It's hard to share the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to run my business. I spend my days in front of a computer screen editing content, developing design concepts and article ideas, answering dozens of emails, negotiating brand partnerships, yelling at Adobe programs, etc. When in my office space, I have everything I need to adequately complete work, but on the go life can be quite different. When not in Los Angeles, I can usually be found hovering over a million cables in a corner of a small internet cafe or coffee shop in the middle of no where, working from a small screen with headphones on, and drinking loads of caffeine trying to keep the jetlag at bay.
Even as I write this article, I am sitting in a coffee shop called Wild Detectives in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas, Texas. In fact, this article was supposed to be published yesterday but due to a long road trip filled with hours of driving and not working, this article is being published late. When I emailed my design editor to let her know about the delay, I even noted how serendipitous it is that a month ago we chose this article's publication date not knowing that I would be working on the go and subsequently unable to finish it on time.
Working on the go is NOT easy! It requires a lot of forethought, planning, and patience. With all that said, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I feed off of this mobile life I find myself so engrossed in. Does working on the go have its challenges? Absolutely. Will you ever find me complaining about it? Not for one single second. It is exactly the life I worked so hard for. I love what I do, and I am beyond grateful to be able to call it a "job." I have, however, learned a lot from attempting to work while staying mobile. In this article, I am sharing some of the mistakes I have made and the lessons I have learned trying to keep up with work from anywhere in the world! Read More Below:
BEFORE YOU GO...
01. Make a checklist AND CHECK IT TWICE.
Again, the timing on this article couldn't be funnier to me. Last week, I spent $90 on a MAC charger at Best Buy because I didn't follow my own advice and use my equipment checklist! Make a checklist ahead of time and use it to make sure that you have everything you need with you! Try to keep your list at a minimum. Overdoing it means that you have a lot more to keep track of!
02: CHARGE EVERYTHING AHEAD OF TIME.
Do yourself a favor and charge everything before you leave. Also, buy items that can be charged via USB. This is why I LOVE my Sony A6000. It is an awesome camera completely charged via USB. Also, invest in a USB extender like this one. USB is universal and can be charged in your rental car, on your laptop, or on a plane!
If you do decide to charge your items in an airport, take a lesson from me and make sure to not leave everything plugged in on the floor of JFK and then not realize it until you are half way to Iceland. True story people. It was not my finest hour. Soooo, make a checklist, charge everything, and constantly check and re-check that checklist when moving from place to place.
03. DOWNLOAD EVERYTHING YOU MIGHT NEED.
Try to have as much as you can downloaded and stored with you to access and work on with or without a wifi connection. This is crucial to maintaining a good your work flow. Save wifi for the things that really require it. Often places like the airplane or your hotel room may claim to have wifi but you can't rely on that to always be the case. Make sure to have all the files you may need already with you just in case!
EQUIPMENT & SERVICES THAT ARE GAME CHANGERS...
01: INVEST IN GOOD HEADPHONES.
Working on the go means you don’t always get to pick the environment you will be working. Noise-canceling headphones fade out the noise in public places and are proven effective in calming your brain and allowing you to focus well on the tasks in front of you. Invest in a great pair of headphones and use them any time you are working whether at home or abroad. It helps to signal to the brain that whenever the headphones are on, no matter what, it is work time. I highly recommend these BOSE headphones. The initial investment is quite high (a plane ticket even), but they have drastically changed my work life for the better.
02. A GREAT CONVERTER is non-negotiable.
Every country has different types of wall plugs that all require a different adapter. Along with various wall connections, countries have different electrical wattage and voltage. Make sure to know the difference between an adaptor and converter and know what your equipment requires. Invest in a great wall adapter and converter system! This will be an absolute game changer on your trip and arguably the most used investment aside from your camera. I have used the Travel Smart Adapter Converter for years and swear by it.
03. MEMORY STORAGE IS A MUST.
I cannot say enough about the "My Passport" external hard drives. They are compact in size but large in storage space. I always bring enough memory cards with me to keep all of my footage on the cards themselves; and, then, I back everything up onto my "passport." This way I always have footage in two locations. My advice: Bring plenty of memory cards in case of damage or loss and bring a small external so you don't have to be concerned with running out of space on your laptop or iPhone!
04. USE APPS TO KEEP YOU ON TRACK.
I also store everything from photo files to work tasks online. This means that I can access anything I need from anywhere in the world as long as I have internet. These websites also have great apps that can be useful in staying in touch with employees or accessing files you didn't think to download onto your hard drive. I am a huge user of the following: Dropbox, Asana, Zoho email, Todoist, and Wifi Finder when I am on the move! Also, Skype and FaceTime become really handy when needing to touch base with others.
STAY ON TRACK AND WORK LIKE A BOSS...
01. Set a schedule and start your day off working.
This is extremely important. Start your day off working. Plan the rest of your trip around a morning work schedule. Here is my thinking on putting work first: if I know that I knocked out some work, I am much more likely to enjoy the rest of the day playing tourist. But, if I haven't been productive in the day thus far, then my mind will continue to race, and it will inevitably take me out of my travel experience. My remedy to this is to set a schedule and keep it. Work every morning while on the go!
02. Be disciplined and keep your priorities in order.
When you are deep in work, it can be easy to not keep your priorities straight or to get distracted. When I was in grad school, for example, instead of prioritizing well, I would just pull all nighters. Late at night, when my brain needed a break, I would online shop instead of sleeping. My thought process was that I was still sitting at my computer even if I wasn't actually being productive. At the end of the semester, I had boxes being delivered to my door that I didn't even remember ordering. This is how I became the proud owner of coasters with chair graphics on them. Yep, not sure what my thought process was there. Needless to say, I do not recommend this approach.
Just because you are sitting in front of your computer doesn't directly translate to productivity. Follow Lesson #1 and set a schedule. Know the work you have to finish and prioritize accordingly. Always start with the tasks that you absolutely have to finish first and then work your way back from there. Stay disciplined and on task to complete everything in a timely manner. Stay focused and make the time spent working just about working! Then, you will find that you complete tasks efficiently and in enough time to go exploring for the rest of the day!