More people are getting the opportunity to give up the rat race of the 9-to-5 office position and instead work remotely, taking their job on the go – oftentimes quite literally – and to pursue the career of their dreams without being tied down to any one particular physical location.
At the same time, though, working remotely (particularly when traveling) is not for the weary or undriven, and comes with its own set of stressors. You’re going to need to make sure you have some pretty rock solid work habits before you dive right into this approach, and it is mission critical that you take advantage of the tips we highlight below so that you can make the most of your time working remotely while traveling on the open road!
Let’s dive right in.
Plan your itinerary around high-speed internet
When you are working remotely, your high-speed internet connection is going to be your tether to the office – and if you aren’t planning for uninterrupted connectivity when you develop your road tripping itinerary you’re inevitably going to find yourself in some dead zones and some not-so-hot-spots along the way that can cripple your ability to get work done, much to your and your boss’ chagrin.
Cellular coverage (especially 4G LTE cellular coverage) is getting better every day, but you want to make sure that ANY of your scheduled destinations are going to have reliable express to high-speed internet that you can tap into with good upload and download speeds while you are traveling.
As a backup, you should always carry your own pre-paid hotspot. Look for one that uses the Verizon network as your first choice. We’ve had wonderful service with the Ellipsis Jetpack, but a word of warning – it is so stupidly hard to recharge this thing with more money when you’re on the road! Forget about finding an online way to pre-pay – you pretty much have to call it in, or stop into a Verizon store or Best Buy and make your data purchase.
Keep a notebook and pen close at hand
No matter how well you plan, no matter how well you pack, or how much attention you give to detail there are going to be times when you can’t connect to Wi-Fi, or when a laptop battery goes on the fritz and your charger just isn’t pulling enough juice.
Seems simple, but people overlook the importance of keeping basic writing implements around any more. You want to ensure you will still be able to get work done when you are disconnected, when the muse is upon you, or when the phone suddenly wrings and you need to spring into action. This issue becomes much more real when on the road and trying to work remotely, without betraying to your boss or coworkers that there are some serious flaws in your production system.
For day-planning and night time journaling (on-the-go productivity hacks you seriously need to incorporate) nothing beats the mind-muscle connection of physically writing your notes. You’ll have to work a little bit harder to digitize that information but it’s worth it.
Find out when you work best and dedicate that chunk of the day to your working hours
The sooner you can settle into some semblance of a routine while you are traveling and working remotely the better off you are going to be.
A lot of people try and stick to the same 9-to-5 schedule that they had to have the office, only to find that it doesn’t really work while burning up the highway, and instead try to scrape by working every now and again (almost haphazardly) throughout the day without any real system in place.
This is the fastest way to burn out, saddle yourself with ridiculous pressure, and still garner yourself a reputation for being a slacker from those who are waiting on you to complete some work. This doesn’t even go into the higher likelihood of mistakes from starting and stopping work over and over.
If you work at your best for two hours bright and early in the morning before you do anything else, that’s your dedicated working time. If you find you work best in one hour spurts with half hour breaks in between, that’s the kind of plan you need to organize around. If you are a night owl – like so many other creatives – you’re going to need to make sure that you stick to a night owl schedule and that the office understands why you are submitting your work so late in the day/early in the morning.
Create an environment that is all business
This can be a little bit tough when you are out on the road, especially if you are traveling with a more minimalist approach and not in a large, decked-out RV that allows you to create a dedicated workspace, but the effort you put into creating a true work zone – or finding facilities or shared office space you can do your job in while you travel – will pay off significant dividends for sure.
At the very least, slide into the same routine. Put on your work clothes, put on your productivity playlist, and get to work at the same time each day as we highlighted above and you’ll feel like you are on the job rather than on vacation.
Create email auto responders and turn off your phone while working
It’s really easy to have your productivity slip when you are working remotely, which is why you need to do everything you can to avoid distraction while you are on the job.
Create email auto responders that allow your email software program to do the heavy lifting for you so that you can respond after your work is done, turn off your phone or silence it so that you aren’t being pestered by notifications, and generally treat the time that you are working remotely just the same way you would treat the time you were spending at the office beforehand.
Now if you can only get your travel companions – especially the little ones – to sign off on this productivity plan!