rotate between all three throughout the day. At the same time, in moments of feeling mentally stuck, I like to grab my mobile office and go somewhere else; simply needing to get out of the house. Being able to pick up and go to a favorite coffee shop and work for the day or to a nearby pool, nature park, scenic overlook, etc. is a fun perk to working from home. Out of necessity, I created a little mobile office that’s always ready to go. My mobile office consists of:
No matter where I am working, you’ll find my oversized tote next to my chair. I keep it with me with my work “basics” inside or nearby so I can assemble my mobile office in less than a minute if need be.
It took me far too long to figure out that I needed a mobile office “system”. Before, whenever I moved locations I was spending a ridiculous amount of time hunting for everything I thought I might need. Now, it’s down to a few basics and I keep them all together. Even if I’m going from the basement to the kitchen table, my office tote comes along. Whether it’s the kitchen table, Steamy Joe’s Cafe, or a road trip to Colorado to visit family – the mobile office stays the same.
That’s it. A short list of tips but enjoying summer work or traveling as a work-from-home entrepreneur is easy. And if you are taking your mobile office on the road – remember to decide beforehand when/where is worktime. As a result, you and your traveling companions are less likely to feel like work is intruding on play.
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